Top 5 Sneaker Collaborations of 2015
First, let us start off by saying narrowing down the Top 5 Sneakers Collaborations of 2015 was extremely difficult. EXTREMELY! Do you know how many effin' collabs dropped this year? Please don't wreck your brain trying to answer that.
We didn't shy away from the challenge though.
After a few "Your taste level is wack!" and "Are you kidding me?" and "Those were pure hype and garbage." - we finally agreed on the best of the best.
Be mindful before reading this list that our criteria was based on:
- The collaborator creating something the brand would never design
- Quality and Presentation
As always, please voice your opinion in the comments section by letting us know if you agree or disagree. Also, let us know which collabs you think should have made the list. Enjoy!
Top 5 Sneaker Collaborations of 2015
5. Disney x Vans "Young At Heart" Collection
G-Roc: When you start a sneaker blog in 2006, you're going to establish some great relationships with brands, designers, retailers, etc. Whether you ask for it or not, you're going to have access to inside information and see tons of sneakers dumb early. Sometimes you can share the info and sometimes you have to keep a tight lip. I'm not saying this is a bad thing at all. But after almost 10 years of writing about kicks, it's not often you get excited about a pair sneakers. You have to be really, REALLY impressed.
I can count on one hand the number of times I went to the store on the day of a release to purchase a pair of shoes. The Disney x Vans collection had me at hello, and I woke up the morning this collection dropped and headed to the Lenox Mall Vans store to cop. To be more specific, I really fell in love with Mickey & Friends Era. Yoga Flame! The design included some of everyone's favorite Disney characters, but not in a cheesy way. Sometimes brands get lazy with collabs like this, but Vans knocked it out of the park with the shoes and apparel. It's just hard to hate on this collection.
Ray: Collaborations are created to make a connection with the people. Disney really captured the essence of feeling Young at Heart. This collab that was bigger than just sneakers. It brought back childhood memories even made the youngin's excited to share the moment with parents. You didn't have to be a sneakerhead to understand the concept. It wasn't just one sneaker that Disney x Vans did a great job on, it was the entire collection of footwear.
An incredible collab priced between $37 - $75? That's amazing in 2015.
4. Raekwon x Diadora N.9000 "Purple Tape"
Ray: One of the most surprising collabs of 2015 turned out to be really amazing. Most rappers celebrate a 20th anniversary of an album with a tour, but the Chef one up'd everybody. He's one of the few OG sneakerheads in Hip Hop, so this was so true to what a collaboration really is. Raekwon's Purple Tape is legendary. He actually was spitting rhymes about Diadoras back in the day.
Along with Packer Shoes, Raekwon did an exclusive release at S.O.B's in NYC and gave out a limited run of the Purple Tape as a package with the sneakers. From the sneakers to the event, this collab was pure DOPE.
G-Roc: Wait, you actually want to spend your hard earned money on a pair of Diadoras? Get out of the city! That's when you know a collaboration is done right when people who never looked twice at a brand are itching to cash out on pair. That said, Raekwon The Chef, Diadora and Packer Shoes did exactly that.
You know that friend that says stuff like, "I mean, I'd cop if these were Nike or Jordan." We all have that friend or know someone like that. If a shoe is fresh, it's fresh! Unless you have an endorsement deal with a brand, you should buy whatever you like - regardless of the brand.
You know it's real when you start getting text messages from people you haven't seen since kindergarten asking if you can help them cop. Ha!
As for the inspiration, it was perfect! Raekwon's Only Built For Cuban Linx celebrated its 20th Anniversary this year. They completely snapped on attention to detail: 1995 stitching, branding flip of the Parental Advisory Explicit Content logo on the tongue, "1" & "2" on the heel, and the track list on the insoles. CRAZY! The shoe was released at the legendary SOBs in New York.
Man listen. This was hands down one of the best collabs of 2015. EASY!
3. Epitome x Saucony Shadow 5000 "Righteous One"
Ray: Execution on this shoe was incredible. Not only did it look great, but it accurately represents a huge breathtaking landmark located in front of the Fish Market in Atlanta. People bought this shoe to actually WEAR.
Crazy surprising to hear people buy sneakers to wear these days right? lol. That kind of impact is rare in sneakers today.
Epitome made people thirsty over a pair of Sauconys. They deserve Top 5 mention just off that. Real talk.
G-Roc: I know what you're thinking, "G, y'all just put these on here because you're from Atlanta." Nope. So not accurate. If these were poorly designed, they would have never made this list. Epitome took inspiration from Atlanta Fish Market's giant fish which is located directly across the street from their shop.
The restaurant is a true staple in the A-Town for A1 seafood dining. To be fair, we've seen this colorway used 50 11 times (shouts to Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz), but somehow Epitome successfully pulled it off. The attention to detail was insane from the shoe to the box/packaging. The shoes were individually wrapped like when you buy fresh fish from a grocery store or market.
They really put thought into this collab by creating a pin set and hosting an Atlanta tastemaker dinner at the restaurant. The only thing I don't recall was an apparel collection. People are often drawn to a collaborative project because of hype and limited quantities, but to keep it 100 - most people (even in ATL, smh) had never heard of Epitome until this shoe was unveiled. This shoe put the shop on the worldwide map, and people actually WEAR this collab. I'm so long-winded, so I'll end with this: when is the last time people were this thirst for a pair of Sauconys?
2. Just Don x Air Jordan 2
Ray: Don C executed the inspiration of the Blue Chanel bag perfectly on this sneaker. The quality in-hand is amazing. The packaging is spectacular and looks better than any Pinnacle release Jordan Brand tried to feed us in 2015. Even the apparel associated with the shoes was crazy.
This is the most luxurious Air Jordan 2 since it was made in Italy. Don C did his thing.
G-Roc: It's a blue Air Jordan 2. I know. But this collab proves that you can absolutely kill your design with the correct materials and presentation. Have you ever fondled a pair? Just like the original Air Jordan 2, the Just Don 2 was manufactured in Italy. The design was inspired buy women's Chanel lambskin bag, so you basically get a pair of high end Jordans without having to pay $600 to a stack for other designer brands. I know Jordan Brand isn't a designer brand, but Don C was able to take a silhouette most people slept on for years and turn it into a fine piece of wearable art.
1. Pharrell x adidas Superstar Supercolor Collection
G-Roc: Surprise! Surprise! I know you were not expecting to see this collaboration at the number 1 spot. However, when you look at the impact, message, simplicity, and variety - it's hard to argue that this isn't the best collaboration of 2015. Sure, this collab didn't cause any riots, demand high resale prices, or have an intricate design, but that's also the beauty in it. Pharrell made a color for EVERYONE allowing you to pick your own fresh and express your individuality. I'm going to stop here because Ray's explanation nails it!
Ray: This collab deserves more than just a blurb. I actually wrote an entire piece about how Pharrell x adidas Supercolor was the best collaboration in years. Read it here.
Trust me, just READ IT.