The Pop Star Sneaker Collaborations That Were Smash Hits
In many ways, she has redefined pop music as we know it, but Billie Eilish’s upcoming collaboration with Jordan Brand hasn’t quite garnered the same critical acclaim. The electric green Jays could be the most high-profile sneaker collaboration from a pop music star we’ll see in 2021, but the reception, much like her dulcet vocals, has been somewhat muted.
Now, Billie ain’t the only ‘bad guy’ when it comes to sneaker collaborations from the top of the pops (don’t even get us started on Post Malone’s Crocs), but we’re not here to harp on the flops. It's not just rappers delivering fire collaborations – there’s been some absolute smash hit sneakers from pop stars over the years, as well as some one-kick wonders. Here are our favourites!
Tinker Hatfield x Air Jordan 3 ‘JTH’
In 2018, Justin Timberlake got us lovestoned with his never-before-seen Tinker Hatfield x Air Jordan 3 ‘JTH’. Initially, many thought the pair would be a one-of-one, but Nike had other plans. The colourway released unexpectedly on SNKRS in quickstrike fashion, just as JT’s performance at the Superbowl Halftime Show came to the end.
Unfortunately, the pair would only receive a few more limited releases at exclusive events. So, if you were lucky enough to snag a pair, you’ve got a bona fide big-game Grail in your collection.
Beyonce x IVY PARK x adidas Super Sleek 72
Highlighted with bright orange peeking through the transparent platform outsole, the collaboration also delivers an innovative lacing system, which wraps around the rear and allows the wearer to clip the shoes to a gym bag. Pretty bootylicious if you ask us!
PUMA XO Parallel
Perhaps coming a few seasons too early, the Weeknd’s PUMA x XO Parallel is an understated yet utilitarian example of a stylish sneaker boot. Nevertheless, they still sold out in quick time when they dropped.
Releasing in 2017, the ‘Olive Green’ colourway was undeniably the best of the bunch, making use of militaristic green tones and a luxurious Italian nubuck leather upper. It may look modest, but underneath the smooth rubber midsole is an IGNITE cushioned outsole for some added comfort.
J Balvin x Air Jordan 1
Shakira and Jennifer Lopez may have stole the show at the Super Bowl in 2020, but reggaeton royalty J Balvin managed to deliver his own memorable sneaker highlight. After teasing his own Air Jordan 1 collaboration ahead of his halftime show guest appearance, the he ended up wearing ‘em on stage.
As one of the most eye-catching AJ1 colourways ever released, the sneaker was an instant sell-out. The only bummer was that we had to wait nearly a year for pairs to eventually release.
Michael Jackson x L.A. Gear
Founded in 1983, L.A. Gear were one of the biggest brands in the sneaker game for a period of time. With athletes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, and even Wayne Gretzky on their roster, the brand also broadened their appeal by endorsing stars of the music world, including Belinda Carlisle, Paula Abdul, and MJ – the other one.
Michael Jackson’s L.A. Gear sneakers may not be the ‘best’ we’ve seen – in fact, they actually flopped – but they deserve a place on this list for their notoriety alone. It’s the least we’d expect from the King of Pop.
L.A. Gear’s endorsement deal with Jackson was one of most lucrative in history at the time, with the brand looking to compete with Nike and the other famed MJ. Debuting the Billie Jean sneaker in 1990 in a fame TV ad (see above), L.A. Gear moonwalked in the wrong direction with the release, decking it out in biker-style studs and buckles – not exactly what kids of the era were looking for.
This feature was originally published on June 22, 2021.