Some hopefully helpful ideas
I was inspired to write this post after the recent Travis Scott x Jordan 4 “Cactus Jack” drop at the Toronto Jordan store. Originally, I was going to write about all the things that went wrong but now that I have a little sleep and I’m wearing the shoes I’ve got a slightly different perspective.
I don’t camp for sneakers. I know that I’ve got a low tolerance for disorganization, lack of sleep and people not following rules and that those are all things that are omnipresent in sneaker line ups. I also really value my time – I work a lot of hours at a reasonably stressful job and really like having my Saturdays to do what I want. Finally, I wear a size 7 mens and go up to an 8 if I need to. That means there are only a few sneakers available in my size even for big drops. Counter to popular opinion the two sizes left at the end aren’t 8 and 13! There are usually very few size 8s and while they don’t go first, they do go fast.
But I’ve never lined up for sneakers, not really, and I wanted to give it a shot. I also figured I had a pretty strong shot at getting a pair if I lined up and we had to be up at 3am anyway for the nike.ca drop. So, off to the Jordan store we went, arriving at about 4:30 am. A few caveats on the upcoming constructive advice:
- I know I could have been there earlier if I wanted to be sure to get my size.
- I know that some things are just the way they are because they have always been that way.
- I know that many people are happy to trade their time and sleep to get sneakers at retail.
But I do think that going forward there are only a few kinds of line-ups that are really worth my time (personally).
Signs of a line-up I am willing to join:
A narrow line
This seems intuitive but a line is not the same as a crowd and definitely shouldn’t be a mob. A line should be 2-3 people wide maximum. The recent lineup situation was almost 10 people wide and more of a mob than a line. That means its impossible to tell who got there first, and to let the person at the front go into the store next – because there is no one person at the front. Security had to resort to pulling people at random out of the tightly packed crowd in front of him and yelling to prevent more crowd surges. I’m sure that no one had fun doing it this way.
Again, this seems obvious, but a line needs to have a defined edge to be a line. If there is no barrier then anyone can join at any point (especially if the line is wide). This is probably how I managed to start at about number 250 in line and end up being about number 500 into the store. (yes, I am also a sucker and not aggressive in pushing or line-jumping and yes, that is on me). TBH, I can’t honestly blame people too much for not going to the end if there is no barricade. I mean, why would you?
I’m not looking for some unrealistic version of perfect security and perfect compliance, but a general observation of the line by someone with a professional interest in maintaining it tends to make things run more smoothly for everyone. In my recent experience, the only security looking at the line was at the very front. This resulted in very tight, crowded conditions in the middle of the line – at some points it was a challenge to stand facing fully forward or hold your phone in front of you due to the crowd pressure on all sides.
Signs of a line-up I am happy to join:
When staff come down the line and give out either numbers or wristbands it gives a sense of security that you are not lining up for nothing. Best case is when the numbers are linked to specific sizes – you know early whether you can get what you are looking for and don’t need to waste your time.
I didn’t go to this one, but apparently the JTH drop at the Jordan store was handled pretty much smoothly. The security was actively enforcing the barriers of the narrow line and wouldn’t let people even approach from the side, even just to say hi to a friend. This was similar at the recent TDE x Nike event at Livestock in Toronto.
Ideal line-up experience:
After the Jordan store line, we decided to be gluttons for punishment and head over to Capsule Yorkville for the live raffle. There was a line of about 150 people or so and we all got raffle tickets (so there was no cutting in line because it made no difference). Raffle tickets were chosen one by one (each winner selecting the next ticket to eliminate accusations of cheating) and the number was written on a big whiteboard. The atmosphere was positive even amongst those who didn’t win (despite their disappointment). Obviously this only works with a moderate stock amount but it is the best drop I have personally experienced.
My line-up experience was not great, but to be fair, I didn’t expect it to be great for me and in the end I did get the shoes so I can’t really complain. I know my personal preferences are not everyone’s and what I really took away from the weekend is the fact that I am not cut out for lining up. If someone had come up to me on Friday night and given me a choice: pay them $150 and then get to have a nice dinner with my fiancé, watch a movie, sleep in, go out for brunch, run some errands, grab a beer on patio and then have dinner with friends OR I can save the $150 but I have to stand for 6 hours in a crowd on Yonge st. at 4am – I would take option 1 every time.
This was a really helpful experience for me because I used to doubt myself every time I skipped an early line up or campout but now I have a clear sense of my personal priorities. I’m glad that line-ups exist for those who don’t have the extra money to spend to get the sneakers they love. I also don’t want to do it again.
I started this blog about a year ago, mostly because I found that my Instagram captions were getting too long to be readable. I figured that I would give it a try, see whether I actually had anything to say, see if I could actually maintain a blog for more than a month. When I was a kid, I was always full of enthusiasm to start a new diary and would commit fully to new entries for days but always failed before a week was over. The fact that I have kept this up (even sporadically) is a big personal accomplishment. I have been writing entirely for myself. I have no sense of audience and I really don’t care if anyone reads this (although its nice when people do).
A couple of months ago I began to think about something that I think is threading through most of these blog posts (and IG posts and IG stories). Its not sneakers. Well, I mean, obviously it’s sneakers but it’s something else too. My favourite sneaker pick ups so far in 2018 have not been for me. It’s been the sneakers I pick up for other people. My favourite sneaker experiences haven’t been finally getting ahold of a grail, it’s been meeting and connecting and sharing experiences with other sneaker heads.
That brings me to hypeless. The blog content isn’t going to change substantially but I think that the ethos of the name better reflects what I have going on here. It also allows me to bring in other guest writers sometimes.
Community over everything
Community over hype
We all eat together
Thank you to @spoonr for the logo design!
June 2018 is probably going to kill me. This year is just crazy and this month is a perfect example. Too many good sneakers and not enough time and money to get them all!
Be True Zoom Fly – I wasn’t in love with this at first. Then I saw the pink triangle on the heel and I think my heart almost stopped. Lots of brands use rainbow colours and motifs to support the LGBT community during pride but I’m not sure many big brands have used the pink triangle. That symbol has always been more emotional and political and significant to me. The rainbow is fun. The triangle is a symbol of persecution and death and resilience. I might need a bit of time to process how I feel about it being on a sneaker.
Be True Air Max 270 – This was the sneaker in the collection that I was initially attracted too. I love the 270 and the use of lavender here is inspired. It’s also a meaningful choice that demonstrates a connection to the community that slapping a rainbow on something just doesn’t.
Travis Scott x Jordan 4 – I love this colourway and I love the Jordan 4. This is a must cop for me (if I get lucky at retail)
Off-White x Jordan 1 UNC – So far my history with this sneaker has been bad thanks to the SNKRS order cancellation but I have high hopes I will take the W in the end.
Off-White x Nike Presto – This is my #1 sneaker target this month. I like this the most of any of the Off-White collabs since the original 10. I want it so much! Preparing for a solid month of tracking down info and entering raffles and getting suckered into Twitter rumours. Including the rumour that this won’t release till July.
Everything I want this month
Or; how I entered 50 raffles and ended up winning the one I didn’t know was a raffle
Why I plan my life around a sneaker holiday