I started pushing back against the mainstream in my early teens, but didn't find punk until much later. Because money was tight, thrift store shopping was the best option for finding a style I could afford.
Years later, money isn't a problem, but chasing the name brand label or logo still rubs me the wrong way. It's not just the outrageous prices, it's the lack of change and imagination over the years. What's crazy is, there are more options than ever out there... buried on some bottom shelf in the back. Many shoes are created overseas and aren't even available in Western markets.
Many sites are affiliates of the same big names and lack any originality in selection. There are a rare few, like Freestyle Footwear (www.freestylefootwear.com) that really sift through the lesser known to compile an authentic collection for men of all ages. Other sites have succumb to the pressure of mainstream budgets and advertising.
There is an appetite to stand out and set trends, but the public is generally unaware of niche shoe stores and curated collections. Word of mouth and other grassroots advertising is the only way to fight back against the big label. The millennial generation is more likely than their elders to go their own way and set new trends. It is unclear if that is due to an increased sense of independence, or a more limited exposure to mainstream advertising.