Twinkle Toes: The All-Time Greatest Swarovski Sneaker Colabs
This article was originally published on November 19, 2021.
While Swarovski have been glass masters since 1895, it took over a century for their glistening gems to show up on some of the world’s most popular sneakers. Limited editions featuring Swarovski began appearing in the early 2000s, and these refined rocks remain a popular choice for sneaker customisers. However, in the late 2010s, there was a small but not insignificant uptake in big brands teaming up with Swarovski for rhinestone reworks of their classics. Here are seven of the all-time greatest Swarovski sneakers to ever hit the streets!
Swarovski x PUMA Suede (2018)Swarovski x PUMA Suede (2018)
The 2017–18 period seemed to be the most prolific for Swarovski’s sneaker collaboration output, and these 50th-anniversary PUMA Suedes set a high standard. The namesake material Formstripe was swapped out for a glittery edition that sat beneath the quarter instead of above, taking the classic black Suede build to the next level. And the gold-foil stamping below the eyestay and heel tab was finished in tonal silver.
BAPE XXV Swarovski BAPE STA (2018)BAPE XXV Swarovski BAPE STA (2018)
BAPE celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2018 with the massive ‘BAPE XXV’ collection, featuring dozens of collaborations that included these ridiculously blinding BAPE STAs. As a sneaker that defined the bling era, these celebratory kicks are suitably attired in greatly gaudy Swarovski studs. The 500,000 yen (plus tax!) price tag clearly did not deter the big ballers from scooping them up.
Swarovski x Nike Air Max 97 LX (2017)Swarovski x Nike Air Max 97 LX (2017)
These Nike Air Max 97s are perhaps the best-known Swarovski-encrusted sneakers. The already lustrous ‘Silver Bullet’ OG upper was remade with Swarovski Crystal Fabric to add a brilliant shine from all angles. According to the Swoosh, a women’s size 7 contains approximately 55,690 crystals embedded in the uppers! The following year, Nike and Swarovski revisited the concept with the ‘Metallic Gold’ King Midas PE. And in 2021, the ‘Polar Blue’ iced the AM97 out once more. If you thought the $400 retail was steep, don’t check the resale prices…
adidas Stan Smith Pharrell Williams Custom (2014)adidas Stan Smith Pharrell Williams Custom (2014)
The classic adidas Stan Smith has regularly received a sparkly Swarovski upgrade over the years, but never to the same extent as these customs created for Pharrell Williams. These disco ball dancers are covered in over 1600 crystals of varying sizes, making the perfect present for the musician’s 41st birthday. For everyone else, there are numerous variations of Swarovski Stans and Superstars on the market.
Swarovski x New Balance 574 NB1 (2018)Swarovski x New Balance 574 NB1 (2018)
The 574 has been a staple of New Balance’s US-made NB1 program for years now, and in 2018, they made these custom kicks a little bit more special with Swarovski hardware options for the N logos, heel clips, and dubrae. It was a luxe addition to the stately grey perforated suede swatches available for the heritage runner. These sparkly extras bumped the RRP up to $300.
Swarovski x visvim (2010)Swarovski x visvim (2010)
Back in 2010, Swarovski’s ‘Crystallized Meets 12 Tokyo Brands’ collection tapped labels like Bedwin & The Heartbreakers, Kitsune, and ts(s) to add even more shimmer to their signature pieces. However, it’s visvim that received the most outrageous glow-up. Their moccasin-toed Maliseet ditched its low-key status upon the addition of rows upon rows of crystals across the toe box. But sparkly as they are, they’re rarely seen on the secondary market.
Cactus Plant Flea Market x Nike Dunk Low (2020)Cactus Plant Flea Market x Nike Dunk Low (2020)
There are quite a lot of bespoke details on Cactus Plant Flea Market’s Nike Dunk Low collaboration. The Swoosh is actually a ‘fat-bellied’ variety borrowed from the Blazer, and the lining is a mesh fabric reminiscent of the type used by Nike in the mid-2000s. Even the tongue is padded, a feature not usually found on non-SB Dunks. Of course, all of this sits behind hundreds of Swarovski crystals, which is likely the most striking component here. There’s also a green Friends and Family version that basically only exists on Instagram.
Amazon Echo / Google Home x Reebok Club C (2019)Amazon Echo / Google Home x Reebok Club C (2019)
This is a pair of Swarovski sneaks that money couldn’t buy, at least not upon release. These pink Reebok Club Cs were created for a giveaway to promote Amazon Echo and Google Home smart home speaker systems. Using the voice command ‘open Reebok Sneaker Drop’, entrants verbally input their details for the chance to win one of the 50 pairs created. It seems all are currently in safe homes – not a single pair was available on the secondary market at the time of writing!
Swarovski x Nike Air Force 1 (2021)Swarovski x Nike Air Force 1 (2021)
Swarovski crystals have adorned many Air Force 1s before, but always in an unofficial capacity. That’s ,changing in 2021, with the sparkly stuff crusting an intriguing shroud literally screwed into the Uptown’s upper. The adornment is attached so securely that the shoes come with a screwdriver to undo the hardware! A white-on-white edition was expected, but there’s an all-black option that’s menacingly luxe.
Want more all-time greatest? Check out SF's compilation of the best-ever releases here.