The sneakersphere never fails to dish up truly head-scratching moments, and 2020 was no different. From mind-bending hybrids to footwear faux-pas to shoebox bars, the last 12 months have produced some moments we'll remember for a long time coming. We saw Russian all-terrain vehicles delivering sneakers for crying out loud! We take a look back at five of the most WTF sneaker moments from 2020.
A Tabi-Tastic Instapump
2020 kicked off with the reveal of a slew of luxury sneaker colabs that, while they kept it classic, also stayed on the straight and narrow. Yes, the Air Dior broke the internet – and was admittedly super crisp – but other crossovers, like the Prada x adidas Superstar had us craving a bit of creativity.
Cue the batshit crazy Margiela x Reebok Tabi Instapump Fury. Debuting at Paris Fashion Week, the jaw-dropping platform hybrid saw Steven Smith’s famed bladder-bearing design spliced with MMM’s signature split-toed Tabi, in one of the most unexpected and delightfully whimsical pieces of footwear tomfoolery we saw all year.
The Most Eyebrow-Raising Yeezys Yet?
The Kanye West train is always a wild ride, and that was as true as ever for the Yeezy brand in 2020. On the design side, Mr West did as he does and completely polarised the sneakersphere with his Foam Runner. Call it a Croc, call it a cosmic masterpiece, whatever side of the fence you sit on, the holey, cushy creps surely make you feel something. ‘Ye had even more weird to come, though, previewing a Yeezy D Rose prototype back in April. Looking more like a futuristic kitchen gadget than a basketball sneaker, it still has us scratching our heads months later.
Also, for sheer spectacle, we have to mention Team Yeezy handing out Yeezy QNTMs ahead of NBA All-Star Weekend. Did we mention they did so driving around Chicago in Sherp ATVs? Hot damn!
David vs Goliath
The sneakersphere is no stranger to copyright infringement lawsuits, but the epic battle between Nike and Warren Lotas was one for the history books. The protracted affair began in October when the Beaverton legal department filed against the LA-based creative for infringing on famous Nike SB Dunk designs. Weeks of back and forth ensued, with the Swoosh fighting to protect their IP, and Lotas championing the cause of small business. The David vs Goliath clash ended under confidential terms earlier this month, with Lotas cancelling the shoes in question.
Eeep, this one was awkward. Back in May, Nike were set to release an Air Force 1 in commemoration of New York’s famed Puerto Rican Day Parade. However, the shoe never made it to shelves. The 2020 drop was intended to be an exact retro of the 2000 AF-1 ‘Puerto Rico’, but coming off the production line it had a fatal flaw: the flag was backwards on the tongue. Upon realising the mistake, Nike cancelled the release and pulled the shoes just ahead of the drop date.
Quenching Thirsts in Three Stripes
A WTF moment, but in a good way, Manchester Three Stripes devotee John Clark made the ultimate proclamation of adi love this year when he built a backyard bar in homage to adidas’ famous blue shoeboxes.
The Solebox Bar, named for the legendary German boutique, wears blue – colour-matched to adi’s specific shade – and the jagged Three Stripes appear just as they do on the packaging. Now that’s dedication. And, yes, if you’re wondering, guests have to wear Team Trefoil to get service from the publican!