Think of 5 sneakers that if you had unlimited money, you would buy right now… Once you’ve thought of them, keep them in mind.
In 1932, Converse joined forces with then-famed basketball player Chuck Taylor to create a shoe that would go on to become a staple of sneaker culture. Not only was this the birth of an iconic shoe, it served as the first time that a shoe manufacturer had joined forces with an outside entity to create a shoe. It was the first sneaker collaboration.
Years later we can see just how impactful sneaker collaborations became. In 1984, Nike engaged in arguably the greatest sneaker collaboration of all time when they signed Michael Jordan as a Nike athlete and promised him a signature shoe. While we now associate all Jordans with Jordan Brand, the original Air Jordans were just a collaboration between Nike and Michael Jordan. This collaboration grew to become so impactful that it became a subsidiary brand of Nike.
These successful collaborations over time have resulted in something that in the world of retail is quite remarkable, the collaboration between outside brands, artists, and businesses to create a unique edition of an already popular product. In 1986, Adidas collaborated with hip hop group Run DMC to create a special edition of the already famous Superstar silhouette. With Adidas’s infrastructure and Run DMC’s popularity and influence, these Superstars would fly off shelves and plant the seeds that would eventually grow into an important part of sneaker culture.
Here’s Where Things Get Interesting
With the influence of artists being a proven means of selling sneakers, big shoe manufacturers began to rush to get creative and find the next collaboration that they could use to generate hype and push product, and my-oh-my have they gotten creative over the years. In their history, Reebok has managed to work with the likes of Chanel, Tom & Jerry, and Vetements. Adidas has launched collaborative efforts to appease the fans of Star Wars, Pokémon, and Disney. Nike has managed to push the limits of who a shoe company can collaborate with by launching shoes alongside Tom Sachs, Spongebob Squarepants, and even Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. While all of these collaborations are jaw dropping, my vote for the most intriguing sneaker collaboration of all time goes to Patrick Ewing Brand’s special edition Grillo’s Pickles basketball shoes.
Now, back to my initial question. Of those 5 shoes that you’ve thought of how many are collab sneakers? If you thought of a Yeezy, that’s a collab. Jordan, collab. Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Dunkys, do I even have to say it?
So, what makes these collaboration shoes so desirable? The short answer is that they’re unique. At the end of the day we all want the most unique sneakers in our collections. Would you rather have regular all white Air Force 1s or all white Air Force 1s with a Supreme logo on the heel? Would you have known about the Nike Waffle Racer and its rich history if it wasn’t for the unique pairs that Nike has created in collaboration with Sacai? If you’re a Star Wars fan, would you rather have a pair of regular cargo green Ultra Boost or a pair of special edition Yoda-inspired cargo green Ultra Boost? The choice almost always goes to the collaboration sneaker.
How Can You Get In On This?
With collaborative shoes being such an important part of sneaker culture, I’m sure you yourself have had the desire to create a shoe that has your special influence. How many times have you found yourself thinking of things that are important to you and how you would implement them into a shoe if you only had the chance to collab with (insert brand here)? You may not know it, but you already can. Those same desires to create a unique collab sneaker can be brought to life through a pair of well-done customs. Custom sneakers are your way to combine your favorite silhouette with any idea you could possibly imagine and create your very own 1-of-1 shoe. As mentioned before, people drift towards collaboration sneakers due to their uniqueness. This same uniqueness is what makes custom sneakers so desirable.
If you have the desire live out your sneaker designer dreams and have a pair of shoes customized we at Proof Culture have a long history of delivering truly jaw-dropping custom sneakers and making Sneakerheads’ wildest design dreams come true. We’d be more than happy to help you create your very own 1-of-1 masterpiece so that you too can have your very own influence on a pair of (insert brand here)’s.