What We Stand For: For many of us, our journey as Sneakerheads has been a fight for respect as much as it has been for acquiring the collection of individual shoes we want and dream of. At this juncture, it’s basically impossible to count the number of times people have reached out to us and asked for help explaining o their husbands, wives, moms, dads, etc.exactly what we do. Most people once they understand tend to marvel at the idea and agree with the value but there’s also just a small trace of sadness remains with each of those conversations.
Deep down inside, we know that the Sneakerhead is not taken as seriously as the watch collector, or the baseball card collector, or even people who buy and trade stocks casually. Even though sneakers- especially high-end sneakers tend to easily outperform other traded products.
This small example is one of many reasons why we take customer service and respect for our fellow Sneakerheads so seriously. As a business, we serve people of all ages and from all around the world. Sole Protector LLC is also owned and operated by a diverse group of people who hail from different walks of life and different cultural backgrounds. We have always been proud of this fact and see this as an advantage in our business. To us, diversity is precious and we believe that it is fundamental to providing the best possible products to our customers.
Given our perspective, it’s probably easy to understand why we would struggle with people being disrespected, their rights trampled and all the divisions that arise because of poor treatment. We also grew up in a time where sneakers were traded face-to-face and people would invite strangers to their homes to buy and sell sneakers. Sneakers have always come with us a stigma of danger. We came up in a time where a transaction for a pair of Air Jordans could prove fatal. But our community fought for justice and won! Nike and Jordan Brand had to take us seriously and change how things were done. Releases had to be safe for people and despite the challenges that still persist, it is truly a point of pride that we have the release system that we do today. You can buy your shoes in peace and relative safety and that is a good thing for everyone.
In fact, safety for all is paramount for a robust and thriving marketplace where countless transactions can transpire without anyone getting hurt. Over the years as the sneaker game has matured and moved online, we find new and creative ways to ensure trust and accountability for each transaction. As part of that Sneakerheads have always been able to share their opinions and experiences in an effort to inform and educate anyone interested in doing business in the sneaker world.
In short, our experience in the early days have laid the foundation for respect, trust and decency that we expect from ourselves and for our customers. In addition, our experience with face-to-face transactions, interactions with perfect strangers and ultimately the experiences we’ve had in public spaces like sneaker shows [for example] speaks to a real belief in people’s right and ability to come together and assemble peacefully around a common cause.
What We Don’t Stand For: Bias, racism, injustice and hate have no place in the sneaker community, our country or any space that intends to thrive. The right to truthfully and peacefully assemble as a show of solidarity with your fellow citizens and to bring important issues to the surface is one of the many things that makes our country special. Protesting social injustice is a precious opportunity and privilege that does not necessarily exist around the world.
“A riot is the language of the unheard” -Dr. Martin Luther King. It’s pretty much impossible to dispute how terrible things have become - that people feel this upset and lost. But the target of that anger should be the offenders and the goal should be real change through justice. There are many good people out in the streets right now literally risking their lives and to those people we grant our full support. They stand for something and are fighting for something (actionable justice and equality). As a business and as individuals, we will do whatever we can to ensure that their message is heard. However, individuals simply seeking the destruction of institutions like Flight Club and RIF LA [and others] are skewing the message and purpose behind people’s overall outrage. Cruel, purposeless destruction will probably hurt the sneakerheads whose shoes were on consignment and more than likely needed the money from the sale of those shoes. Long before things were online, stores like Flight Club and RIF LA [and others] took us and our kicks seriously and it would be a shame if hate destroyed what in many ways, we have all built. We fought for Nike to respect us, Kanye is a boss over at Adidas and Reebok is only still in business because of us. None of our institutions are perfect but we have power in those firms and should not throw it away easily. Sole Protector does not tolerate discrimination and hate in any form shape or fashion as a minority owned business and as individuals - period. Above all else there is no room in our business, industry and country for it.
What We Are Going To Do: While we hope and pray that all can be made right with the world as soon as humanly possible, we understand - maybe more than most that pain and suffering has no timeline. So we intend to continue to serve and help our community in any way that we can. As a business, we intend to take the best possible care of all our customers while leveraging our primary vehicle for giving back [Sole Protector Select Rewards]. Through SP Select, we have been able to give away tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts and rewards to both our customers and online followers. We will also continue to use SP Select to give back to the community and hopefully leave people with something positive and good in their lives. Finally, we will hold fast in our policies in the hope of reflecting respect and decency in our community, industry and country. We are stronger together! Please stay safe and Keep Your Sole Clean.