Sneaker culture has always been about trending looks and new releases. In the 90s, people used to queue for miles to get a look at the newest Jordans, and sneakerheads would spend hundreds of dollars every year on magazines like Sports Illustrated. 

Today, sneaker culture looks a little bit different thanks to social media. Shoe lovers don’t have to make physical trips to Dick's Sporting Goods or Foot Locker to buy the sneaker of their dreams. 

Instead, they can just hop on Twitter or Instagram, find a style that suits them, and follow a few links to checkout. 

Sneakerheads that use social media can find thriving communities online, too. Social media has made sneaker culture more accessible as anyone with a Twitter account or Reddit profile can weigh in on the latest trends, collaborations, and designs. 

Celebrity Advertising & Collaboration

Collaborations and crossovers are standard in sneaker culture. 

Jeff Staple, a sneaker designer and founder of Staple Pigeon, explains that collaborations used to be “very athletic-focused,” and most deals went to athletes like “Bo Jackson, John McEnroe, [and] Chuck Taylor.”  

Before social media, sneakerheads had to tune into Wimbledon, the World Series, or the NBA finals to see their favorite athletes wearing the trending styles and latest releases. 

Today, however, sneaker culture is oriented around lifestyle and fashion. This means that musicians like Hiroshi Fujiwara are landing deals that rival icons like LeBron James. 

As Jeff Staple explains, Fujiwara has more clout in Japan than Lebron James. Nike’s Fujiwara collaboration is thriving and millions of people follow eagerly in his footsteps.

Today, athletes that secure large sneaker contracts are seen as influencers as well as professional sportspeople. Athletes like LeBron James and Ronaldo retain their popularity by building a personal brand on social media that inspires their followers. 

Icons like Rihanna have also benefited from social media and influencer marketing. Rihanna’s Puma Fenty collaboration has been running for nearly a decade and netted millions of sales. 

Before social media, Puma had to focus their efforts on athletes. In the digital age, influencer marketing helps Puma create shoes and sneaker content that is memorable, relatable, and relevant to a global audience. 

Sneakerhead Influencers

Celebrities and athletes aren’t the only ones to benefit from social media. Today, sneakerheads themselves can take center stage by becoming influencers in their own right. 

Big-name designers like Teddy Santis and Luke Matthews boast followings in the millions and have a finger on the pulse of sneakerhead culture. 

Would-be sneaker influencers can catch up to the stars quickly, too. Anyone can shoot high-quality product photos from their phone to highlight the latest designs on their socials. 

Folks who want to build a brand and enter the sneaker scene just need a clean background, consistent lighting, and well-considered composition to help their favorite pair of sneakers stand out on their follower’s timelines. 

Sneakerheads who want to build a following can get ahead of the trends by focusing their efforts on Web3 developments

Sneaker influencers can attend VR launches and connect with followers in the Metaverse. Interest in cryptokicks is steadily rising, too, as folks will need footwear for virtual avatars in the future. 

Community Building

Social media can help sneakerheads turn their hobby into a profitable side hustle. However, some folks don’t want to turn their love for shoes into a money-making scheme. 

Instead, millions of Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Reddit users just want to find a community that cares as much about sneakers as they do. 

The worldwide love of sneakers has built a bustling community on every social media site. This is great news for small sneaker brands like CoolKicks and Complex

These smaller brands can’t rival Nike and Adidas when it comes to paid advertisements, but they can get their moment in the sun thanks to word-of-mouth advertising online. 

Digital communities can help sneakerheads get the shoes of their dreams, too. Before social media, sneaker sales were tightly guarded secrets. 

Shoe lovers had to rely on their in-person connections to find out about re-sales and new releases. This led to plenty of forgery and fakes, as scammers took advantage of folk’s desire to buy exclusive kicks. 

Today, folks can quickly search online and find trusted resellers on Facebook and Reddit. Resellers of social media don’t charge a premium for second-hand sales but know how to identify a forgery before passing it on to keen customers. 

This means that social-media sellers keep a larger chunk of their profits while shoe collectors get their new sneakers at a reasonable price. 


Sneaker culture is constantly evolving. It’s more democratic now thanks to social media, as more people find their voices online say and contribute to the community. 

While this may ruffle some feathers, the increased democratization of sneaker culture is a good thing. Folks feel heard and can connect with other sneakerheads in just a few clicks. 


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