Several years ago, sculpture artist/filmmaker/contemporary raconteur Tom Sachs built the outstanding Nike Mars Yard 2.0 shoe with some clear objectives in mind. To have people wear the bejesus out of it. To be an object that supports the quest for meaningful work, while being on your feet. To be the nouveau-utilitarian's official sneaker.
Instead, he inadvertently created the holy grail for the sneakerhead, a shoe that is so popular and misty/hard-to-get that it currently sells for thousands online. It's the Rolex Daytona of sneakers. Ultra-coveted and largely unobtainable for mortal men.
Now, Sach's long-awaited do-over is here. And it might just be the death of sneaker hype as we know it.
The Legend of the Mars Yard 2.0
"Posers need not apply."
When Sach's introduced the Mars Yard 2.0, it belied a sturdy construction to go with its throwback Nike looks. It had classic fit and function while promising to go the distance for those who wanted to wear it and beat it. It had none of the flimsy flyknit-type-bs that has plagued man "modern" sneakers, instead concentrating on a burly-yet-light werableness that was refreshing.
Sachs built instant workwear mythology around the shoe, releasing it in tandem with a real-life, experiential element dubbed "Space Camp". Once you completed this orientation/art installation/mental-and-physical-obstacle-course experience, you were granted the Mars Yards that came with the experience, to wear out and about. "Posers need not apply," Sachs said about Space Camp.
The essence of the venture was to encourage people to do hard work and not cede to failure along the way to achievement. By taking a pragmatic approach to gear and thrashing your Mars Yards, using them to do everything and anything in, you were furthering Sach's utilitarian vision.
The concept may seem a little high-minded, but even sneakerheads themselves could appreciate the sincerity of the venture, and of Sach's thinking.
The Mars Yard: More Successful than Intended.
Sachs's storytelling effort worked in spades, though possibly not as he specifically envisioned. The shoe was awesome. However, it was so in demand, so recognizable, and in the end so elusive, that it became a unicorn, a rarity selling for thousands of dollars on the secondary market. It's basically the holy grail for sneakerheads.
Will The General Purpose Shoe kill Sneaker Speculation?
Wouldn’t it be cool if people could have shoes that represent the humility of doing the work?"
Cut to 2022 and Sachs has rolled out his latest collab with Nike, called the General Purpose Shoe. The General Purpose Shoe is (once again) a stripped-down Nike featuring a sturdy design and simple styling reminiscent of the Nike Killshot or the Waffle Trainer.
Seeking to bypass the hype train, Sachs has taken steps to ensure that the Nikecraft General Purpose will be available to the masses, with new variation rolling out on a regular schedule to deter the kind of wild speculation (and actual physical jumping through hoops) that made the Mars Yard 2.0 unattainable. The shoe is currently in the midst of its third release. And, it's affordable in comparison to other hyped-up releases, retailing for $110.oo, a pricetag that makes it a bargain for style hunters.
The shoe has also gained plaudits for its sturdy design at this price point. So in some ways, this is Sachs attempting to combat the phenomenon he claims to detest but helped buttress: shoes becoming insanely hyped to the point that nobody can enjoy the everyman vibe. Just as Elon Musk sought (unsuccessfully) to do with the Tesla Model 3 automobile, Sachs wants to make an awesome shoe that works for everybody and that will democratize style.
The Tom Sachs x NikeCraft General Purpose Shoe - Cool For Everybody
And he may just have pulled it off. The General Purpose is, by all accounts, an excellent and versatile shoe. Its design has a simplicity that means you can wear it with anything. And, with the legend of the Mars Yard 2 as its prequel, it has built-in credibility with the sneakerhead crowd.
Not that it matters to you.
By buying a pair of the General Purpose and wearing them often, for a long time, you are signaling to the world that you get it, both from a style perspective and a quality perspective. Your steely resolve and utilitarian nature have you doing better things than shopping for sneakers. You bought into the hype once, at the right time, and now you're getting on with your life, being awesome.
Keep an eye on it. The NikeCraft Tom Sach's General Purpose just might be the shoe that wins the shoe game— and puts the competition to bed, permanently.