ARTICLE BY Boon Mark Souphanh

The Definitive History of Sneaker Freaker Collaborations

Sneaker Freaker x atmos x ASICS GEL-Lyte III

Started in 2002 as a means to score free kicks, Sneaker Freaker soon established itself as the first and only international sneaker magazine, later evolving into the industry-leading footwear resource and creative hub that you see today. On the surface, we may seem like a bunch of sneaker-obsessed content addicts with encyclopaedic knowledge of all things crep – which we are – but, frankly, our influence goes way beyond that.

Over the years, we’ve built a serious collection of ‘not-so-serious’ creative projects under the Sneaker Freaker brand. Whether it’s the choice of materials and colours, or humour-driven concepts with a larrikin local bent, our aim has always been to challenge the status quo and raise the bar.

Simply put, our collaborative clout can’t be denied, so let’s take a retrospective look back at the partnered projects of years gone by.

Sfx Lacoste Front
Sfx Lacoste Heel

2006: Sneaker Freaker x Lacoste Missouri 85 ‘Minty Fresh’

Back in 2006, it seemed like anyone who was anyone was busy knocking out sneaker colab after colab. Quite frankly, we were desperate to join the club, but we hadn’t the faintest idea how. Enter Lacoste. At the time it was a bold move, Lacoste was nowhere and the Missouri hadn’t been seen since the mid-80s, but we quickly won eyeballs over with this classic combo of black, white and grey suede, leather and mesh, with ultra-vivid mint pops.

Just 24 pairs were given away at a launch party held at the Alife Rivington Club in New York. Shortly afterwards, a few hundred pairs were released globally. The Alife pairs are easily distinguished by the ‘SNKR’ and ‘FRKR’ embroidery on the heels.,

Sf Bearbrick Pair

2007: Sneaker Freaker x Nike x Medicom ‘Bearbrick’

Part of a Nike apparel project called White Label, we created a t-shirt design and cute Bearbrick inspired by ‘Air’. Riffing off the Air Stab logo, 28PSI signifies the pressure that Nike pumps into their sneakers. These sold out before they’d even hit the shops. Super rare.

Puma Sneaker Freaker Shark Grey 1 Side
Puma Sneaker Freaker Shark Black 1 Side

2008: Sneaker Freaker x PUMA Blaze of Glory ‘Great White’ and ‘Black Beast’

PUMA offered us the chance to design the first Blaze of Glory colourways to hit the market. Rejecting a literal approach to our shark theme, we used colour and texture to elaborate on the ‘Great White’ concept. Oceanic neoprene mixed with silver performance mesh and blood-red overlocked stitching held it down up top, while the forefoot was splashed with a gummy shade of pink. Flip the shoe over and a river of blood seemed to emanate from the Trinomic cells, exaggerated further by the judicious insertion of white rubber teeth. If all of that wasn’t enough shock-and-gore, an anodised shark tooth hung like a surfie’s holiday necklace from the top eyelet.

The ‘Great White’ was followed by the ‘Black Beast’, both of which sold out instantly. Both colourways were retro-ed as part of a five-year anniversary recap in 2013.

Puma Blaze Of Glory Shark Skin Pair Shot

2008: Sneaker Freaker x PUMA Blaze of Glory ‘Shark Skin’

After the ‘Great White’ dropped to critical acclaim, flipping the silver to inky black and adding a slash of vivid turquoise was a no-brainer. Just 300 pairs in nubuck were in production when we discovered genuine shark leather was available commercially. Intrigued by the possibility, PUMA was open-minded and determined enough to source the material and give it a go.

Assuming it would be a silky grey colour – and not entirely sure of the texture – we were astounded when the samples arrived and the leather was a deep black. Unfeasibly wrinkly and totally rugged, the shoe looked like it had been carved from the skin of an elephant. Just 30 pairs were made from shark skin, all sent to friends-and-fam. As anyone who has seen them knows, they are simply exquisite. They have since changed hands for upwards of $3K.

Sfx Ai Ai Ai Press3 Earphones

2009: Sneaker Freaker x AIAIAI Earbuds

These minty fresh Sneaker Freaker earbuds were the result of a collaboration with Danish electronics manufacturer AIAIAI. Designed with a touch of speckle and sweet acrylic tube packaging, they came out super nice and sold out instantly. We wish we still had a secret stash of these buds. Music and sneakers, all day long people!

Sfx Nb Skippy Landscape 2
Sfx Nb Skippy Landscape

2009: Sneaker Freaker x New Balance 850 ‘Skippy’

This is still arguably our most inventive and radical Sneaker Freaker colab. The oatmeal phylon midsole against a white rubber sole was the starting point, to which we added a dab of green and wattle gold for Aussie flavour. However, it’s simply impossible to ignore the tanbark toebar on the ‘Skippy’. Yeah, it’s crazier than Mel Gibson on a bender, but it did satisfy our original quest to mixmaster two things together that have no damn right to look good.

The final piece of our parochial puzzle was the use of our national emblem. Commonly used on high-end football boots, kangaroo leather is some of the most supple in the animal kingdom, so the logic is sounder than it first appears.

Sfx Size Geog Teacher 2 Pair
Sfx Size Geog Teacher 4 Heel Tabs

2010: Sneaker Freaker x PUMA R698 ‘Geography Teacher’

This project started as a 10th birthday gift to our friends over at size? in the UK. Utilising the thoroughly under-appreciated and curiously named R698 model, we christened these the ‘Geography Teacher’ on account of their sheer beigeness and scholarly status. Ivory midsoles, ‘tectonic plate’ tongue tags, gum soles, a black toebar for all-weather protection, and mad mauve pops — this was a colourway like no other. Sneaker Freaker logos on the heel webbing, and a super plump tongue, added just enough pizazz.

A matching PUMA bicycle was dressed to the hilt in beige and taupe with vivid mauve pops. The one-off beauty came accessorised with a leather Brooks saddle, fat gum tyres, Trinomic branding and wooden rims.

Alvin Purple White Pair
Alvin Heel Wide
Alvin Purple 3 D Glasses

2010: Sneaker Freaker x ASICS GEL-Lyte III ‘Alvin Purple’

Our ‘Purple Alvin’ GEL-Lyte III arrived at a time when retro runners were on a serious downswing. As the trendoids switched to upmarket offerings and lumberjack accessories, we decided we’d had enough of lo-fi, blando vulcanised sneakers for geriatric grown-ups.

Conventionally furnished in premium suede and silky mesh, the recipe was a simple one, but that’s not to say we didn’t agonise over the ingredients. The classic ASICS stripes were offset by a mysterious colour that was not quite purple, lilac, mauve or even blue for that matter. Throw in crispy white soles, two sets of polka laces, speckled 3M midsoles, reflective tape on the heel, and an ‘R-rated’ badge, and you can see why ‘Alvin Purple’ has a rep for snapping necks from 50 yards.

Sf Bunyip Dps Final Swamp

2012: Sneaker Freaker x PUMA Dallas ‘Bunyip’

The legend of the Bunyip is deeply embedded within the Australian psyche. Survivors of Bunyip raids are rare but describe them as looking ‘like a walrus crossed with a dingo’. Whatever the truth, the original source of the legend is credited to ancient mythology – the antipodean equivalent to the Yeti and Bigfoot.

After some wild ideas and false starts, we totally dismantled PUMA’s Dallas model and radically reconstructed it to our own specs. Firstly, we added a leather midsole, much like a ‘proper’ dress shoe. We also added a crisp crepe rubber sole and topped it all off with premium goat suede. Lined with the softest natural leather in the animal kingdom, the ‘Bunyip’ is an upmarket offering that can be worn year-round, with or without socks.

,Supra Golden Balls Back Pair
Sneaker Freaker Supra Owen Blue Balls Promo Shot

2012: Sneaker Freaker x Supra Skytop III ‘Goldenballs’ and ‘Blue Balls’

Back in 2012, we hit up Berlin for the Bread & Butter trade show and our friends at Supra spoiled us rotten by holding a soirée to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our little boogazine. The ‘friends-and-fam’ party was made even more memorable by the unveiling of our ‘Goldenballs’ Supra Skytop III, 40 pairs of which were given away to anyone lucky enough to have a golden ticket to the event. Prices on these are loco – we’ve seen ‘em fetch in excess of $1000.

Following the ‘Goldenballs’ Skytop III, we felt a teeny bit guilty for making it one of those freaking annoying ‘friends and family’ party releases. With pressure mounting for a rematch, we requested a little relief from the hand of Supra. The end result is our super bouncy ‘Blue Balls’.

This time around we busted a nut on Supra’s Owen runner, combining brains, brawn and beauty into one sweet ballbreaker of a shoe. Suprafoam shock absorption and a diamond mesh upper ensures the ride is limo quality, while the rope-a-dope lacing and speckled concrete midsole punches harder than Kojak’s cojones. Only a few hundred pairs of this 10-year anniversary colab were released into the wild.

Saucony Sneaker Freaker Bushwhacker Side
Sf Bushwhackers 4

2012: Sneaker Freaker x Saucony Grid 9000 ‘Bushwhacker’

Battered with a heavy desert sand and minty green tint, and offset by noir suede and satin black lining, our ‘Bushwhacker’ version of the Saucony Grid 9000 sold out in nano-seconds everywhere from London to LA. With modern diamond mesh, elastic bungee cords for an easy-on-off closure system, and a rubberised tip to protect your toes from the elements, these Sauconys were fit for any off-road abuse you could throw at them.

Integral Sneakerfreaker Onfoot
Integral Sneakerfreaker Side

2013: Sneaker Freaker x adidas Torsion Integral

Our starting point with the Torsion Integral was a black midsole, which can be a brutal foundation, so we splattered it with a fine mist of wintery-white speckle so crisp, it’s criminal. From there it was a simple process of adding layer-upon-layer of luscious mint and cool grey, with a sly hit of Sneaker Freaker red in the Torsion bar. It’s a deceptively simple and supremely balanced combination. The materials are first class. The suede on the tongue and heel is so dark and mysterious it’s like staring into an infinite abyss. The mint nubuck is dynamite, the grey leather is the spark, and the rugged mesh toebox provides the exclamation mark. Bang!

Sf Colab Tassie Devil Pair Side
,Asics Sneaker Freaker 998 Devil Pair

2013: Sneaker Freaker x New Balance 998 ‘Tassie Devil’

As part of our marathon 10-year anniversary celebrations, we joined with NB to produce the ‘Tassie Devil’, a sabre-toothed version of their 998 model. If you don’t like purple, you’ll pass – we’ve got eggplant, violet, mauve, lilac and lavender. There’s even another unnameable shade that looks like three-day-old chewing gum, but it slots perfectly into the mix, delivering total synchronicity.

For a little extra vim and vigour, we added triangular fangs to the forefoot, and they ride proudly within a lovely bone midsole with just a hint of peppery speckle. The Wolverine suede is top-notch, the shape of the toe is oh-so right, and there’s a little extra stuffing in the tongue for mad comfort. We love it!

Summer Bay Lcs Hero

2013: Sneaker Freaker x Le Coq Sportif Flash ‘Summer Bay’

Welcome to Summer Bay, where the sun shines golden all day long and life’s a flaming beach! It’s so perfect, it’s like walking on air! But first, let us introduce you to Le Coq Sportif’s Flash, an early-90s runner with zippy panelling and just the right amount of savoir faire. The colourway was intended as a maverick-OG, and by that, we mean it’s almost legit for the 90s, with a few subtle twists and turns to take it out of the predictable zone. Cornflower blue, dusty pink strobes and banana yellow heels are a harmonious pastel mélange, but it’s the cunning deployment of both white and pale-blue silky mesh that is the off-kilter key here, at least to our deep-fried retinas.

Puma Sneaker Freaker Shark Mint 3 Side
Puma Sneaker Freaker Shark Mint 1 Side
Puma Sneaker Freaker Shark Mint 6

2013: Sneaker Freaker x PUMA Blaze of Glory ‘Sharkbait’

During discussions over the anniversary re-release of the OG Sneaker Freaker x PUMA Blaze of Glory project, talk naturally turned to another Friends and Family release, similar to the ‘Sharkskin’ edition. While it was tempting to go back for a second bite of shark leather, we knew it was time for something new. The result was this turquoise terror we dubbed ‘Sharkbait’.

Hits of treasure-chest gold, mako grey midsoles, and black accents were the perfect endgame for this predatory project. Packaged in an oversize custom box complete with egg-shell foam padding, the shoes also came with a limited edition cover of Sneaker Freaker #29 and a ‘Sharkbait’ beanie. With over 70,000 hopeful punters scrambling into our webshop, these shoes sold out in under 10 seconds.

Asics Sneakerfreaker Kayano Melvin1 Pair
Asics Sneakerfreaker Kayano Melvin2 Side

2014: Sneaker Freaker x ASICS GEL-Kayano ‘Melvin, Son of Alvin’

When our first Sneaker Freaker x ASICS ‘Alvin Purple’ colab launched, it was so raunchy it pulled an ‘R’ rating from the censors. Second time coming, we stepped from the GEL-Lyte III into the killer Kayano Trainer. With its elastic neoprene sock and rubber cage combo, the Kayano Trainer is definitely a spin-off into early-90s territory. At first glance, ‘Melvin’ comes across as a more reserved character than his old man, but there is a flamboyant side to his personality, you just have to enter from the rear to appreciate the view. Up front, there’s sports mesh for ventilation, and the blackest of black suede known to mankind. It’s so velvety smooth, you’d swear it was made from baby squirrel nutskin. The medial side flaunts a 3M glitter-infused charcoal support cage, while the outside flips it sunnyside up.,

Montana Cans Sneaker Freaker Main Shot

2014: Sneaker Freaker x Montana Spray Can

From fat-laced Clydes to Air Max and adidas ZX, the bond between graffiti writers and sneakers is undeniable. When Germany’s premium spray-can commandos Montana Cans contacted us with an idea to join forces, we didn’t think twice. Wrapping the can head-to-toe with Sneaker Freaker logos, the matte finish on Montana’s cans is certifiably slick, while the red nozzle literally caps off the project.

Puma Sf Bloodbath Bog 13 Box
Puma Sf Bloodbath Bog 2 Pair Side
Puma Sf Bloodbath Bog 11 Heel

2015: Sneaker Freaker x PUMA Blaze of Glory ‘Bloodbath’

When our ‘Sharkbait’ colab dropped and melted the internet back in 2013, the aftermath initiated a lively discussion on the Sneaker Freaker Facebook page. One salty comment was particularly memorable. ‘They should do another Blaze in red and call it ‘Bloodbath’, because that’s exactly what happened today!’ Inspired by that epic recollection, we once again teamed up with PUMA to launch the ‘Bloodbath’ Blaze of Glory. Creamy crimson red leather, gum soles, mint highlights and metallic gold PUMA branding were the icing on this aquatic cake. This ‘Bloodbath’, and a capsule apparel collection, was launched at a New York pop-up co-hosted together with Packer Shoes.

Kush Sf 7 Side
Kush Sf 2 Up Close
Kush Sf 1 On Foot

2015: Sneaker Freaker x Saucony Grid SD ‘Kushwhacker’

Hand-rolled from a highly potent grade of purple haze, we layered black-widow suede against the dankest serving of performance mesh, ‘acapulco’ beige formstripes, 3M reflective nugs and a smokey grey suede that licks the heel. All online orders also received a complimentary pair of custom ‘KUSH’ argyle socks as a gift from the folks at Burlington. Like it says on the label, ‘dope socks!’ This ain’t no one-hitter quitter!

Sf G Shock Nightowl 4 Face
Sf G Shock Nightowl 8 Box
Sf G Shock Nightowl 5 Strap

2015: Sneaker Freaker x G-SHOCK DW-6900SF-1D ‘NIGHTOWL’

Utilising Casio’s legendary DW-6900 time-teller, we ventured into the darkness to bring the ‘NIGHTOWL’ concept to life. The bezel is murdered-out in matte black, with crispy white branding up-front and mint highlights adding our trademark PMS punch to the ensemble. We also laced the straps with a sprinkling of speckle for extra Freaker flavour. Hit the ‘G’ button and you’ll peep the custom backlight which reveals our corporate motto, ‘Keep Your Laces Loose!’ Caged inside this glossy box, our nocturnal predator sits pretty inside, the watch gripped firmly in its talons. The ‘NIGHTOWL’ packaging and marketing we produced for this colab was immensely successful, ensuring the watch sold out in less than 10 minutes!

Lacoste Sf Blue 1 Pair Side
Lacoste Sf Golden 1 Pair Side

2015: Sneaker Freaker x Lacoste Missouri ‘Smart Casual’

Close to a decade since our first-ever collaboration, we once again colluded with Lacoste to refresh the Missouri. This time we asked some friends to join the party. Thanks to Fott in Russia, 24 Kilates in Spain and Overkill in Germany, each creative interpretation of the Missouri offers something delightful and unexpected. For our own Sneaker Freaker colourway, we raided Lacoste's top shelf for materials, lacing the Missouri in the world's classiest nubuck hide. Shades of cornflower blue and cool grey wrap the upper, while pink pops and a shimmery satin lining add a dash of pizzazz.

For an uber-limited drop for reserved SF royalty, we dressed a F&F rendition with a golden hue on the heels.

Sf Nb Tassie Tiger Press 4 Side
Sf Nb Tassie Tiger Press 5 Box Black
Sf Nb Tassie Tiger Press 6 Box

2016: Sneaker Freaker x New Balance 997.5 ‘Tassie Tiger’

Three long winters after the ‘Tassie Devil’ NB998 was released into the wild, we thought it was about time another fine specimen was added to the colab portfolio. The ‘Tassie Tiger’ 997.5 is carved from a unique shade of ‘terracotta’ suede, which has been boldly embellished with salt and pepper speckle, apricot pops, 3M charcoal stripes, and the blackest suede in the animal kingdom. Triangular forefoot fangs add carnivorous bite, while padded tongues are an elegant enhancement to the new model.

Stepping up our packaging game, the global release arrived in a two-piece black box with a heavy-duty UV gloss. And just to keep things really interesting, a wild technicolour ‘Friends and Family’ version of the packaging was available exclusively from Sneaker Freaker.

,Sf Diadora Taipan Hi3 Pair Side
Sf Taipan Blog Feature Onfoot
Sf Diadora Taipan Hi10 Insoles

2016: Sneaker Freaker x Diadora V7000 ‘Taipan’

On the eve of our 15th anniversary celebrations, we partnered with Diadora for the first time to produce this highly venomous ‘Taipan’ V7000 runner. Adding yet another dangerous specimen to the Sneaker Freaker trophy room, the ‘Taipan’ was assembled from a sophisticated blend of sandy suedes, outback olive nubuck, 3M heel bites, and venomous violet highlights. The midsoles were boldly blazed with a gradient midfoot fade, while desert speckle and debossed ‘snakeskin’ panels added some extra reptile flair.

All F&F Taipans available from Sneaker Freaker were exclusively wrapped in unique luminescent 3M ‘snake’ laces made by LaceSpace.

Pinq Ponq Sneakerfreaker Bags
Pinq Ponq Sneakerfreaker Cubik Concrete
Pinq Ponq Sneakerfreaker Inside Print

2017: Sneaker Freaker x pinqponq

Sneakers and rucksacks are essential items in our daily life. Fusing our love of both, we linked up with German brand pinqponq to produce this triple pack of portage paraphernalia. Covering the full spectrum of haulage, the Cubik backpack is built for daily dispatches, the Karavan duffle makes for quick getaways, and the Brik shoulder-strap specialises in high-speed missions. We’ve sewn our soles into each stitch of these bags.

Cloaked in a burly black tech-fabric that is made from 100 per cent recycled-plastic bottles, pinqponq’s bags aren’t just ultra-modern and sleekly designed – they’re also tough as hell and environmentally friendly!

Nb574 Sf Box Above Open
,Nb574 Sf Box Side With Shoe
Nb574 Sf Box Open Innersolesjpg

2018: Sneaker Freaker x New Balance 574 ‘Tassie Devil’

In 2018, New Balance resurrected four classic colab colourways to celebrate 30 years of the 574, and our very own Tassie tribute has led the charge. The reworked ‘Tassie Devil’ meticulously transplanted the original 998 colourway onto the 574, cloaking in suede with a hit of mesh at the rear as a throwback to the OG. The new Devil snarled with a toothy midsole grin, while a smattering of speckles snuck onto the heel to add the finishing touch. We even snuck in some reflective material under the perforated toebox for extra pop.

Purple beater eaters were certainly pleased to see all the original shades in check – the ‘Tassie Devil’ 574 sold out pretty much instantly.

Redback Gshock Sneakerfreaker 1 Face
Redback Gshock Sneakerfreaker 9 Box
Redback Gshock Sneakerfreaker 14Box And Pin

2018: Sneaker Freaker x G-SHOCK DW-5700 ‘Redback’

Sneaker Freaker reunited with Casio to resurrect an uber-rare slice of G-SHOCK history for our second watch collaboration: the DW-5700 ‘Redback’. Inspired by the small – but highly deadly – antipodean arachnid known as the Redback Spider, we came up with the perfect opportunity to revive the ‘vampire’ display. The metallic blood-red backing was last seen on just a handful of watches in 2003 for the watch brand’s 20th anniversary, and was previously never used in a colab until the ‘Redback’ crawled onto the scene.

Every ‘Redback’ purchased through the Sneaker Freaker webshop came with custom coffin packaging, complete with limited-edition ‘Redback’ pin and exclusive matching STANCE Ventron foot covers.

Asics Gel Tiger Snake Sneaker Freaker Three Quarter Angle Shot
Sneaker Freaker Tiger Snake Asics Gel Lyte Iii Best Ever Feature

2019: Sneaker Freaker x ASICS GEL-Lyte III ‘Tiger Snake’

Christened the GEL-Tiger Snake, this venomous varmint was a nod to our native antipodean fauna and ASICS’ historical origins as the Onitsuka Tiger company. Aggressive, deadly, and badass to the bone, the tiger snake has a fearsome reputation as a predator. With its luxurious sandy belly and stripey black upper, the snake’s natural camouflage is perfect for hiding in plain sight.

Buttery beige cowhide provided next-level opulence on this GEL-Lyte III, while micro-perf toe panels and suede stripes added subtle sprinkles of texture. On the medial side, poppin’ pink reflective 3M added a dazzling counterpoint to a blacked-out midsole laced with neurotoxic splatter. Solid gold text across the nubuck heel delivered a touch of class among the mayhem. This GEL-Tiger Snake had serious fangs!

Neurotoxic Fnf Gel Tigersnake5
Neurotoxic Fnf Gel Tigersnake3
Neurotoxic Fnf Gel Tigersnake10

2019: Sneaker Freaker x ASICS GEL-Lyte III ‘Neurotoxic’

Following the release of the Sneaker Freaker x ASICS ‘GEL-Tiger Snake’, this ‘Neurotoxic’ F&F update ramped up the psyched-out vibes to the max.

On the medial side, reflective 3M added a dazzling counterpoint to murdered-out midsoles laced with ‘neurotoxic’ splatter. Solid gold logos on the heel added a touch of class among the mayhem.

Custom packaging with illustrations from Alexander Heir (Death Traitors) also housed the updated Neurotoxic edition. Screen-printed by hand using ‘slime green’ ink infused with tiger snake venom, the bugged-out box was just as deadly as the GEL-Tiger Snake.

We're always chipping away at new projects, so stay tuned for more next-level collaborative drops in the future.

Sneaker Freaker x atmos x ASICS GEL-Lyte III Alley Cats
Sneaker Freaker x atmos x ASICS GEL-Lyte III Alley Cats
Sneaker Freaker x atmos x ASICS GEL-Lyte III Alley Cats

2022: Sneaker Freaker x atmos x ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Alley Cats'

We brought on Japanese retailer atmos for our collaborative comeback on another ASICS GEL-Lyte III. The 'Alley Cats' were designed to stalk the backstreets of Melbourne and Tokyo – and everywhere in between. Killer features including speckled soles and glow-in-the-dark elements are respective signature features.

We let atmos go to town with some of the material selections, opting for tactile elements like hairy cowhide, while grey perforated suede and purple satin echo classic SF sneakers. Of course, the GFL3's split tongue and rubber mesh overlays are uniquely ASICS design cues. And the final personalised touch is left to the wearer: murky purple laces or toxic spill green strings!

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