The Best Sneaker-Adjacent Accessories of All Time
Spike Lee’s fictional Mars Blackmon character once proclaimed, ‘Money, it’s gotta be the shoes!’ But what if it was more than just sneakers? As it turns out, most athletic footwear brands – turned cultural juggernauts – have diversified their offerings with all sorts of sneaker-adjacent bric-a-brac, merch and memorabilia. Some are simply generic items with logos slapped on, while others completely reinterpret the sneaker form as semi-practical worldly objects. These are the best out there.
New Balance Shoezie (2021)
This is the item that actually inspired the compilation of this list. New Balance teamed up with Miller Lite to design a functional beer cosy modelled after the OG Dad Shoe, aka the 624. Built on a sturdy rubber and foam base, leather and mesh uppers wrap the can, protecting it from the firm grip of a father’s hand. The only daddy issue affecting ‘Shoezie’ is that just 50 units were publicly available – and most had to just pop down to the gas station...
Side note: the Sneaker Freaker x NB 998 ‘Tassie Devil’ stubbie holder is also pretty hard to come by.
Sneaker Freaker x size? x PUMA ‘Geography Teacher’ Bicycle (2011)
Before the sneakersphere coined the term ‘Dad Shoe’, there was the ‘Geography Teacher’. A vintage sneaker collector named Kerso first used the term in reference 80s beige trainers befitting of the scholarly occupation. Thus, ‘Geography Teacher’ not only became part of the SF lingo, it formed the basis for a PUMA R698 collaboration with size? on board, plus PUMA added a complementary custom bicycle into the mix! Design company Biomega have helped the leaping cat brand with other two-wheeled creations too.
+41 x Blondel x Nike Air Force 1 Chocolate (2007)
+41 were a Swiss design agency responsible for some of the best AM1 colourways in the early 2000s. And Switzerland also happens to be the home of chocolate (sorry, Belgium). So, +41 teamed up with veteran local chocolatiers Blondel to create miniature and completely edible Nike Air Force 1s to celebrate the silhouette’s 25th anniversary. The detailing was exquisite, down to the stitches and perforations. They later produced a three-pack of classic Nike models but most, if not all, were consumed. Check out their classic SF interview here.
Sports Illustrated Sneaker Phone (1990s)
Move over Maxwell Smart – Sports Illustrated have the Sneaker Phone. In the early 1990s, the popular periodical ran a promotion for prospective subscribers by including a fully functioning sneaker-shaped phone. According to Wikipedia, the Kinetic Marketing Inc. company produced this sort of thing for publications back in the day. Watch the video above to see it fool customers who definitely aren’t paid actors with a case of the giggles. Also check out what sat on sport store shelves circa 1990!
LEGO x adidas Originals Superstar Set (2021)
Stepping on LEGO is painful. Just ask any dad. However, the collaboration between adidas and the iconic toy brick company has produced plenty of footwear options worth stepping into, notably the ZX 8000 and UltraBOOST decorated with eye-catching coloured blocks. Nevertheless, the best part of the partnership has to this adidas Superstar – the only ‘sneaker’ in the lineup that boasts a construction made entirely out of LEGO blocks. And, yes, you can actually wear ‘em!
Nike SB x Medicom [email protected] 1000% and 400% (2007)
From one set of bricks to another. Medicom and Nike SB have a storied history together, first collaborating all the way back in 2002. A precursor to their most recent project, a collaborative Nike SB Zoom Dunk Low Elite dropped in 2007 and, naturally, the iconic toymakers had to finesse a set of [email protected] to complement to the drop. Arriving in 1000% and 400% sizes, the set features a playful lace and toe box design on the bear’s torso, as well as a matching black colour scheme.
Spalding x Nike Basketballs (2021)
We’re sure many of you wouldn’t be game enough to un-DS these on the blacktop! Nike have tapped famed basketball manufacturer Spalding on numerous occasions to support their sneaker drops and, unsurprisingly, many of them have become hot commodities on the secondary market. While there’s too many to list, our personal favourite has to be the UNDEFEATED ‘Hall of Fame’ ball to support the latest Kobe 5 Protro release. Another honourable mention goes out to Yoon Ahn’s AMBUSH for their classic take on a collaborative rock.
BSTN x Ducati 916 ‘Concord’ (2018)
German retailer BSTN are known for their mind-blowing product activations, and they went high-octane for the most recent return of the Air Jordan 11 ‘Concord’. Building on Michael Jordan’s well-documented passion for motorcycles, they teamed up with Jordan Brand and Germany’s leading customisation workshop IMPULS to create the BSTN Ducati 916 ‘Concord’.
All parts of the Ducati 916 were tailored or recreated using 3D-printing technology to fit the ‘Concord’ design concept.
They didn’t stop there either, finessing a complementary short movie. Check it out below!