June 23, 2024

When someone thinks of the term “shoe game,” what do they have in mind? Is it a collection of fresh Jordan 11s with glistening patent leather? Or is it a vast array of designer shoes, ranging from Gucci to Fendi?

Much of what people consider to be shoe game comes from trends, social media or what their friends are wearing. The recent craze for “Hypebeast” footwear such as Nike Dunks, Jordans and Yeezys leaves current-day shoe fanatics many options to expand their footwear inventory.

According to a report from marketing and consumer data company, Statista. In 2021 alone, the global athletic footwear industry generated over $78 billion in 2021. The United States compromised about $13.6 billion of that total.

While some consider shoes to be an article of clothing, others view them as a means of artistic expression.

For Zion Crockett, sophomore nursing major, shoes have been a large part of his life since he was a child.

His love for fashion has shaped how he views the shoes he wears and the significance behind them.

“My mom always kept me laced in whatever she could find or buy at the time,” Crockett said. “I’ve been wearing Jordans, Nikes, Pumas and Sketchers since I was a 1-year-old. I still even have my first pair of Jordans.”

Crockett noted that his family was the driving force for his burgeoning shoe love. When his family would go out to an event, Crockett recalled that they would color match and make their shoes look nice before leaving.

Advancing from a shoe fanatic to a shoe customizer, Crockett began coloring and designing his shoes around the age of 15. His artistic inclination and definition of shoe game prompted his desire to begin a shoe customization business.

“Shoe game to me is making that shoe your own or making it seem like it was meant for you,” Crockett said. “That’s why I got into customizing — I want to give everybody their own style or shoe that they can rock and feel comfortable with.”

Athletic shoes are not everything. In a brief walk through the California Baptist University campus, Lancers wear anything from skating brands to dress shoes to leather-styled boots. The possibilities are endless, and each Lancer has a closet of footgear.

Challenging the narrative that Hypebeast brands define one’s shoe game, Isabella Esquivel, sophomore elementary education major, flaunts Converse, Doc Martens and Reebok. These shoe brands are well-known, but in the topic of shoe game, they are often omitted.

“I always thought that shoe game had to be tied to Hypebeast shoes such as Nike Dunks and Jordans ones,” Esquivel said. “I used to not consider myself as someone with shoe game, but I would say I have the girl version of shoe game. I get complimented on my shoes now and then.”

Esquivel’s journey into fashion began during her sophomore year of high school. She said she enjoyed choosing her clothes and making her style while appreciating the liberating feeling she would experience while doing it.

I wanted to feel confident in my clothes,” Esquivel said. “I like waking up and choosing something fun right at the start of my day.”

However, while Esquivel agrees that shoe game’s definition should include more shoe brands than the usual athletic footwear, she stresses the importance of shoes in today’s fashion and how they can show personality.

“Shoes can make or break an outfit,” Esquivel said. “Of course, you do not want to judge someone off their shoes, but you can tell athletes from girly girls with their shoes.”

There is no universal definition for shoe game. It is clear that what someone wears on their feet is entirely up to them, and they get to create their explanation.

After all, shoes fall under fashion, and fashion is another category of art, which is always subjective.

Crockett expressed that shoes reflect his mentality and quoted an excerpt from Hall-of-Fame Cornerback Deion Sanders.

“If you look good, you feel good; if you feel good, you play good,” Crockett said.

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