They wait in long lines in the bitter cold. They squeal with delight over the stitch on the shoes or the faux snakeskin upper. Colors more likely to be seen during Carnival in Rio than on any self-conscious American are hits. Catty quips about style choices are met with irrational exuberance over over-hyped new designs.
No, these aren’t the insufferable Carrie wannabes taking up New York’s sidewalks—they are teenage boys and grown men all over the world going on about basketball sneakers.
In terms of American contributions to global style and comfort, the basketball sneaker has to rank up there with the T-shirt and riveted jeans. And as can be seen in any mall or casual glance around the subway, the sneakers left the court long ago.
Today, sneakers are a hugely lucrative juggernaut. In 2012, for instance, Nike’s line of LeBron James sneakers generated $300 million—in the U.S alone. Apparently everybody still wants to be like Mike—so much so that kids get shot over pairs of his namesake