Luxury sneaker collaborations are getting more and more expensive
Sneaker collaborations are a story as old as time, but recently it seems that what was once a community of collectors and enthusiasts is turning into a luxury club for the 1%.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been meticulously tracking sneaker releases. Not a single drop could have escaped me – especially not a collaboration – and I wrote hundreds, if not thousands of articles about shoes.
Of course, I also bought sneakers myself. One of my all-time favorite collaborations is the ongoing COMME des GARÇONS partnership with Nike, of which I own the Air Max 180, Shox and Air Force 1 Hi. But recently, some shoes have become way too expensive.
After Nike revealed images of the CDG Foamposite sneaker, the internet went wild. The collaboration might have made Foamposites even cooler! Although the shoe divided Highsnobiety readers, many people were willing to buy the shoe. That was until the price was revealed: $520.
Collaborations used to be a way to get the best of both worlds. Combining Nike’s affordable sneakers with design cues from some of the biggest players in the industry was a surefire recipe and also allowed more people to be part of the community. If you couldn’t afford COMME des GARÇONS, you could always get yourself a pair of Converse PLAY or a CDG Air Force 1 shoe.
It’s not just Nike. Recently, Miu Miu debuted a collaboration with New Balance for Spring/Summer 2022, which instantly sent the Highsnobiety team into an internal fangirl club. #MiuBalance was our new aesthetic, and we were all signing up to pre-order.
Last week, the email finally arrived. I was mortified when I found out the sneaker was priced at $700. For comparison, a regular New Balance 574 sells for just under $100.
Of course, the collab will be designed with premium materials, which means it will naturally be more expensive than your average pair, but given that the sneaker is made from denim – a material that NB has known from its previous collaboration with Levi’s – it is not. really understand why the shoe is seven times more expensive.
Ultimately, there will be plenty of customers who can afford the shoes, but the price tag isolates its young fans, sneakerheads and those who have been part of the culture for years.
With Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 sneakers currently auctioned off for over $20,000 a pair, we are witnessing the most extreme shift in the industry. Yeah, maybe it’s for charity, but maybe a pair could have been raffled off to one of Abloh’s most loyal fans? Someone who never thought they could buy a pair of sneakers over $200?
When the latest Prada x adidas collection came out, I was instantly obsessed. The simplicity of the adidas Forum with the use of nylon and Prada’s signature logo just seemed perfect, and was the perfect way to introduce Prada to a new audience. But unfortunately, the cheapest sneaker ended up costing $850. The Forum Hi cost $1,120, and the cheapest item of clothing was the bucket hat, which cost $495.
Ultimately, luxury collabs will always fly off the shelves regardless of price, but as drops get more expensive, I hope brands recognize that raising their prices also means ignoring a wide public.
Either way, I’ll always save up to buy a pair of #MiuBalance, but that means I might not eat that month. You win some, you lose some, and we can only hope that brands start lowering their prices.