Yesterday I showed you guys my newest pair of shoes: the Asics x The Good Will Out Gel Lyte V “Koyo”. The shoe is a greatly executed collaboration and shows just what the guys at TGWO are capable of. Their “Autobahn Pack” in collaboration with New Balance was also very well done. But there are too many collabs coming out right now and a lot of collabs out there that are nowhere near as good.
Many sneakerheads that I’ve talked to agree that there are too many collabs out there. It’s hard for some sneakerheads to stay on top of their game. Others also feel that collaborations are no longer special now that they are releasing one every week.
Even Deon Point from Concepts told Sneaker Freaker that his store had surpassed the point of too many collabs. It felt like they had a new collab coming out every week. Some of them were quite well done, like the “Ugly Christmas Sweater” Dunk SBs or their recent New Balance 997 “Rosé”.
But then there were others that weren’t anything special, like the “Porky” Dunk SBs inspired by the movie of the same name. I bought the general release because I liked the pink upper on top of the white mid sole and gum outsole.
Concepts did put some effort into the packaging and accessories that weren’t part of the general release so maybe that’s why I feel that they weren’t anything special. But I don’t think the idea itself was worthy of a collaboration.
Another unspectacular collaborative shoe I own is the blue Vans x Tyler the Creator Old Skool S from their first collaboration. Even though I’m not a huge Odd Future fan I really like the deep blue suede with the white laces matched with a gum sole. They were really hard to track down because they only released at local skate shops but none of them in my area were going to get them.
I just happened to be browsing the web when I came across Allike.com who had just posted three colours from the pack online a couple of months after they released in most of Europe, but not the blue ones. I checked back every day until they finally stocked them and got a pair.
Some might call me a hypebeast just for buying a collab shoe by a guy whose music I don’t even listen to. And that’s fair enough, but I bought the shoe for the shoe itself, just like I did with the “Porky” Dunks.
On the other hand I probably wouldn’t have bought the “Autobahn Pack” or the “Koyo” if they weren’t a TGWO collab. But in those cases the whole concept behind the shoes made them so appealing to me. The Autobahn inspiration is locally relevant to me given that I grew up in Cologne close to where Germany’s first Autobahn was built. And the “Koyo” plays on Asics’ origins in reference to Japanese culture.
Also, The Good Will Out took their time between the two collabs. It didn’t make me think: “You guys are doing another collab? Didn’t you release one just last week?” like I do when Concepts announces something new.
That was the issue I had when TGWO did their second collaboration on an Onitsuka Tiger X-Caliber. I often forget about that shoe because it released so quick after the “Autobahn Pack”. While the idea behind the shoe was pretty cool their choice of canvas didn’t really appeal to me. And since I had just bought two shoes from their previous collab I decided to pass on them.
That really is one of the biggest issues I have with the saturation of collaborations in the sneaker game. There is a collab releasing every week, sometimes even two or three. I heard that Saucony released more collabs this past year that regular in-line shoes. That just makes it seem like a regular release has become something special now.
Ronnie Fieg is arguably the biggest player in the sneaker game releasing one collab after the other. Some say he is the reason for Asics’ recent success in the industry. His collaborations are really simple colourways on premium materials. But the people go crazy over them because it is a collaboration. Rarely does a New Balance “Made in USA” create that much hype, even though I know that Ronnie Fieg’s collabs are nowhere near as limited as people suspect them to be. Yet people camp out for these shoes regularly.
I don’t really consider myself a collector but rather an enthusiast. I don’t feel the compulsion to buy every shoe that releases, I just acknowledge them and buy the ones I really like. But it’s tough for anyone out there trying to stay on top of the sneaker game.
What do you think of collaborations? How many is too many?
Let me know in the comments below.