Everything you need to keep up with sneakers

Everything you need to keep up with sneakers
Image: Ada Buchholc for Quartz
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The sneaker industry is one of the most dynamic, exciting, and plain entertaining parts of global fashion today. Beyond being a massive business, it sits at the intersection of design, sports, global trade, changing consumer preferences, music, technology, retail, and more.

With all that going on, it can be tough to keep up. We’ve compiled a handy list of resources to help you stay up to date on the latest happening in the industry, from hyped sneaker drops to how trade policy could affect your shoes.

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Organizations and people to follow

For the sneaker industry’s perspective on topics such as tariffs, check out Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FRDA). It’s the trade organization representing US footwear players large and small.

Brands aren’t always transparent about their sales, but Matt Powell regularly shares info on what’s moving and what isn’t based on data collected by NPD Group, the market research firm where he serves as sports industry analyst. A self-appointed debunker, he earned the title of “the sneaker world’s biggest Yeezy skeptic” from GQ.

Die-hard sneaker fan Jacques Slade is a name to know in YouTube’s popular genre of unboxing videos, sharing his insights on the latest big releases.

Nike’s founding in the Portland, Oregon, area has made the city a hub of the sneaker industry. Reporter Matthew Kish covers it for Portland Business Journal, where he’s often first on important news.

A journalist at ESPN, Nick DePaula covers the NBA’s blockbuster shoe deals and other big news where basketball and sneakers meet.

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Publications to follow

The trade publication Footwear News covers the whole footwear industry, including any noteworthy news within sneakers. It’s a great source for details on the sneaker business, industry trends, and important new products.

If you want to stay up on Jordan release dates or get the latest details on rumored products, with a little bit of sneaker history thrown into the mix, Nice Kicks is one of the leading sources in the business.

Sneakers are part of a broader ecosystem involving fashion, music, and even luxury. Highsnobiety and Hypebeast are two of the top news sources covering it all.

The dedicated sneaker channel of culture site Complex, appropriately called Complex Sneakers, is a stream of the latest sneaker news and photos.

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What to watch and listen to

A podcast about the world of sneakers touching on everything from important new technologies to industry news, Outside the Box brings together hosts Jacques Slade (mentioned above), industry veteran Nick Engvall, and Tiffany Beers, the former Nike engineer who led the project to create the company’s self-tightening, adaptable-fit sneakers.

Created by Matt Priest and Andy Polk of FDRA, the Shoe-In Show talks to the actual designers, marketers, and other decision makers involved in the business of footwear.

The weekly talkshow Full Size Run comes from the crew at sneaker news site Sole Collector. It centers on sneaker insiders talking the news of the week.

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What to read

There’s probably no more comprehensive history of how sneakers first appeared and grew into a global phenomenon than Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture. The author, Elizabeth Semmelhack, is senior curator of Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum, and also put together the traveling exhibit “The Rise of Sneaker Culture.” (For even more history, Semmelhack’s book Shoes: The Meaning of Style, includes a section on sneakers too.)

With a title that gets straight to the point, Sneakers is an oral history by Rodrigo Corral made up of interviews with some of the most influential and important people across the world of sneakers, including designers, executives, athletes, sneakerheads, and more.

In his memoir Shoe Dog, Nike cofounder Phil Knight tells the story of the company’s early days as a scrappy upstart built by runners and accountants, fueled by loans, and obsessed with beating the competition. It’s an entertaining and insightful look into the foundation that the world’s largest sneaker brand was built on.