Discover more from GlobalBees D2C Pulse
All about the kick-ass sneakers industry!
Welcome to mid-week D2C Pulse: A bite-sized newsletter where we cover:
🌎 Exciting products from e-commerce markets of the world
🗞 Developments in online marketplaces globally
📊 Fun facts about the D2C ecosystem
However, this week we take a slight detour to cover the sneakerhead subculture that’s gaining ground in India. We’ve come a long way from our white school PT shoes to collecting lifestyle sneakers.
Quintessentially American, the sneakerhead subculture is finding its way to India, across metros and tier 1/2 cities in recent years. Today Jordans by Nike, Yeezys by Adidas, ASICS, Balenciaga, and Veja are common finds in the Indian closets.
noun (Slang). A person who collects and trades sneakers as a hobby, and who typically is knowledgeable about the history of sneakers.
Ever since Nike designed the coveted Air Jordans in 1984, the sneaker culture took off. From creating a pop sub-culture to having its own language (hypebeasts, OGs, drops, cop) to sneaker icons, sneakers have been the focal point of a cultural phenomenon.
Sneaker Destinations 💳
While there’s always a cousin or relative travelling from abroad who can bring in a pair that Nike or Adidas have dropped recently, local outlets are bringing in the goodies too.
Delhi has a go-to place at Vegnonveg where sneakerheads are often seen waiting in long lines for the exclusive drops. The company is run by Anand Ahuja and he’s been instrumental in charging up the sneaker culture in India.
Superkicks has opened multiple stores across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Guwahati. Launched in 2018 by Sangeet Paryani, the company has recently also ventured into streetwear. Go beyond Nike to check out Ylati, an Italian sneaker brand here.
There are always brand showrooms to check out the latest kicks. Even marketplaces like Tata Cliq have started stocking an occasional rare beauty.
Beyond the regular marketplaces where one can buy sneakers, exists StockX - an online marketplace platform for buying and selling sneakers. The sneaker culture influenced the marketplace was valued at 3.8 bn USD last year.
GOAT has 30 mn ‘members and 600K sellers across its platform. Its peer-to-peer marketplace has reached some USD 2 bn in gross merchandise volume.
Celeb Collabs ⭐
Now, that we’ve got the shopping out of the way. Let’s get down to business. Even celebs are getting on the trend by launching their sneaker lines.
No sneakers discussion is complete without the mention of Jordans. When Nike launched Jordans it expected to do 3 mn USD in the first year but ended up with 125 mn USD. Here’s a quick history refresher on Jordans being banned.
IVY PARK is an activewear brand co-founded by Beyoncé. The 28-time Grammy Award winner launched a sneaker brand in collaboration with Adidas.
Backstory- Beyoncé co-founded Ivy Park with Topshop owner Philip Green, officially launching the athleisure brand in 2016. After Green was accused of sexual and racial harassment in 2018, Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment acquired full control of the brand.
Yeezy is a fast-growing brand that is setting the pace in the fashion world today. It is owned by the famous American rapper Kanye West and depicts his taste in fashion.
Backstory - From its inception, the brand collaborated with other reputable brands like Nike, Louis Vuitton and Adidas. In 2006, Kanye West designed a pair of shoes for Adidas. However, this design was never released. He then partnered with Louis Vuitton in 2019 to create three different models of shoes. In the same year, Kanye collaborated with Nike and released three sneaker designs, Yeezy I, Yeezy II, and Air Yeezy 2s. This deal with Nike lasted till 2013 and ended when Nike refused to pay royalties for Kanye’s design. After the partnership with Nike ended, Kanye reached an agreement with Adidas, where he would receive a 15% wholesale royalty.
Rihanna PUMA Fenty In late 2014, German sportswear company Puma turned heads when they announced an unexpected appointment: they were naming Rihanna creative director of their women's collections. Rihanna’s Fenty Puma Creeper was the Shoe of the Year winner. For Puma, the collaboration was a driving factor behind its kickass sales. In the third quarter of 2016, footwear was its strongest category, with sales up 16.4%, thanks to a large part played by the Fenty line.
Sneakerheads Community 👨👩👧👦
From just a few 100 sneakerheads a decade ago, today the sneaker community boasts of 500K+ members. With prominent Insta handles like Sneakerheadsindia having 70K+ followers. The trend is quite popular with women too. Check out the coverage on Women Sneakerheads by Verve.
Sneaker Talk is a blog run by Atul Sharma. He also hosts the DKX -Kicks Exchange festival for sneakerheads to meet and trade shoes. They have so far met in Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Jaipur.
Sneakerhead and designer Nishant Fogaat has found a way to mesh his skills with India’s forte for fabrics by creating bespoke sneakers. He has designed shoes for celebrities, including cricketers like Virat Kohli, actors, musicians like Badshah and yes even NBA players.
Cardi B showed she really loves Balenciaga by covering them in lyrics of her famous song ‘I Like It’. Well, we like dem too!
With great sneakers come great responsibilities (never said by Uncle Ben). Supporting companies around sneakers have come up in recent years.
Sneaker Care and Cleaning services like The Shoemen pick up your kicks from your home, coordinate over whatsapp for the job card and deliver them back in a week. Just like servicing your car, only better.
Homegrown brand Cleno offers shoe cleaning wipes for Sneakers, Loafers, Slippers, Traditional footwear, and Athletic shoes to scrub off nasty dirt, mud, grass stains.
Homegrown D2C Shoe Brands
The Indian footwear market is expected to reach USD 15.5 Bn by 2022. Woah!
Brands like Neeman’s have carved a niche for themselves by offering athleisure footwear, made out of sustainable fabrics like Merino Wool, discarded plastic bottles, bamboo, recycled rubber, etc. Other brands in this eco-friendly sneakers category include Flatheads, Nothing New and Happy Soles.
OG shoe brand Woodland with Indian roots, first launched the hand-stitched leather shoe, and then took the entire shoe market by storm including sneakers and loafers.
Indian market has an appetite for cult-based, celebrity-faced shoe lines (looking at the craze for Jordans). While brands like HRX are piggybacking on Mr. Roshan’s goodwill, they have nothing unique or personal about them.
TLDR, market is ready, people are ready… brands you just gotta swoop in man!
That’s all for today!
We tried to break the routine with this issue and put pen to our inner Sneakerhead thoughts and knowledge. Hope you loved reading it as much as we liked writing it, you know the drill, show us some luuuv by giving us ❤️ below! A shoutout on your Linkedin or Twitter wouldn’t be bad either.