If you are a sneaker head in today’s world of collecting sneakers then you know by your Twitter feed that there is a new collaboration hitting the internet every couple of days. In recent weeks this has been slew of Saucony, ASICS, Reebok and New Balance with the occasional Nike thrown in. The number of collaborations and the accessibility of custom sneakers online have made some sneaker heads assign a negative connotation to the term collaborations.
I, however, have a real fondness for collaborations and here is the reason why.
I should start by saying my favorite brand of shoes are New Balance they dominate over half of my collection and many of my latest buys have been collaborations. Why is that? Is it the hype a brand can build and I can’t wait to post pictures of my score on the ‘gram. Not really… But I will say I can be sold by a brand like CNCPTS telling a story around the colors and textures of a shoe or watching Rick Williams tell me about the Detroit inspiration behind one of his kicks. While these are facts about collaborations it’s not why I love them.
I like premium materials
There is something great about the materials these companies use in collaborations. No shoe embodies this more to me than the New Balance 997 “Rose Gold” collaboration with CNCPTS. This shoe just looks like it is filthy wealthy… Not to mention the colors are on point.
I like treatments and color ways that I can’t find other places.
For some reason other people who also love sneakers just look to find the material and color combos you can’t find other places. I think there is a risk that a collaborating store might take that the brand might not take when thousands of units are on the line. One of those color ways probably feels very natural now to the sneaker world is that salmon and blue combination made famous by Ronnie Fieg. While I never came across some salmon toe ASICS I wear these salmon sole New Balance 1300 from RF and Kith all the time. Seriously, salmon colored soles… That’s brilliant.
Collaborations can show you shoe styles you never knew existed.
Now I’m not buying every Reebok model that comes out or the variety of retro Saucony models that are on my Twitter feed but every once in a while you see a model pop up that just wasn’t on your radar before you saw the collaboration made up. One shoe sticks out in my mind is the Brooks Chariot “Liberty” from UBIQ, the premium materials, the rich leather color way and extra touches made these shoes a must have… Especially considering I waited out the launch day hype and got these on a sweet discount.
What followed this purchase was more important because it lead to one of the most popular shoes in my current rotation and at an average price of about $60 these are one of the less expensive shelves in my collection. Those grey ones go with everything and the Seattle insoles in the Mariner color way is on point.
So while people may tell you I am everything that is wrong with the sneaker culture and that I shouldn’t buy into the falsified hype of these collaborations. I must be a sucker or a hypebeast and as these new kicks show up in my Twitter feed… if I like them I will most likely cop them and hustle home to tag them on Instagram.