Sneakerheads, Hypebeasts, and Other Groups Are New to Boomers But AntiSemitism is the Oldest Prejudice That Has Now Again Infiltrated Our American Culture

You know you are longer (we never say older) when some words your eleven year old grandson introduces you to and tries to explain are the subject of an article more than eight years old from 2014!  “Sneakernomics: Are Sneakerheads important?” by Matt Powell, Forbes Magazine, May 21, 2014.

Matt Powell defines sneakerheads:

“A formal definition of a sneakerhead is a person who collects trades and/or admires sneakers as a form of hobby. Sneakerheads, like most collectors, are passionate and dedicated to their subject.  Many are very knowledgeable about the origins and history of sneakers.  Many spend a great deal of time and money studying the category and its past, while building their collections.”

He also gives the history of sneakerheads, which have been around since the 1970’s.  Who knew! Definitely not this Grandma. He explains the concept clearly, sellers, resellers, financial and non-financial impact on our society.

Hypebeast definition is in another article, “Are You A ‘Hypebeast’ Or ‘OG?’ Welcome To Miami’s Sneaker Culture,”WLRN 91.3 FM, by Chloe Herring, from 2013!

A “hypebeast” is something of an insult, referring to a person who only buys shoes that are popular and cool. . . .“Everything is pretty much like a competition. They see limited shoes and want to go get it because it’s hype.”

My grandson defined hypebeasts as buyers and sellers more than collectors.  They want to make money off the sneaker culture.

Why should we Boomer grandparents care?  Several reasons, other than keeping up with the culture of our preteen and teenage grandchildren–maybe into 20’s or so.

(1) Some of those of us Boomer grandparents whose grandchildren wear uniforms to school love the concept that the children are all the same and learning is the primary goal.  Not anymore.  It is the sneakers that differentiate the squads ( Boomer Grandma As A Member of a Squad is New Terminology We Must Know and Use).  My grandsons are sneaker heads and tell me that some of their classmates are wearing $2,000 sneakers to school! Golden Goose start at $500.  Many of Ye’s Addidas sneakers and foam runners range in the hundreds of dollars, which is the introduction to the most important part of this blog post. 

(2) My older grandson told me he saw someone wear $20,000 sneakers.  It is a crazy world where this is even conceivable.  However, the knockoff market is alive and a place of scammers.  As his holiday gift, my younger grandson wanted a knockoff pair of sneakers when the original was in the thousands of dollars.  I asked if he knew if the website was reputable?  It was from abroad.  Long story short, it was a teachable moment.  I simply went on google and saw that the website had terrible reviews, and most of the purchasers never received their sneakers. Not only are we able to teach how to purchase (ie. for coupon codes), we can teach who not to purchase from and why.

(3) Our grandson wants to be an entrepreneur like the hypebeast.  We discussed what that entailed.  He has some sneakers that he wears to school that he says people want to buy.   This grandma was distressed that these teens are wearing expensive sneakers when their feet are still growing.  He said he plans to sell his used sneakers on the resale market.  My grandma friends tell me similar tales from their grandchildren.  However, one good thing has come out of this sneakerhead craze as they take great care of their sneakers.  This eleven year old said classmates ask how he keeps his sneakers so clean.  Aha! He thought of a business he could start–sneaker cleaning.  I asked him how much he needed to bankroll the business. $16 to buy supplies are done.  We did not discuss how he should charge, come to think of it.

(4) Now the bad, the real bad.  Powerful people saying powerful words because they think their power is without limit and consequences has become normalized to the detriment of our society.  Kanye West, now Ye, has espoused much that is controversial and outrageous.  Our grandchildren wear and love his shoes and love his music so he is with respect from our grandchildren.  Now he has ventured into antisemitism.

I went to for a definition.

Antisemitism (definition) “Antisemitism is a belief or behavior that is hostile towards Jews just because they are Jewish. For instance, antisemitism may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews or political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews.”

For a timeline and explanation of Kanye West’s antisemitic remarks, see on the ADL website, “Unpacking Kanye West’s Antisemitic Remarks.”

On October 26, 2022, The New York Times article announced, “Addidas Ends Lucrative Partnership With West.”  Previously Instagram and Twitter suspended his accounts, his talent agency stopped working with him, and even more consequences ensued, cutting his net worth in half or more.

Members of a hate group hung a banner reading “Kanye is right about the Jews” over a Los Angeles Freeway.  Ted Deutch, the chief executive of the American Jewish Committee, said: ”He believed that as long as the money kept rolling in he could speak with impunity. Other companies that profit from associating with West must also disabuse him of that notion.”

Adidas statement on the issue of Ye’s antisemitism:

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech.  Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

This Grandma is going to transmit this to the grandchildren, and explain the importance of stands against antisemitism, which according to is “sometimes called history’s oldest hatred.” 

The grandchildren will not be able to buy Ye’s items anymore.   Let’s hope the Ye sneaker resale market does not explode, and that synagogues also do not explode.  That latter is a real concern, as Ye continues to spew hate and has a contract to buy his own social media network, Parler.

We all must do our part to fight antisemitism by discussing this latest outbreak by Ye and its consequences to him and to our society.  Share the poem on the U.S. Holocaust Museum Website

First They Came–by Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

With Little Joy,


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