Brand loyalty. It’s something I believe that all, if not most, of us sneaker lovers have. Deep down, everyone’s got a brand they prefer over another. Now don’t get me wrong, I think having loyalty to a brand is healthy. It keeps the market competitive and it guarantees us sneakerheads something to love, look forward to, and rock daily. But, brand loyalty is not exactly what this article is about; quite the opposite actually.
If you know me, you know exactly where I used to work. For those that don’t know me, I used to work at a retail shop for one of the biggest brands in the sneaker industry. I was there for three years—started as a part-timer and eventually became a full-time employee. I was head over heels for this brand. If you talked to me, especially when I was first hired, you’d know how passionate I was about where I worked. One brand was all I wore. One logo (and its several iterations) was all I rocked. And at most times, head to toe.
So working at the shop had me locked down for that particular brand. It was a combination of representing properly as a full-timer, showing those I worked with what it’s all about, and my love for this brand in particular.
As my experience at the shop grew, so did Canada Got Sole. Over the years, CGS’ growth has been both really exciting and enlightening. Being a part of this team has had me so involved in the sneaker community as a whole, keeping up with footwear industry news, and scoping out the latest drops. It has also forced me to keep an open mind towards other brands. Before, I had zero problems with being brand loyal—that is until I got invited to a brand specific event. What happens when you’re invited to these types of events and you don’t have any kicks to rock? Well, you have to look for the most brand neutral pair you have! No one can hate on you for rocking Chucks or Vans Old Skools, right? Clearly I cared about one brand and one brand only.
During my last year working at the store my taste in shoes evolved. I started to pay closer attention to other brands and their silhouettes. I became more aware of the rest of the industry that surrounded the company I worked for. As of about six months ago, I’ve been working at a new company that’s not part of the sneaker industry. I will be completely transparent and say that this change has felt like the heaviest, biggest sized sneakers were ripped off my feet. Leaving that retail position took off all the pressure of having to stay within the brand. Because if I’m being honest, I’ve been tempted to try something new long before handing in my letter.
In August of 2017, I left the shop and was itching to scoop a pair of kicks from another brand. But, I was just waiting for the perfect pair. It wasn’t until months later that I came across exactly what I was looking for. No lie, I hypebeasted a little. When this pair of shoes got delivered and I pulled them out of the box for the first time, I felt like a kid in a toy store who got that one toy they were asking for all year! Trying them on was one of the most invigorating feelings I’ve had with a pair of kicks in a really long time. It felt really wrong, but so damn right.
In many, many ways, it also felt like a massive refresh button was hit on my sneaker life. In this new chapter, I’m looking to explore more in the footwear world, try on new things, and rock new brands. Now…where to start with the likes of Asics, Saucony, and New Balance?