With all the recent hype about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), it seems apropos to look at the larger trend towards collecting fungible items, and how sneakerheads pioneered what has become the hottest fashion category for collaborations. Sneaker collecting involves the acquisition and trading of sneakers as a hobby, with limited editions of shoes made for certain sports, particularly basketball and skateboarding, among the most prized.
A recent study published in the journal Fashion and Textiles offers insights into the characteristics, motivations, and brand preferences of sneakerheads, from the origins of sneaker collecting dating back to the 1980s. As the custom shoe trend has taken off over the years, many footwear brands have realized that the creativity of shoe collaborations excites consumers, fueling greater demand. Thus, what was once a niche area of focus for collectors has gone mainstream via the growth of jointly branded efforts. The following examples represent some of the latest footwear collaborations, both in sneakers and beyond.
Supreme x Dr. Martens
The iconic New York streetwear brand Supreme has been working with Dr. Martens for many years, and this season’s effort is just the latest collab the two have dropped. The Spring / Summer 2021 launch includes three premium iterations of the 5-Eye Shoe, revamping the style with zebra print, brick orange and classic black colorways.
Dr. Martens x Keith Haring
Earlier this year Dr. Martens also released a footwear collaboration with the estate of artist Keith Haring, in which the footwear can be likened to a blank canvas waiting for an artist’s brush (or spray paint), an apparent nod to the custom sneaker trend. This resulting collection includes the 1460 boot and two different 1461 Oxfords, and follows another artist partnership by Dr. Martens and the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat from July 2020.
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