A Brief History of Palace Colabs
What do skating, the original Chicago house scene, the 90s UK rave scene, and a boys choir all have in common? Not a whole lot really... but if you add them all together and add just a dash (or a whole lot) of irreverent humour, you’ll find the result is one of the biggest names in streetwear today.
Originally known as the Palace Wayward Boys Choir, the name originated from a squatter’s house (home to the OG Palace crew) in London right near the famous Southbank skatepark. As mates joined the group along the way, the name evolved and was eventually stripped back once again to be the brand that we all know and somewhat fear a roasting from today. With their earlier collections of clothing consisting of medusa-head rip-offs (famously worn by Rhi-Rhi) and double Cs from Chanel, Palace have pioneered their own distinguished no f*cks given attitude and transcended it into trend-setting design.
From his humble beginnings as an internet café–based skate blogger and videographer, Palace creator Lev Tanju has really been out here hustling. In an interview between Fergus Purcell (designer for Stussy, Marc Jacobs, and more) and Highsnobiety, it was revealed that Tanju approached the legendary illustrator with an already complete business plan, and the only missing piece was a logo. Soon after that, the instantly recognisable take on the impossible Penrose triangle was born. With some help from London skateboarding institution Slam City Skates, and a little brand called Supreme, the ruthless, hilarious and seemingly unprofessional skate-wear brand become the forefront of street fashion.
The path that Palace skates has been unconventional, unpredictable, and extremely successful. The use of VHS-quality cameras in the 2010s seems ridiculous, placing Mitsubishi pressed contraband on t-shirts could be seen as questionable, and clapping back at customers on the Gram seems like a definite recipe for failure, yet, the London-based brand has people lining up all over the world to sell out garments in record times.
Founded in 2009, Palace has ollied higher and grinded further than many brands, and although their list of collaborators isn’t as long as some – it’s the quality that counts. In fact, the achievements on their wall would destroy any sort of cool-o-meter held against them. So far, they’ve had a Wimbledon champion don their adidas apparel, an internet-breaking collaboration with Ralph Lauren, and a launch party that Susan Sarandon attended. With such an impressive amount of accomplishments in a comparatively short amount of time, we’ve taken the time to bring you a list of their footwear collaborations.
Palace x Reebok Club C and Workout (2013)
Though the 'Bok is known for its aggressive basketball silhouettes in the States (e.g. Mobius), it's widely known for classic training shoes in the UK. With London roots and obvious home-city pride, Palace chose the most classically British silhouettes in Reebok's line: the Classic Leather and Workout. Their debut footwear release featured uppers made from premium leather and suede, gum rubber soles, and embossed Palace logo branding. The colourways are kept fairly simple across the range, except for the red, blue and white Classic Leather which is an obvious nod to the Union Jack.
Palace x Reebok Vulcanised Workout (2013)
December 2013 marked a revolutionary time in technology for skateboarding. With a single pair of vulcanised Reebok Workouts, riders were about to experience 9000 percent more grip, and have their skateboarding prowess enhanced by nine Taiwanese gigahertz thanks to a ‘Luna Powered Flux Reducing Microchip’. Though the promotional video states that there’s no scientific evidence to back any of it up – we’re pretty sure it’s true. Press play on the video below and prepare to be amazed.
Palace x adidas Palace Pro Trainer (2015)
After marketing material for their last collaboration with Reebok stated that it was 14.8 light years ahead of all competing footwear innovations, it was impossible to see Palace topping those enormous heights. When the news first surfaced that they had partnered with the Three Stripes we grew a little more hopeful, and then they dropped the Palace Pro Trainer. This completely new silhouette from the power couple incorporated parts of the adidas Gazelle and ZX Flux with extra features for extra freshness. With both brands at the height of their popularity, it was no surprise that they sold out in record time, which also meant that it was no surprise when so many people copped a devastating L.
Palace x adidas Palace Pro BOOST (2015)
While fans were still nursing their aching Ls from the initial Palace Pro drop, the London-based team were quick to apply first aid to their buyers' sores by announcing the next drop. A BOOST midsole was applied to the hyped-out Palace Pro collection which, of course, only drove hype higher. With a combination of both Primeknit and leather on the uppers, Palace promised that these pairs would make you run faster, jump higher and, most importantly, chill harder.
Palace x adidas CM BOOST (2015)
Wasting no time at all, the adidas x Palace CM BOOST was up next. Modelled after the Copa Mundial football boot, Palace continued to draw from their soccer culture–influenced style to deliver the goods. Available in a simple yet effective black on white or white on black, they were the missing piece from that all adi tracksuit look for the everyday football hooligan.
Palace x adidas Palace Pro Trainer (2016)
The following year, less than a couple of weeks apart, the Tri-ferg family released the second coming of Palace Pro models. Dressed up in blue/white, black/orange, 'Surf Petrol', and 'Bright Orange', the drop also came with a large collection of apparel.
Palace x Reebok Club C and Classic Leather (2016)
While their partnership with adidas became an ongoing one, Palace reconnected with Reebok to deliver a collection of Club Cs and Classic Leathers. Accompanied by a hilarious video from streetwear aficionado Jonah Hill, there’s not much we can say about this collection that Jonah doesn’t say better.
Palace x adidas Indoor Pack (2016)
To accompany their FW16 catalogue, Palidas concocted up the stealth, sleek and stylish Indoor Pack. Featuring a visible BOOST capsule in the midsole, and large branding on the heel and tongue, the promotional video broke down PALACE and adidas into acronyms. Palace stood for Performance, Attitude, Libido-enhancement, Accurate sewing, Coolness and Extravagant price point, while adidas cleverly stood for ‘all day I dream about sportswear’. Absolute genius.
Palace x adidas EQT (2016)
The adidas x Palace EQT marked Palace's first movement into non-skate-ready footwear. Featuring a Primeknit sock-like construction and welded translucent overlays, the vibrant lifestyle runner came complete with matching velour tracksuits for ultimate comfort and proper street cred.
Palace x adidas Indoor Pack (2017)
First appearing on an ad in the London Underground featuring team rider Blondey McCoy, Palace followed up the announcement of their next adidas indoor instalment with a beautifully-designed Instagram post.
Palace x adidas O'Reardon (2017)
Digging a little deeper into the footwear archives of adidas, Palace resurrected the classically 90s O’Reardon. Famously worn by Josh Kalis during the baggy jeans and small wheels era of skateboarding, the fat-striped silhouette was brought back in three different colourways – with the only minimal update being gold foil 'Palace' writing under the stripes.
Palace x adidas Palace Pro 2 Waterproof (2017)
To mark the debut of the Palace Pro 2, both brands synergised and released an aqua technical iteration of their now famous silhouette. Hitting the market in murdered out black and a white/orange colourway, each pair featured an extended mesh upper bootie for extra ankle support, plus a one-piece synthetic waterproof upper with a clear outsole.
Palace x adidas Palace Pro (2017)
Tanju has always been transparent with his intentions, stating that he just wants to make enough money to pay his friends to go out and skate as much as they want without worrying about anything else. With the roster of Palace’s skate team being quite impressive, and consisting of just mates, it’s of absolutely no surprise that the next batch of Palace Pros would be pro models for team riders and London skate icons: Benny Fairfax and Chewy Cannon.
Palace x Reebok Club Workout (2018)
The next 'Bok collab from Palace was a hybrid of the ever-popular Club C and Workout. Dropping in black, white and grey, each pair featured neon accents to stay consistent with Palace’s love for rave culture, as well as ‘Palace’ text printed across the laces.
Palace x adidas Ubersonic 3.0 (2018)
Not boxing themselves in to the confines of streetwear and skateboarding culture, Palace pulled off a never-before-done by releasing a Wimbledon collection. The marketing campaign for the tech-wear collection starred team riders, as well as tennis stars Alexander Zverev and ,Garbiñe Muguruza. Not only did the rebel skateboarding brand find their way onto the courts of the most esteemed grand slam tournament, but Germany’s Angelique Kerber went on to defeat Serena Williams for the championship title while wearing their adidas collaboration.
Palace x adidas Campton (2018)
Announced via a barely visible teaser on the Gram, the next chapter from the match-made-in-heaven was to leave the grass court and return to the grip tape. Choosing the adidas Campton as the canvas of their next venture, the heightened mudguard made the timeless silhouette perfect for some rough-riding.
Palace x Kickers Kick Hi (2018)
Initially introduced in the 1970s, French shoemaker Kickers designed this boot to be specifically paired with jeans. After being worn by music legends Rod Stewart and David Bowie, and having its brief stint of fame, the Kick Hi eventually found itself as the British school children’s shoe of choice. Palace, being the fashion-forward style icons that they are, recognised the returning trend early, and hopped straight on it.
Palace x Polo Ralph Lauren (2018)
In what was quite possibly one the most impressive collaborations, nay, power moves of our time, the Palace boys (who had been wearing this brand for almost 30 years), found themselves in bed with none other than the legendary and iconic Polo Ralph Lauren. In a move that broke the Internet (arguably more than Kim K’s derrière) the two brands launched three massive billboards in Tokyo’s busiest crossing in Shibuya. While the world of streetwear was still in a mix of shock and excitement, Palace dropped a wild west–themed promo video that had fans staring blankly at walls while emotionally prepping themselves for a life-changing W or L. Despite having a natural preference for sneakers on our feet, we appreciate good design when we see it, which means there was absolutely no looking past the Palace Ralph Lauren Formal Slippers. We pay props where props are due.
Palace x Kickers Boat Shoe (2019)
Inspired by the Lennon Boat Shoe, the unlikely duo that is Palace and Kickers teamed up again to bring us a cultural staple in rave culture and indie rock. Available in yellow, orange, and ‘Tonal Black’, each pair featured a ‘Palace’ text badge on the side and went down as small as a UK3 so that everyone could own a piece of cultural history.
Palace x adidas Superstar (2019)
Palace and adidas reunited in 2019 to take on the most-recognisable silhouette from the German footwear heavyweight. The much-loved shell-toed Superstar has been dressed in a skate-ready neon yellow, black and white. Perforated stripes appear on the lateral sides, but the most eye-catching detail is the overlaid logo on the tongue.
Palace x Reebok Pro Workout Low (2019)
Palace rejoined forces with Reebok around the middle of 2019 for what would be the first of a steady stream of releases over the next 12 months or so. Their collaborative take on the Pro Workout Low came in three different colourways: white, bright red, and black/gum. The co-branded endeavour was confirmed throughout the silhouette, with Palace text appearing on the side window, a Tri-Ferg on one of the tongues, and large ‘PALACE’ and ‘LONDON’ text embossed on alternate heels.
Palace x Reebok JK Workout Mid (2019)
Continuing the momentum of the trio of Pro Workout Lows, Palace and Reebok delivered two colourways of the JK Workout Mid just a few months later. With a choice of either black or white, it was an understated duo that was living proof of the ‘less is more’ philosophy. The design was actually a mid-top take on the Classic Leather, while special Palace branding cues hit the tongues, icy outsoles, and the custom insoles.
Palace x Reebok OG Workout Ripple (2019)
The Palace and Reebok love affair continued well into the back end of 2019, when a vibrant trio of OG Workout Ripples dropped just before Christmas. The three mid-high models were released in a choice of blue, red or yellow, and were winter-ready – constructed with smooth leather uppers, the signature ripple outsoles, and intricate suede detailing on the tongue and lace stays.
Palace x adidas Skateboarding Puig Pro (2020)
Lucas Puig celebrated his long-term relationships with both Palace and adidas Skateboarding by combining their joint powers to deliver his third signature sneaker. Noticeably sleeker and more streamlined than his previous models, the ‘Palace Puig’ merged modern tech with old-school sensibilities. Debuting in three initial colourways – black, white and pink – each option was blinged out with heritage gold branding, while the tailored outsole tread kept wearers on the griptape or longer.
Palace x Salomon XA Comp ADV (2020),
In late August 2020, Palace released a tricked-out trio of the Salomon XA Comp ADV. On the surface, a skate brand tapping an outdoors icon known for its trail running tech might have seemed odd, but it was perfect timing as the off-road aesthetic continued to inform the ever-evolving sneaker zeitgeist. The pack included three different colourways, each inspired by iconic skateboarding kicks from the late 1990s. All three pairs came correct in Salomon’s QUICKLACE and SENSIFIT system, as well as the 3D Advanced Chassis. Palace branding slapped the lateral toe, atop super sturdy Contragrip outsoles.
Palace x Reebok Classic Leather Pump (2020)
Palace and Reebok penned yet another chapter in their enduring love story towards the end of 2020 when they delivered an inconspicuous modification to a Vector favourite: the Classic Leather Pump. Moving the iconic Pump mechanism onto the side of the Classic Leather, this colab offered something a little different. Those retrofitted components also forced a change to the mid panel, with the side stripe stopping short of the Pump inflate and deflate buttons, which were branded respectively with Palace’s ‘Tri-Ferg’ and Reebok’s Union Jack logos. The release included two different colourways – white/navy and black/white – and boasted soft leather uppers with spongy nylon tongues.
For more collaborative deep dives, take a look at our jam-packed Features section.
Note: This article was first published in July 2019 and updated in December 2020.