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5 of the Wildest Sneaker Riots Ever

Jeff Staple Nike Dunk Sb Pigeon RightJeff Staple Nike Dunk Sb Pigeon Right

It doesn’t take much to cut the brakes on the hype train. From AriZona Iced Tea’s 99 cent sneakers to infamous ‘Pigeon’ release, exclusive drops have been dangerously rewiring the human psychology for decades. Here are five cautionary tales to tell your friends before New York City’s next pop-up. Be safe out there.

Intergalactic Grails – Nike Air Foamposite ‘Galaxy’

Coinciding with NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, the Nike Air  Foamposite ‘Galaxy’ launched sneaker hype straight into the stratosphere. Around 100 police officers were deployed in riot gear to bring hordes of over 1,000 under control at the Florida Mall, with tear gas, helicopters, and police vehicles all operating to bring the situation under control.

Originally producing 1200 pairs, the Foamposite ‘Galaxy’ picked up utterly insane bids of $70,000 online, and still routinely sells for a 500 per cent increase on its original price.

The Great Hack – adidas Yeezy BOOST 350 V2 'Zebra'

Remember when two hackers breached the adidas Confirmed app and ended up with around 80 pairs of the adidas Yeezy  BOOST 350 V2 ‘Zebra’? Scenes captured from a Shanghai mall showed mountains of Yeezy boxes below an escalator, with frustrated ‘Ye fans unleashing hell on the poor culprit. Police escorts eventually arrived to escort the man from the mall.

It’s not the first time people have gone mad for the Three Stripes. Back in 2016, people in Taiwan went ballistic for the Originals  NMD_R1, storming a mall in Taichung.

The good news? Kanye West is delivering on his promise: ‘Everybody who wants to get Yeezys will get Yeezys.' And it’s damn hard to imagine rioting for an NMD in 2019.

Feathers Fly – Nike Dunk SB Low Jeff Staple NYC ‘Pigeon’

Rats in the sky, hypebeasts in the street, the release of Jeff Staple’s Nike SB ‘Pigeon’ was one of the most hysterical drops in sneaker history. Striking at the height of SB mania in 2005, the ‘Pigeon’ sent flocks of New Yorkers to the Reed Space on Lower East Side, where SWAT teams eventually arrived to control the crowd. Knives, machetes, and baseball bats were all confiscated by police as desperate hordes clung to the front gate of Reed Space.

Splashed across the New York Daily News the next day, the Nike SB ‘Pigeon’ is largely credited with sending sneaker culture into overdrive, the highly exclusive release (Nike only made 150 pairs) routinely fetching over $20,000 on StockX. But why the pigeon?

‘The bird doesn’t give a crap,’ Staple told CBS News. ‘They’ll walk all over you, they’ll walk right next to you, they don’t fly away, they’re not scared.’

Sound familiar?

This feature was originally published on August 19, 2021.

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