Predicting the Future of Hype
You want hype? Let's talk about hype. Air Jordan retros, Kanye West x Adidas collaborations, specialized Ronnie Fieg kicks. Hype is all around us in the sneaker world, and it's not going anywhere.
Everything changes with time. Hype simmers, alters and morphs into something we couldn't have even imagined. But as long as sneakers continue to be fashionable, the hype that goes along with them will increase.
We wanted to find out what the future of hype has in store for us. Using data, previous success stories and current market patterns, this list was contrived to effectively detail what the world of sneaker hype will look like over the next five years.
Sneaker Brands Will Work on More Collaborations
Sneaker brands have relied on collaborative work to increase hype. This isn't new. But as sneaker culture continues to evolve, the use of collaborative efforts has increased.
Hype for these brands in the not-so-distant future could see an even greater influx in collaborative projects. Between the inclusion of sneaker customizers—a subject we broached earlier—and brands meshing with other brands, the possibilities are endless.
Think about Vans' recent work with Supreme, per Alec Leach of Highsnobiety. These creative endeavors stoke the fires of the sneaker world and give people additional options.
If the future of hype has one area to experience tremendous growth, collaborative efforts with other brands would rank No. 1.
Influencers Will Continue to Reign Supreme
Products these days are heavily moved thanks to influencers. Social media has opened this door, allowing rock stars, musicians, actors and fashion personnel to serve as muses for adoring fans.
Hype and influencers can be directly tied together. Kanye West has served this role for Adidas, while Justin Bieber has been seen rocking mainstream Vans.
Oliver Stallwood of Highsnobiety went out and detailed the intricate workings of influencers and how they change people's minds through product endorsement. The key is, it's not only celebrities who are major players here.
"Instagram influencers in the 1,000 to 10,0000 followers range have much higher levels of engagement than traditional celebrity accounts—by almost 3.5 percent—meaning social media campaigns often generate increased exposure compared to traditional celebrity endorsements," Stallwood explained.
People love to see what other folks are wearing. Look for brands to stay attentive to this and use influencers from all over the place to tease and push products.
Brands Will Introduce More Digital Ways to Cop Kicks
Digital media has already become a lucrative platform for copping exclusive kicks and controlling hype. Nike has its SNKRS app, and Adidas has used its Confirmed app to give consumers a fair chance at securing pairs of Yeezy Boosts.
The future of hype could introduce us to a bevy of digital platforms. This ranges from in-house stuff to venturing out and using Snapchat or other social media companies as third-party providers.
Brands have to realize there is money to be made here. Rather than sending consumers to wait online or feeding them into an app like SNKRS, hype could be dictated on release day by using apps like Instagram or Twitter. Call it a digital raffle system of sorts.
As the years push on, brands will have to get more creative and showcase more of a digital presence to market and capture kicks.
Adidas Will Continue to Unleash New Yeezy Boosts
There's no doubt, based on everything we've seen so far, Kanye West and Adidas' partnership will continue to churn out hyped kicks. Between limited quantities being released—West confirmed this during the sneaker's original run—and impressive colorways, the hype to cop Yeezy Boosts isn't going anywhere.
"As we transition to eventually where I want to take the footwear, we’ll still keep limited colors for people who are involved in that culture. Because there is a level of exclusivity and stuff that is important in the sneaker culture, to get the ones that no one else has," West told Vanity Fair (h/t Brandon Richard of Sole Collector).
West understands hype not only sells product, but it infiltrates culture. With Adidas aiming for sustainable growth, it's going to have to lean on West's creative endeavors. Look for hype to start and finish with the name Kanye West.
Brands Will Give Us More 'Player Exclusive' Models
One thing you can bet the farm on when it comes to signature basketball sneakers is there will be countless colorways. LeBron James' kicks, along with Kevin Durant and even Stephen Curry, have provided consumers with choice and plenty of it.
Despite having a gallery to select from, "Player Exclusive" models continue to be the apple of many consumer's eyes. These kicks are usually reserved for NBA players only. James has worn "PE" sneakers for ages, like this custom pair of Nike Air Zoom Generations during a practice run before last year's NBA Finals, per Nick DePaula of Nice Kicks.
Brands looking to produce more hyped signature kicks should allow for "Player Exclusives" to be released more frequently and in limited quantities. The transition is a natural one that would provide more weight to these signature models.
Look to the future to see if companies like Nike gear certain releases more toward this line of thinking.
There Will Be an Increase of Random Releases
The music industry has seen a trend of random releases capture the imaginations of audiences all over the world. Frank Ocean has been a part of this, dropping his anticipated album Blond on August 20 without any prior notice.
Sneaker conglomerates haven't totally backed away from this policy. Remember, the Nike Air Yeezy II "Red October" was famously dropped at random in 2014, after West and Nike split ways. Adidas has also partially joined in on the action. People knew the day Yeezy Boosts were coming out, but online, Adidas has forced consumers to wait on a random drop time.
It's all leading up to random releases becoming an everyday part of sneaker hype. Keeping people glued to their screens means more advertising time and more of that "wow" effect all brand's strive for.
New Runners Will Push the Limits of Hype
Our continued infatuation with runners can't be denied, and Adidas deserves a bulk of credit for allowing the Ultra Boost and NMD models to stand out.
On the Nike front, the Sock Dart and Air Presto have also joined the party, providing choice to those looking for hyped running kicks.
The future shouldn't look much different than it does now. Minimalistic design has led to a mass production of tightly wound runners. Take a look at the picture above. Adidas' Tubular Nova looks like it's going to be yet another grandiose effort.
A logical assumption would be fresh runner designs will continue to populate our news feeds, and these types of sneakers will lead hype into the next frontier.
More Celebrities Will Get Their Own Shoes
Celebrities are taking the spotlight away from athletes by producing their own shoes. Brands have been the biggest enabler of this change.
John Kell of Fortune touched on various celebrity sneaker deals and pointed out how brands have been shifting over to this strategy—especially in 2016.
It makes all the sense in the world. Take into consideration Pharrell Williams' latest collaboration with Adidas. The "Human Race" NMD, released in a handful of colorways, sold out quickly. It drew hype from all walks of life, and the resell on these sneakers has been astronomical.
According to StockX, the "Scarlet" colorway has been going for $393. The shoe retailed for $240.
Tying celebrities to sneakers opens the market past athletics, and so far, it has worked out. The future of hype could be drenched with more of these efforts, leading all of us to watch a powerful change take place in the sneaker community.