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Why Is the Sneaker Emoji Boring AF?

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July 17 is World Emoji Day. Celebrated since 2014, for the past couple of years the unofficial holiday has been used to announce official additions to the emoji ‘dictionary’. What’s any of this got to do with sneakers? Well, have you seen the sneaker emoji lately? It’s boring AF!

For better or worse, the Internet drastically changed verbal communication and, in the case of sneakers, gave people a new way to discuss them. Sneakerheads are linguists of the lace, especially with emojis. Some may lament the non-existent literacy in the onslaught of emoji-riddled passages. But try taking them at face value. Language is continually evolving, even if that may be at the expense of complete sentences and apostrophes. People are using emojis to augment the way they communicate.

Had emojis existed when Ernest Hemingway was around, he would’ve gone HAM on them. Instead of writing ‘this sneaker is fire’, he’d simply just use two equivalent emojis. Concise AF.

But, look at the current sneaker emoji. The faux-574 isn’t necessarily the first sneaker to evoke a flame next to it. Like the shoe, it’s reliable, but can there be some more options? What about an all-white Air Force 1? Or generate some Dunk discourse with BTTYS colours? Try bringing things into the modern age with a Yeezy BOOST 350 V2 in some 50 shades of tan.

So, how to get more sneaker emojis happening? Third parties have actually been trying for years to no avail. And 2015 seemed to be a particularly prominent year for it. Foot Locker tried with the ‘Shoemoji’, but it didn’t quite catch on. Even Kim Kardashian, the brains behind the ‘Kimono’ (now known as Skims) among other innovative inventions, tried her hand at the ‘Kimoji’. The Oxford Dictionary declared U+1F602 (face with tears of joy) their ‘word’ of the year. Repeat: an EMOJI was the word of the year. ‘Impossible is nothing’ is adidas’ slogan, right?

The only way to achieve a new drop of sneaker emojis is to take them to the digital oligarchs that are the Unicode Consortium. Yes, there’s literally group who oversee the submission of new emojis into modern lexicon. As stated on their page, ‘Anyone can submit a proposal for an emoji character, but the proposal needs to have all the right information for it to have a chance of being accepted’. So you’re telling me there’s a chance...

Have a read through the stipulations that are enforced. It’s a lot, but it’s also not impossible. Everything is laid out for you in the proposal format, you just need to supply some requisite data and graphics, among other things.

But, there are a couple of potential roadblocks. The Unicode Consortium don’t seem particularly keen on accepting emojis for the sake of a ‘cause’ – in this case, having more sneaker emoji options – nor do they entertain popular requests as the only factor for submitting an emoji. You won’t know if you don’t try…

What would legendary media theorist Marshall McLuhan think of all this? If the handful of first-year media lectures your writer didn’t skip hold any meaning, old mate McLuhan probably would’ve been an emoji evangelist. Emojis simply validate his ‘the medium is the message’ quote, affirming the semantic value that the format carries over the idea being conveyed.

When you think about it, people already regularly use emojis to express how they feel about certain sneakers, so it makes perfect sense to have more sneaker emojis to better communicate about what we are wearing on our feet.

Let’s see which new options release on World Emoji Day in 2022. With all that said and done, if a picture is worth a thousand words, this article could’ve been conveyed with a couple of emojis. Maybe the sneaker emoji next to a shrug.

For more irreverent takes, brutally honest analysis, or just downright silly sneaker sentences, visit the Real Talk section.

This article was originally published on July 17, 2020.

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