How to Be the Flyest Sneakerhead in Your Crew, According to Wale’s Instagram

  • Wale, Jerry Seinfeld studio

    @wale

    1. Friends in high places

    Wale doesn’t just rap about Jerry Seinfeld, the two are unlikely peas in a pod. They’ve become fast friends, and the great comic donated his voice to host The Album About Nothing. Their Complex joint interview depicted their mutual respect, cultivated by their talent and success in two very different arenas. They do find common ground in that Seinfeld was one of the early adopters of sneaker culture, as evidenced by the heat he’d wear regularly on his show.

    “I’m funneling his wisdom,” Wale told Complex. “I talk to Jerry and I listen. Then I go to the studio and capture those moments. What do I agree with? Am I conveying this message to a broader audience? It’s like a writing drill.”

    The fact is, when you have access to someone with the intelligence and perspective of Jerry Seinfeld, one would be remiss not to take advantage of it. That’s why the interview spoke well for Wale: He still rails against the “haters,” but he’s open to learning why Seinfeld doesn’t care about them. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you know, there’s never a bad time to soak up knowledge from someone with an elevated world view.

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  • Wale Nike Air Mag workout

    @wale

    2. Look good, feel good

    Some might think it’s insane to wear a pair of Air Mags to work out. But perhaps Wale subscribes to the gospel of a former DMV sports luminary, Deion Sanders, who famously said: “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.”

    While not quite the rapper Wale is, Deion certainly had a way with words. And while not all of us have the luxury of working out in a pair of $9,000 sneakers, try it in a pair of Jordans sometime. If you don’t have a better-than-usual workout, then everything we know about Prime Time is a lie.

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  • Wale Mayor Washington D.C.

    @wale

    3. A time and a place

    I realize I’m a bit of a hypocrite: With my wife’s blessing, I wore Concord XIs for my own wedding. (If our guests looked down on that, they had the good sense to keep it to themselves.) But even if your collection is totally on point, sometimes you need to know when to step things up a notch. Receiving an audience with the Mayor of Washington, D.C., is one of those times.

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  • Wale Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

    @wale

    4. Embrace your individuality

    As a 35-year-old wrestling fan, I take my share of ribbing from people who feel I’m about 20 years too old for it. It’s honestly hard to disagree, but I’ve enjoyed it for many years, and somehow I still do. While it’s true that our tastes do change as we grow older — I used to love Taco Bell; I literally can’t remember when I last had it — this doesn’t mean everything has to go.

    Wale clearly ascribes to that theory, as his passion for sneakers is rivaled only by his affinity for scripted fighting. I’ve seen him try to defend it, but there’s honestly no need. I actually thought Seinfeld’s learned take in the Complex article was particularly succinct: “Everything’s rubbish. It’s all rubbish. Whatever you like, you like.”

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  • Wale Nike Foamposite on stage

    @wale

    5. Remember where you're from

    Wale’s Instagram is a digital museum, featuring dozens of Yeezys, customs, and rare SB Dunks. But while his access and funding have improved and he isn’t afraid to branch out, it’s always great to see him hearken back to his DMV days and wear the model he helped make famous.

    “The shoe that means the most to me is obviously the Foamposite because my hometown means so much to me,” Wale told Nice Kicks. “I was born in D.C., and I grew up in lower-to-middle class Maryland. That’s a very important part of my life — the schooling and all — and the Foamposite was there with me during those moments. It represents that time in my life.”

    People who’ve been doing this a while are well aware of the time machine quality certain pairs of sneakers have for us. No matter how deep his discography gets, it’s great to see Wale remains in regular touch with where he came from.

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  • Wale, Jerry Seinfeld studio
  • Wale Nike Air Mag workout
  • Wale Mayor Washington D.C.
  • Wale Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star
  • Wale Nike Foamposite on stage

I like Wale, but there’s no question he’s had his ups and downs over the years. 100 Miles & Running and The Mixtape About Nothing were pretty great, but his first major-label record, Attention Deficit, came nowhere close to harnessing that clever, creative spirit that had attracted him so much buzz.

Of course, it wasn’t really his fault. Wale had fallen victim to his label forcing a stylistic change in pursuit of commercial appeal, an affliction that also befell Lupe Fiasco, B.O.B., Yelawolf, and so many others.

It took time to temper the disappointment of that first studio album, but signing to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music was a promising start. Returning to his Seinfeld-themed roots on the Festivus tape was another positive step. And with The Album About Nothing dropping today, we can hold out hope that an artist with so much promise is once again pointed in the right direction.

One arena where he’s never lost his way is footwear. His peer Kanye West may be the ultimate influencer not named Michael Jordan, but Wale joined Mike Bibby and Penny himself as the ultimate advocates for the Foamposite. And before you ever heard him on wax, Wale was sharing his views as “ILoveHiphop43” on NikeTalk.com.

Even more than the fact that Wale has a great collection — though, I mean, he does — he’s long been a trendsetter and a positive voice in sneaker culture.

“I respect the culture, but I hate that it’s been bastardized,” Wale told Nice Kicks in 2013.

“The sneaker game has just evolved into something else.”

Wale didn’t make the cut on our list of Instagram sneaker MVPs — hey, 13th Witness had a great year! — but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t rep his hobby in a big way. Having spent some time checking out Wale’s Instagram, here are a few things you can learn from one of the most pre-eminent collectors in the game. This is How to Be the Flyest Sneakerhead in Your Crew, According to Wale’s Instagram.

Follow Bryan on Twitter at @sportsangle

image via Paras Griffin/Getty Images