Talking Shop: A History of Patta Collaborations
‘Out of love and necessity, rather than profit and novelty.’
These are the words and motto of one of the most recognised and influential style boutiques in the world.
Patta (which directly translates to ‘shoe’ in the two founders’ native language of Surinamese) was opened in 2004 by Edson Sabajo and Guillaume ‘Gee’ Schmidt. During the humble beginnings of the nascent sneaker giant’s rise to hall-of-fame status, the two friends would roam around the world buying pairs from all over the globe, either sending full-size runs home in massive boxes or stuffing them inside their duffel bags. After two years of operations, together with Nike, they brought us the Air Max 90 ‘Homegrown’ and then the history-making 2007 ASICS GEL-Lyte III, which paved the way for the massively revered ASICS collaboration movement.
From their very first collaboration, Patta have played a massive part in the development of ‘hype’ in sneaker culture. Their focus on design motifs and attitude towards collaborative work is second to none. Add that to Patta’s in-depth understanding of street culture, and you have a force to be reckoned with. As stated by Gee in an interview with The Daily Street, ‘You have to understand the history and the DNA of another brand, and then you have to understand your own DNA and history and what you’re gonna bring to the table, and those two things have to blend together.’ This provides a clear insight into why their drops have buyers paying big bucks on the resell market.
Since the first box of personally-curated sneakers travelled from the other side of the world to reach their shelves in 2004, Patta have released over 50 collaborations. We’ve shortlisted those to compile a few of our favourites and placed them in chronological order – from their very first Air Max 90, all the way to this year’s highly anticipated Air Max Plus.
Patta x Air Max ‘Homegrown’ (2006),
A clear nod to their home country’s popular recreational drug culture, the Nike Air Max 90 ‘Homegrown’ is one of the most sought-after Air Maxes in the world. Currently fetching over $1000 on the resell market, owning a pair of these is a guaranteed ‘props’ from those who know.
The initial release of this ‘420’ friendly Air Max was scheduled to coincide with the launch of popular online Dutch Magazine ‘Homegrown/State Magazine’ and was accompanied by quite a suggestive marketing video.
Patta x Asics GEL-Lyte III (2007)
Easily one of the most recognisable ASICS collaborations of all time, this GEL-Lyte III played a much larger part than even its creators could have foreseen. After its mid-2000s relaunch, Patta was graced with the opportunity to put its own spin on what would soon become a must-have silhouette for sneakerheads all over the world. On top of its strong colour design and premium materials, the pair was packaged in a backpack rather than a box and paired with an item of clothing (raincoat, varsity jacket or t-shirt) which drove its value through the roof.
Patta x Nike Air Max 1 ‘5th’ Anniversary (2009)
For the company’s fifth anniversary, Patta graced the sneaker-world with a slew of Air Max 1s. After Dutch designer ‘Parra’ released the ‘Amsterdam’, it was hard to see anyone even coming close to matching his efforts – until the release of these that is. The ‘Purple Denim’, ‘Denim’, ‘Lucky Green’, and ‘Chlorophyll’ sit in history as perhaps some of the best Air Max 1s to ever hit the shelves.
Patta x Keep Benten Boat shoe and Shaheen (2009)
Keeping on with the anniversary celebrations, the team paired up with LA-based brand ‘Keep’ to bring us one of their lesser-known collaborations in the form of a Benten Boat shoe and Shaheen mid-cut boot. Though the styles were simple, the iconic Patta lettering on the tongue brought the hype.
Patta x ASICS GEL-Saga (2011)
After the GEL-Saga was reintroduced in 2011, Patta continued their ASICS legacy by choosing the re-release to don their next collaborative makeup. This one featured a combination of premium materials and spare laces with triple x’s, which paid homage to the coat of arms of Amsterdam. With its release being limited to 400 pairs, supply and demand had the masses clamouring to cop.
Patta x KangaROOS PxK Hiking Collection (2011)
This drop saw the first of many releases in collaboration with sneaker brand KangaROOS. What would continue to be a longstanding relationship between the two companies would begin with the PxK Hiking collection which featured Cordura nylon fabrics and a premium leather makeup readying them for winter.
Patta x Reebok Workout 25th Anniversary (2012)
When the Workout Lo reached the ripe old age of 25, the ’Bok held nothing back in celebrating its longevity. In total, 15 variations of the exercise-inspired model were introduced to the world, with the hare-inspired design from Patta being one of them. Embodying the quick and nimble nature of the Genus-Lepus, the silhouette was covered in fur with green terry towel lining and detailing to break up the vast amount of grey.
Patta x Kangaroos Tennis Oxford (2012)
After their success with the brand’s hiking range, Patta turned their attention toward a more low-key silhouette. Choosing the Tennis Oxford, three pairs were dressed up in classic staple colourways with the signature side pocket and KangaROOS x Patta branding on the tongue.
Patta x KangaROOS Slantback (2013)
After what had already proven to be a fruitful relationship between the two brands, in 2013, Patta pulled a 1988 revival in the form of the KangaROO’s Slantback. Winter weather was ready to be stomped away in these nature-proof boots, and, of course, the side pocket made an appearance.
Patta x Diadora N9000 (2014)
In 2014 we were blessed with not one, not two, but three releases from what can only be described as a match made in heaven. Having gone the way of quality, all releases from the sneaker veterans were made from premium materials right in Diadora’s home country of Italy. The second pair of the pack sported AC Milan jersey colours and featured an embroidered 9 on its heel to represent the number worn by all three of the team’s strikers. The final pair in the pack proudly wore the green, white and red of its nation’s flag. Sadly, all three releases were only sold in Patta stores, making them nothing more than a Ferrari dream for the rest of the world.
Patta x BEAMS x Vans Old Skool ‘Mean Eyed Cat’ (2015)
After teaming up with Japanese brand BEAMS, this feisty feline sank its claws into the sneaker world in the form of a Vans Old Skool. Appropriately named the ‘Mean Eyed Cat’ (a homage to a Johnny Cash song about heartbreak), this pair was set to leave lovers loveless after receiving a very limited release.
Patta x Diadora IC4000 09:79 (2016)
In the lead-up to the Rio Olympics, Diadora went for gold by dropping a stellar lineup of IC4000s with seven big-name collaborators from around the world. The name of the pack, ‘SEOULTORIO’, referenced the 1988 Seoul Olympics where Diadora-sponsored sprinter Ben Johnson beat the 100m sprint record in 9.79 seconds – only to have it torn away from him later when he tested positive for anabolic steroids.
Patta x ASICS GEL-Respector (2016)
After a long seven-year break, ASICS and Patta were reunited to bring us some sure-fire flames. The GEL-Respector was picked as the canvas, and the result was something reminiscent of Japanese comic book art. Using an anime- and manga-inspired colour palette, the world of Japanese cartoons was presented in a sneaker to succeed all expectations from the dynamic duo.
Patta x Diadora S8000 ‘Pagoda Blue’ (2017)
Still flying high from their previous successes, sneaker royalty from Venice and Amsterdam re-united to deliver a style as buttery as their relationship. This time, choosing the lesser-known S8000 as their base, the end product consisted of blends of blue suede, fuchsia, and honey mustard leather – released with an equally-enticing Italian-made tracksuit.
Patta x ASICS GEL-Mai, GEL-Lyte III and GEL-Lyte OG (2017)
Marking 10 years since Patta broke ground with their first ASICS collaboration, Amsterdam and Japan were destined to meet once again to deliver what was bound to be a collection to remember. The sneaker gods must have been shining a light down on collectors that year, as three iconic silhouettes came out of the works dressed in full Patta gear. Following the immense success of the first release, a GEL-Lyte III dropped, accompanied by the GEL-Mai and the GEL sneaker that started it all: the GEL-Lyte OG.
Patta x Nike Air Max 95/90 (2018)
Combining technical and classical, sporty but casual, Patta dropped a bold and new hybrid shortly after the release of their Air Span II. Combining the upper of an Air Max 90 with the tooling of the Air Max 95 (and vice versa), the Dutch giants gave fans the opportunity to customise and personalise their pair with a plethora of colour options on the website.
Patta x Nike Air Span 2 (2018)
2018 saw the revival of the Nike Air Span 2, a somewhat obscure and underappreciated mid-range runner from the early 1990s. Patta heralded its return with an F&F edition of the OG ‘Coral’ colourway and added different mesh and their signature mini Swoosh, but mortals were treated to a brown and burgundy version.
Patta x Clarks Desert Trek (2019)
Clarks got the Patta call-up next, adding patent leather to two tonal takes on the connoisseur crepe choice: the split-seamed Desert Trek. Given what both pairs go for now in the secondary market, many will wish they copped when they had the chance.
Patta x Air Jordan 7 ‘Icicle’ (2019)
Patta worked their magic once again, delivering a clean and balanced colourway on the already classic AJ7. The flawless combination of brown, tan and red has been executed with Patta’s quality design detail, with the signature scripture logo being printed across the midsole.
Patta x Vans Old Skool and Sk8-Hi (2019)
2019 marked another Patta x Vans effort, this time with a duo of Old Skools and Sk8-His that communicated ‘Love For All’. The nubuck and ripstop kicks first dropped at a pop-up in NYC before a wider release.
Patta x Mizuno Sky Medal (2020)
Patta reprised their collaborative relationship with Mizuno on the revived Sky Medal retro runner, adding a premium leather touch to a street-friendly black and tan colourway. Smaller brands definitely remained a focus for Patta.
Patta x New Balance 920 (2020)
To help launch their latest 920 model, New Balance tapped Patta for an exclusive collaboration. Despite largely overlapping audiences and common interests, this was actually the first official colab between the two brands! Learn more about the partnership in our exclusive interview here.
Patta x Vans Chukka and Style 36 (2020)
Patta dubbed this Vans colab ‘Out In The Streets’, celebrating reggae and dub culture via the Chukka and Style 36. Suede, rasta colours and massive Patta logos would go on to inform this inspired pack.
Patta x Reebok Club C (2020)
Patta capped off a strong year with this Reebok Club C, available exclusively from their brick-and-mortar locations. With simple additions to the core white Club C, a keen eye will spot Pan-African details and Patta branding in alternative fonts.
Patta x Vans Old Skool and Sk8-Hi (2021)
‘The Meaned Eye Cat’ returned again in 2021 for Patta’s latest Vans collaboration. It wasn’t just the Old Skool that came back this time either; the Sk8-Hi joined the multicoloured fray, making for a total of seven colourways in this drop.
Patta x New Balance 991 (2021)
Patta had first dibs on a New Balance 991 collaboration for the runner’s 20th anniversary. Like any flagship Made In UK model, this 991 was made using some of the finest materials in the sneaker game, and the pastel colourway was meant to be seen. Furthermore, Patta made sure this colab was available in both women’s and men’s sizing.
Patta x Air Max 1 ‘The Wave’ (2021 and 2022)
Patta got back on ‘The Wave’ after over a decade since the last time they worked on the Nike Air Max 1. The team again brought a unique touch to the iconic sneaker, adding a wavy edge to the mudguard and reprising the mini Swoosh that branded their last effort. Six different editions were released throughout 2021 and 2022.
Patta x New Balance 990v3 (2022)
Patta associate Tim Sabajo (brother of Patta co-founder Edson) revealed an upcoming New Balance 990v3 collaboration that is due to drop in the final months of 2022.
Patta x Nike Air Max Plus 'FC Barcelona' (2023)
Patta and Nike are back at it again! A fresh take on the Air Max Plus was recently revealed in partnership with FC Barcelona. Inspired by the football team's colours, the uppers boast 'Rush Fuchsia' and 'Deep Royal Blue' tones. Each side boasts double Swooshes, the laces have a Barcelona dubrae, and the tongues are Patta branded.
Stay locked for the 2023 release.