The “Up Your Gifting Game” series is brought to you by Boost Mobile.
It’s that time of year again. Time to start crossing names off your shopping list and pairing gifts with the people closest to you. It starts out easy. You’re rolling. Then, with your shopping flow going strong, you arrive at that one friend. The one who hits up streetwear conventions, constantly talks about the week’s hottest drops, and always seems to be wearing a different pristine pair of kicks every time you see them.
Suddenly, you’re feeling outgunned, stuck looking for a gift for the hypebeasting sneakerhead in your life. Because let’s be honest, they’re always the hardest to shop for. Unless you like seeing the look of disappointment on your friends’ faces. Or love handing over gift receipts after you bought a swoosh when you should have copped three stripes.
Does this really have to be so hard? At the end of the day, they’re just shoes right?
Wrong. Wrong. Not to the sneakerhead. So make it easier on yourself by letting an expert (us!) guide you to the gifts that are sure to be fire for your shoe-loving friends and won’t cost you a small fortune in the process.
PART I — Accessories
The best gifts to buy the person who loves sneakers are accessories that make their lives easier and collections more manageable. These are gifts every sneakerhead needs, whether they know it or not, and best of all they are all under $50.
Shoe Cleaning Kit
It seems almost too obvious, but shoe cleaning kits are just about the easiest gift you can give a sneakerhead. People who take pride in their shoes for the most part like to keep them looking fresh out of the box so make shoe maintenance easy for them by getting them a shoe cleaning solution and brush.
Which should you buy? Honestly, they’re all the same. They’re all formulated for leather, suede, nubuck, nylon, canvas, vinyl, rubber, and cloth materials and considering that’s just about every type of shoe, your sneakerhead will be covered, so buy within your budget.
Nylon Travel Shoe Bags $10-20
You’ll see Nylon Travel bags on a lot of sneakerhead gift guides, but unlike ill-advised gift ideas like sneaker stickers (dumb) and books about sneakers (not everyone likes to read), this one actually makes sense. Even on short trips, sneakerheads like to take multiple pairs of shoes so that their outfit is always well-coordinated, but packing shoes when you’re about to take a flight is just not fun.
Shoes are used to walk… on the ground. Nobody wants that all up on their clothes, so grab some travel shoe bags and you can’t go wrong. It’s the gift sneakerheads don’t know they need until it’s too late. Again, buy in your budget.
Find them here or shop around.
We cannot emphasize this enough — in the world of the sneakerhead, if your sock game isn’t fire, your shoes don’t even matter. Play on the safe side here and go with plain colors or minimal designs when looking for what type of socks to buy. Socks that go heavy on the graphics or branding can rub a sneakerhead the wrong way if they don’t meet their aesthetic, so just keep it simple.
If you’re looking for where to buy socks, the answer is just about anywhere they sell clothes. Uniqlo is a good choice for nondescript but colorful socks that are cheap, soft, and feature a ton of variety. If you know if the sneakerhead in your life is a Nike or Adidas person, those are always safe bets too, and who doesn’t love BAPE?
By now you must’ve noticed that fanny packs are back, and that’s because aside from being useful, they’re a great accessory to color coordinate with your shoes. They aren’t “coming” back, by the way, they’re already here. According to the market-research firm NPD, fanny packs were responsible for almost 25% of the fashion-accessory industry’s growth in 2018 in both the men and women’s markets. Sure, men are draping them across their chests and calling them crossbodies and hip packs but make no mistake, they’re fanny packs.
The best bags right now are coming out of Prada, Dior, and Fendi but those are pricey, so we’re going to suggest Herschel supply for the simple reason that they have a wide variety of different fanny packs, crossbones, hip packs, whatever you want to call them. They look fresh and they’re easily under $50.
Head to Herschel Supply’s webstore to shop crossbodies and hip packs.
Sneaker Display Case
This is something non-sneakerheads have a hard time understanding. Not every pair of shoes look best on your feet, sometimes shoes are collector’s items and the best way to display collector’s items is with a big see-through case. Don’t try to understand it, just trust us here.
This gift is specifically for sneaker collectors, the kind of people with pristine limited-edition kicks that beg to be displayed. Let them show off their pride and joy pair in all its glory with this acrylic memorabilia cube with polished edges and a sleek black base. It even comes with a microfiber cloth to keep it free from dust!
Yeah, we get it. That won’t excite you, but the sneakerhead in your life will be nerding out. Pick up a cube here.
PART II — The Freshest Shoes Right Now For Under $100
Knowing which sneakers are dope without having any interest in shoes is rough, and finding a good pair under $120 is even harder. So we’ve tried to simplify choosing the best shoe for the sneakerhead in your life by breaking them into easy-to-understand categories. The sneakers on this list are 2019’s defining looks.
For The Adidas Fan — The Continental 80
The Continental 80 is our favorite Adidas silhouette of the year. It sports a chunky 80s-indebted design, comes in unisex sizing, and has a whopping 27 different colorway choices, ensuring a combination for everyone.
Run to Adidas to check out all 27 colors.
For The Nike-Head — Air Force 1 – Triple Black/Triple White
The AF1 is one of Nike’s best silhouettes and this year was packed with dope colorways of the classic shoe. Unfortunately, those are all well over $100, so to stay within the budget we strongly suggest picking up a pair of Triple Black or Triple White Nike Air Force 1s. The all-black and all-white looks never go out of style, and the sneakerhead in your life will appreciate the clean design.
Head to Nike to grab a pair.
For The Skater — Adidas Tyshawn Jones
One of the best skate shoes to hit the market this year is pro skater Tyshawn Jones’ signature shoe from Adidas. It combines the best of both worlds, delivering a performance-based abrasion-resistant sneaker for skaters but is designed to look like a basketball trainer. The shoe is currently available in three colorways, but we have to give it to this Core Black/ Cloud White/ Light Blue combination — which is sneakerhead language for, “get this black pair with the blue stripe.”
Pick up a pair at Adidas.
For The Eco-Conscious Sneakerhead — Everlane Tread Trainer
For the sneakerhead concerned about their personal carbon footprint you can’t go wrong with a pair of Everlane Tread Trainers. Made from full-grain leather from a tannery that uses less water and electricity, atop a sole made from a blend of natural and recycled rubber, the Everlane Tread Trainers even have a carbon offset program that accompanies each pair. As a whole, the sneaker industry needs to lean heavier into eco-conscious business practices, and Everlane is laying the groundwork for that trend.
Grab a pair at Everlane.
For The Runner — Reebok Floatride Energy
Running shoes are ludicrously expensive and finding a good pair that offers the support runner’s need for less than $150 and still looks cool is almost impossible. Almost. The Reebok Floatride Energy is that shoe. Barely making it in our budget at $100, the Floatride is Reebok’s answer to Adidas’ Boost technology, the cushioning is springy and responsive and the shoe is composed of lightweight mesh for breathability and to keep your feet from feeling weighed down, and is designed for all types of terrain for everyday running.
Grab a pair at Reebok.
For The YEEZY Fanatic — YEEZY Powerphase $90-$120
Okay yes, we included a sneaker just over $100 dollars on our budget list, sue us (don’t actually please). Here is the thing though, you might get lucky at aftermarket sites like StockX with a pair or two hovering around $95, and if not, for just $120 you can buy a YEEZY Powerphase from YEEZY Supply. With the average YEEZY hovering around the $300 range, this is an absolute steal, even if it’s a little bit over your budget. The sneakerhead in your life will love you for it!