From Nelly’s Airforce Ones to Mack 10’s Chucks, sneakers have long since taken over the music industry. The realization has many asking when the shift from athletes to musicians for selling sneakers occurred. Even Adidas tennis shoes, which used to be a popular brand for athletes, is now more popular than ever among musicians.
When the Shift Occurred
According to an August 2018 article by Forbes, the shift began in 2003. This is when Reebok signed its first deal with a musician, rapper Jay-Z. Just three years later, Kanye West created his first sneaker with Nike. Britney Spears may not have a deal with them, but she has long been a fan of Puma classic shoes.
Not everybody agrees that sneaker culture in the music industry is relevant (they’re wrong, though). Complex magazine released a piece in 2015 that argued that athletes are more valuable to sneaker companies. Sales say just the opposite, though. The industry, which is already worth more than $1 billion, rappers’ lines are much more popular (and therefore, valuable) than athletes’ lines. In fact, Kanye West’s lines sell nearly 71% more than Steph Curry’s line.
Experts believe that the music industry will continue to have a strong influence on the popularity of certain sneaker brands. There are several reasons for this. First, musicians tend to have more social media followers than athletes. Additionally, signature shoes for athletes are based more on performance while musicians can focus on style aesthetics, which means a more flexible design. The evidence? Just check out Rihanna’s Fenty Puma line. The designs skip the basic sneaker style in favor of creepers, platform soles, and even boots based on sneaker designs.
What’s your take on sneaker culture and the music industry? Whether you love Adidas tennis shoes styled by athletes or Pumas styled by music’s own Rihanna, one thing is for sure: it’s time to shop for a new pair!