Back in issue 3, which was quite a long while ago, I compiled a list of what I thought were some of the most influential collab sneakers in the world. After another four fantastic issues of Sneaker Freaker it’s about time to go back and find a bunch of fresh pairs of shoes that could give the old Top 10 a run for their money. In the end, some remained, some fell and some dropped completely out of the list. And now, lets take a look at our final 10 contestants…
1.) adidas Superstar 35th Consortium Series
I’ve separated out the Consortium Series with the other Superstar 35th collection because these shoes are in a league of their own. Never before has one company assembled the strongest line-up ever – featuring some of the most famous sneaker stores (Foot Patrol, Undefeated, Union), select shops (T.A.T.E, D-Mop) and brands (Neighborhood) in the world. Adidas went through the painful process of taking apart an OG pair to recreate these babies. Featuring some of the finest quality materials seen on a pair of sneakers, crazy details, super limited production numbers and the highest ever retail price for a pair of Superstars. It certainly nailed the Dunk in terms of productivity and hype. But the question remains - what can adidas do next to keep the #1 spot?
2.) Nike x Stussy 25th Anniversary Court Force
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Stussy brand, started up in 1980 by Shawn Stussy in California. Stussy paved the way for street fashion for the following 20 years, it’s also one of the first brands to incorporate the idea of collaboration with other brands. Some notable collabs include: Carhartt, Neighborhood, Casio, Pro-Keds, Nexus 7, Porter... the list goes on. Perhaps the most well-known collab for sneaker heads would be the Stussy x Nike shoes. All the previous Nike collab shoes have reached sky-high prices on eBay, and these babies are no exception. Not only do they feature some of the best detail, material use and highest quality we’ve seen on a Nike shoe for the past year. One of the most beautiful and meaningful collaborations ever. Happy 25th birthday Stussy!
3.) Nike Dunk SB series
The King has finally fallen! Ranked 1st in the old list, it has slumped 2 places to 3rd place this time round. The reason is that the Dunk has been milked by Nike to the fullest a long time ago, there’s been a dip in quality and the old formula doesn’t seem to work so well anymore. The Tiffany Dunk was one of the most anticipated sneakers of 2005, but with the hype for them starting to die down there is no shoe in the upcoming Dunk SB range to keep the hype alive. The Melvins? They look ugly. College Pack Dunk Hi’s? Nah - old news! Nike will now need to dig deep and ask itself what it can do to make this shoe work again. I’m sure they will think of something.
4.) Visvim x Undefeated FBT
This is the first time Visvim has made it into the Top 10, and its an impressive job obtaining 4th position. Some people may think, ‘How could Visvim fit into the list when it’s NOT a pair of sneakers?’ It really depends on perception: some say it’s a casual shoe, some think it’s a hybrid of a formal shoe blended with sneaker genes. This is also the first time Visvim collaborated with an overseas brand (previously only collaborated with Japanese brands such as Undercoverism, Neighbor-hood, Unrivaled, Caban de Zucca and Electric Cottage) and they backed a winner by picking such a powerful partner: Undefeated. Eddie Cruz was the mastermind behind this beauty - faux crocodile skin on the toecap, colours inspired by the Air Jordan 4, etched Undefeated logo on the back of the shoes, quality craftsmanship and outstanding packaging. Look forward to more Visvim in the years to come especially collabs with SOPH and Fragment.
5.) Nike x Undefeated Air Jordan 4
Undefeated is on a roll indeed, this is its 3rd collaboration shoe on the list (the most by any single/independent company).
This is something you probably won’t see again: a collaboration with Jordan. This is the first time Jordan Brand has collaborated with anyone, so imagine how rare these are (limited to 79 pairs in the world!). Inspired by the US Air Force’s MA-1 military jacket, both the jacket and shoes share the same colour and texture and it comes packaged in a special case with a matching jacket. Not too much on the creative side, but the brands alone are strong enough to give this a boost into the Top 10.
6.) New Balance x Stussy x MasterPiece x Mita MT580
Here we go, the MT580 has made it into the list! There are 3 colourways in the series, with purple/black and ice possibly the best. Over the last 3 months of 2004, Mita released a total of 9 different colours for the MT580 which caused a dramatic drop in the resell value. After a 6 month break, a new partner (MasterPiece replaced realmad HECTIC), and the 25th anniversary of Stussy, these are sure to bring MT580 back into the game.
There were rumours in Japan at the end of last year about terminating the production of MT580 because the 6th and 7th series sold poorly. Yet a few months later the new Stussy samples appeared in Japanese street fashion magazines. Soon enough, they were highly hyped! Upon release in July, they instantly sold out and prices have hit the roof, peaking an average $450US on all 3 colourways.
7.) Nike x Kid Robot Air Max
One of the best-looking Air Max 1s in the market right now: they definitely beat the Atmos Air Max 1 series in terms of quality and creativity! This time round, Nike teamed up with NYC toy guru Kid Robot and Barneys, the up-market department store in downtown NYC, to produce these pink babies. Featuring quality black leather, black mesh, gold nubuck, Kid Robot logo stitching on the heel and a gum outsole, and packed in gold and pink HTM-style drawer boxes along with a Kid Robot keychain and 5 different sockliners designed by Gary Baseman, Dalek, David Horvath, Huck Gee and Frank Kozik. Only 250 pairs in the world, definitely one of the best collaboration sneakers in 2005.
8.) Maharishi x Nike Terminator
Finally some company other than BAPE has repped the camouflage proud! Maharishi, famous for its distinctive camouflage and technical outdoor gear (including the infamous Snopants), collaborated with Nike at the end of 2004 for a pair of special Terminators dubbed the DPM (also the same name for their camouflage bible they were releasing at the time). Hardy, the man behind Maharishi, chose to use his special tiger and dragon camouflage under the shades of grey. Sharp orange colourway and orange lace eyelets on one side only, this is the most innovative collaboration we have seen for a while. A special 24-pair version was produced with the letters ‘DPM’ replacing the ‘NIKE’ that is normally splattered on the back. Only 600 pairs were produced exclusive to Europe. Tasty! Only if they produced more…
9.) Nike x SAKURA (UENO) Air Force One Low
In 2004, Nike and Mita came up with a pair of fantastic looking AF1 Lows which featured ostrich emboss, patent vinyl, premium leather, nubuck and DRI-FIT material. In 2005, they’re back again but this time, they created a pair of AF1 with Premium leather, laser etching on the shoe and featuring a big wooden laser shoebox! Limited to 500 pairs and a Mita exclusive, they are one of the most sought after AF1s ever. They have the highest price tag as well!
10.) A Bathing Ape x Kaws Bapesta
It would be really wrong if we didn’t include this in the list. Earlier this year Kaws and A Bathing Ape released over 100 different collaboration items, including t-shirts, tote bags, sweaters, hoodys, pencil cases and even mobile phone covers. Every single item was a
sell-out in Japan, and the most sought after item in the collection would be the sneakers for sure. These are not your average looking Bapestas – patent leather, a special ‘X’ mark on the star, a fatter upper representing Kaws’ famous ‘Chum’ character and most of all, a row of shark teeth on the toe cap! These shoes have set a new benchmark in the reselling price for Bapestas.
Runner Up #1: Nike x Mr. Cartoon x Undefeated Air Force One
Because we can only fit 10 in, there must be some sacrifices. The Mr. Cartoon AF1 is another beautiful piece of sneaker artwork: ‘Atmos’ AF1 colourway, Laser-etched spider webs, ‘LA’ logo stitching on the heel and HTM-style packaging. Meant to be for sale exclusively in Undefeated LA, they were banned for sale due to a ridiculous licensing problem associated with the Spiderweb design. 100 were reportedly made andgiven out to friends and family at an Undefeated event.
There you have it: a new Top 10 list! Between Issue 3 and now we’ve seen an increase in the creativity of the collaboration shoes: from just slapping on a name on the box with a limited production number, to mixing and matching different materials and different themes. At least this means no-one is getting tricked by the companies who are using the same tricks over and over again to make us pay up for the shoes. The future is indeed looking bright for upcoming collaboration shoes. I should be coming back with a more updated Top 10 list in Sneaker Freaker Issue 9 (release date: God know’s when!). Will adidas continue to rule supreme? Will the Nike Dunk make a comeback and jump back to the #1 position? Or, will some other shoe replace them both as the new king?