Rule #04: Find Your Unicorn

Rule #04: Find Your Unicorn

First off, I apologize for missing those drab months when you needed a few pairs of grey shoes to match the weather. I'm hoping you found some boring beige kicks and kept your look respectable using the first 3 rules we've established.

But those clouds are on their way out the door. I promise.

Now your kicks need to match your upbeat spirit as though your IPO is depending on it. We hope you find these suggestions relevant enough to purchase a pair of these more compelling attention grabbers to keep that portfolio winning.

(feature image courtesy of WantShowAsYoung)

Time to Bring the Noise

If you've been investing in the right shoes over the last few months you'll have a healthy portfolio of quality sneakers that will impress those new semester interns in the office or maybe even your teenagers at home. And if you've properly purchased multiple shoes, they will stay fresh for months - maybe years.

I'm excited for the readers I see in the wild with Pharrell's. I'm ecstatic to hear about the 8 pairs of kicks you've bought that now need new pants to complement the 'fit'. (side note: I highly recommend what Rhone and Lululemon are doing for us guys)

Now it's time to take your foot off of the gas. Your portfolio looks respectable to real sneakerheads, so you have room for what's known as a 'flex' or 'heatcheck' or 'stunt'. These are not your everyday shoes. In fact, if you wear them everyday, you will be rightfully shamed. You don't drive your iridescent Lambo to work everyday. Duh.

But if you pick those stellar moments to shoot your shot from the logo, those young folks in the office will know that you mean business.

Time to find your unicorn.


Uptown's Kicking It

If you've been paying attention to luxury fashion or streetwear for the last 5 years, you've watched the head on collision of high & low. From Versace to Nike the collaborations have been profitable and popular.

What you may have missed was the business class in how to not be racist that Gucci put on for all to see. While H&M, Katy Perry Adidas and Dolce & Gabbana tripped on their missteps, Gucci had Dapper Dan. Two years ago the culture demanded that the House of Gucci respect the streetwear sage that made them relevant in the 80's to the world of hip-hop.

When the Gucci House had it's misstep, Dapper Dan was quick to call them out on social media, leading to Gucci Changemakers - the most talked about investment in luxury this year. Lemons to lemonade. It's what Phil Knight did with factory transparency in the 90's.

So when you throw on a pair of luxury kicks (US$670 at Gucci) and you get strange looks, let them know that Changemakers is something you believe in. As a business and a philosophy.

Rewriting the Rules

Nike's Stefan Janoski SB product is probably the most popular shoe you've never heard of. The pro skater created a simple shoe and added 'For Daily Use' on every pair. Most popular skate shoes from Nike were old basketball shoes, but they truly got the Janoski signature model right because they let Stefan do his thing. Millions of pairs later he's turned into a Jack Purcell or Stan Smith or Chuck Taylor - a name more connected with a shoe than the actual person.

Unlike a quality pair of Vans, you C-Suiters can't pull off the basic versions. You need the premium model above (US$100 at Nike). And if anyone questions you as a poser for not being able to ride, first tell them that you wanted something simpler than the FBT and then ask them if they've ever dunked in their Jordans.

If you actually do ride, you probably already have a pair.

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Do You

A blank sheet of paper is intimidating. Doing something original is not most people's cup of tea. I've heard hundreds of times by C-Suite residents that they "don't care what they wear" because they aren't into fashion. I then ask them to wear clown shoes to work. Suddenly they care.

So when it comes to customizing their own shoes, people freeze up or overthink what they can choose to make their own. They are happier to complaining about how terrible designers are.

It's time to let that fear go. Most brands offer some form of affordable customization that arrives within 4 weeks. I tell people to design with one of two directions: go boring or go wild. Wild simply means picking your daughter's favorite color so you have a conversation starter.

My favorite choice this week would be from New Balance in the NB1 990V3 (US$189 at New Balance) because this classic is rarely issued in wild colors and it's available in Size 16 - you know who you are. 


If You Know, You Know

The undisputed champ of luxury sneakers over the last couple of years was Balenciaga. The Triple S remixed history into the 'ugly shoe' trend that hundreds of brands followed. 

But the originator of 'faking it better than you're making it' is the House of Margiela. We've already celebrated their homage to the Air Force One. Now we celebrate their womens take on the Replica (US$650 at Maison Margiela), the evolution of the 70's GAT that may or may not have started at Puma or Adidas.

You may have the basic Replica in your standard rotation, but you should sparingly bring these satin beauties out to play. The jealousy will run deep.


You could tell everyone that you decided to stunt or flex in the Puma Clyde Disrupt (US$120 at Puma) because you recognize the power moves that Jay Z and Beyonce are making in the sneaker world.

You could tell people that the shoe has a solid 83/100 review from Run Repeat, one of the best data driven review sites on the internet.

Personally, I'd use the opportunity to drive home the fact that ClydeSoFly is the BEST Instagram profile on social media. Periodt.

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Fashion & Sneakers.

The two biggest names are Vogue & Jordan.

The Editor in Chief of Vogue is Anna Wintour.

Vogue & Jordan collaborate for the AWOK Jordan 1 and Jordan 3 (US$250 to $1500 at Stock X).

Get them.

Wear them.

Apologize to no one.

Too Much Sauce

Let's say you already have of custom Air Force Ones in your collection and you aren't impressed with anything you can purchase on the market. You actually have the aforementioned iridescent Lambo and most of these sneakers don't quite do it for you.

Then head on over to Dominic "The Shoe Surgeon" Ciambrone for a custom model of anything you can imagine (US$IYHTA* at Shoe Surgeon). 

Think Dr. Frankenstein.

Take the floral suede material from Aunt Margaret's couch and they'll stitch it into an Air Force One - no judgements. You'll be in great company.

* If You Have To Ask...

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My Favorite Martian

In 2012 artist Tom Sachs took his unique brand of creativity to an interactive show in the Park Avenue Armory. If you are unfamiliar with knolling, please watch this 21 minute video before continuing. We will wait.

Tom Sach's Armory show was created entirely from typical household items and a strange Nike shoe - the Mars Yard Shoe.

Five years later, Nike worked with Tom to offer a unique experience based on training for the mission to outer space. That project included Mars Yard (US$4500 at Flight Club). The rerelease is as coveted as the original, so good luck grabbing either. While there are dozens of theories behind the resell value (limited run, original show, knolling), the price is the price.

If you want the ultimate in respect, then wear these and never acknowledge how you acquired them.

Simply smile and say, "Always be knolling."