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Who’s Killing Sneaker Culture … And Why Does It Matter?

“You can have commerce or you can have culture,” Sean Williams says. He’s talking about sneakers but he might as well be talking about anything, anywhere. “You can’t have both. You’ve gotta pick one.”

That’s probably the most impactful quote in this engaging Deadspin article from writer Casey Taylor that laments the slow dilution of sneaker culture. What was once a passionate underground subculture has officially hit the mainstream. There are boutique shops in high end neighborhoods lined floor to ceiling with impossibly expensive sneakers marketed to resellers and higher-income buyers who resell on sites like StockX and Grailed.

What happens to the passions of the few when the masses take over? Thanks to the Internet, it can feel like it’s nearly impossible to keep anything underground anymore. Exposure drives interest and attracts the masses. And the sad fact is, as soon as the masses come in and everyone wants to love the same thing you have loved for a long time … suddenly it doesn’t seem quite so special anymore.

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