Readers might recall the football season/sneakers analogy I made five weeks ago, in which I referred to that weekend as the equivalent of a ‘bye week’.
Well, the release action of the ‘Big Three’ brands for the weekend ending January 21st makes it fitting to introduce yet another Football analogy: The Preseason.
Preseason is, of course, the time of year when teams are getting back to business. The best players are getting back into game shape, new players are trying to make the cut; coaches are trying out new concepts and schemes.
Conversely, in the sneaker game, the preseason is a time when brands provide a more savory taste of the sort of fare they have in store for an eager public for the upcoming year. Must-have colorways pop up on second-tier silhouettes ; brands ride the wave of recently- created styles; others show up with drops for another year of ‘we’re just happy to be here’.
The week ending January 21st was the first week of the sneaker game preseason .
Or is that the second week?
After all, on January 14th, ‘Reigning Champ’ adidas dropped the biggest restock of the new year to date with the bring-back of the Core Black/Lush Red NMD, a major move, no doubt.
For the week ending January 21st, the three stripes chose to display a number of new looks, showing off some schemes from its expanded playbook as it looked to defend its title.
This meant a release from its pre-Ultra Boost Boost catalog: the Pure Boost.
On Wednesday, the 18th, adidas released a black and white colorway of the Pure Boost,a silhouette that dates back to the middle of 2014, yet like many non-Ultra Boost silos, has been incredibly neglected , overlooked, all but forgotten about – a locked-in-the-back-room drunken uncle within the Boost family. But then, prior to that famous picture of Kanye wearing the ‘all white’ Ultra Boost in a concert performance, even the UB was a pretty low key shoe. After the massive plug, of course, the shoe began its positive trajectory. Other, older Boost models (of which there are more than a few) got left behind.
In 2017, adidas is looking to parlay the clout of the Ultra Boost into increased sales for those other Boost silos. The shoe it featured on the 18th was an fairly strong way to do that.
The results of the ‘Oreo’ Pure Boost release, however, have been mixed. The shoe apparently sold out at retail (indicating a limited release, as usual), and has seen some action in the aftermarket. It has also been price-capped by buyers at just about $30-$50 over its $140 MSRP, and plenty pairs have been left sitting on ebay at those same prices, indicating a decline in interest for a shoe many are not sure about just yet.
That’s okay, though. Adidas has plenty of time to find the colorway that will solidify what is clearly another worthwhile Boost shoe as a part of the ‘will-cop’ / must have rotation for Boost buyers this year. It can work out the kinks now.
A perfect example of how such a thing can happen was adidas’ collaboration with longtime partner White Mountaineering, who presented four colorways across two styles – Trail NMD (Collegiate Navy and Black/White) and Campus 80s (Black and Navy)- for a January 19th release in an un-themed package.
It was clear early on that with the Trail NMDs, White Mountaineering had a potential ‘home run’ release on its hands, particularly the Collegiate Navy half of the duo.
This proved to be the case. After the customary sell-through for the (so far) overseas only drop , pairs hit the aftermarket, and were doing brisk business at a range of about $100 over to nearly double the $200 box price for both colorways.
With a relatively paltry number still available on ebay, the shoe could be poised to take that next jump up towards truly elite status a-la other famed collaborations like the Pharrell NMDs. There is always the threat of a restock derailing that goal, but history has shown that with a colorway popular enough, buyer support will be there.
We shall see.
A successful, limited drop such as the trail NMDs alone is always a high-fiving occasion , but it was also encouraging to see adidas doing exactly what it needs to do in 2017 so as to translate the positive energy from last year’s NMD excitement into more sales across more NMD variations.
The Trail version of the NMD had actually been wallowing in obscurity until its most recent release, selling here and there, but never getting a chance to wow buyers with an outstanding colorway. Another version, the C1 Trail Mid, has also been lurking in the backgrounds mostly unnoticed.
Although the NMD is not technically a performance runner in the same vein as its cousin, the UB, the addition of off-road treading on the outsole is a welcome addition, giving the three stripes another lane in which to invite sneaker buyers as it opens up its playbook/catalog this year.
Said lane, however, will still be via its Boost-infused shoes. Adidas classics – Top Tens, Superstars, Stan Smiths, etc – are still very much ‘large in the streets’ , but for adidas, retro product won’t shift the narrative like its new, techy, lifestyle shoes currently do.
Folks want that Boost.
Undftd/ Collette x Campus 80/EQT Support 93
Adidas had two more classics on offer for the weekend, which actually released on the same day as the aforementioned White Mountaineering one, the 19th. The shoes were another Campus 80 colorway, plus an EQT Support 93 in dual-collaboration with L.A.’s UNDFTD, and Paris’ Collette.
Both styles are, quite surprisingly, still available – here, here – nearly one week after their drop, a clear sign that, as I suggested previously, it is in fact a ‘Boost-or-Bust’ world for adidas at the moment.
Last and (no disrespect ) indeed least (relevant) , the D Lillard 3 ‘Rip City’ can be easily found here.
The Swoosh flexed its creative muscles as well on the 19th, with four all-new colorways of the Special Field Air Force 1, this time in Navy (Binary Blue), Black (with a variant black/gum midsole/outsole look and no bag), Desert Ochre (women’s), and a Beige-ish String(?) colorway that also featured a suede upper.
Need I mention the fact that the shoes were limited and sold out pretty much instantly?
Of course not.
The shoes did sell out fast, and the String and Black Gum 2 colorways have seen the heaviest action in the aftermarket since then, the logical result of being the most basic, can’t miss looks. The women’s exclusive Navy and Desert Ochre colors have sold for more or less similar amounts as the other two, in less volume.
Unlike the OG pack of Special Fields , however, prices for this group has been pegged pretty solidly at just $80 to $100 over box price, a probable reflection of the fact that the hype for the concept has died down in the wake of the white-on-white restock. Buyers are also wise to the notion that , while these are probably the last of the series for the 2016-17 Winter Season, one can bet their bottom dollar the ‘boot sneaker” will be back later in the year.
Lastly, the Kobe A.D. University Red is looking nice, no? Feel free, then, to buy as many as you want, right here.
The Biggest news out of the JB camp for the week was the surprise restock of what remains the most valuable pair of J’s to drop in the last two years (yes, worth more than the Just Dons): the Fragment 1s.
The restock came via London boutique, END’s new launch system, so there was probably as little chance of one securing a pair as there were actual pairs to secure, in what was a cute marketing move by the store, aptly timed.
But the fact that the shoe did release again is noteworthy, even if the restock did little to to reduce the small mint a new pair will set one back.
Black Cat 13
Back in the real world, perennial (as opposed to merely reigning) ‘sneaker champ’, The Jumpman, went through the motions for the preseason weekend, releasing yet another slow seller ( retro J’s are never truly sitting, just selling slower than usual) in the Black Cat 13’s, still available here.
I distinctly recall commenting six weeks back that it didn’t seem as if the Concepts x Reebok ‘Chanel’- inspired CC pack dropped, it was so hard to find.
For its other weekend release, RBK decided to have some fun (since anything Shaq-related brings smiles to the faces of those who recall The Big Aristotle’s antics as a player).
As a member of that bunch, yours truly was quite happy that the Reebsters brought the Shaq Attaq back, Jack (sorry, had to) even though at $160 the ’90s throwback ‘big man shoe’ was always going to take a while to sell through. It’s just a fun shoe for a funny dude,so pick up a pair here and here.
Skateboarding mega-icon, Vans, is known for producing a ton of great looking footwear for casual and (of course) skateboarding use. Perhaps most importantly, the brand is also known for making them affordable, sometimes even dirt cheap.
As such , it is pretry rare for any one Vans release to make much noise in terms of resale.
In recent years, limited collections such as Tyler the Creator’s Golf Wang, the Toy Story pack, plus the ultra-limited ‘Opie’ collab with ska/punk band Sublime have all had crossover appeal, not to mention the Fear of God collab, which was an absolute monster profitability-wise. For most part , though, the typical Vans buyer is vehemently opposed to shelling out two, three, or four times the box price for a shoe he/she is used to paying $60 or less for most of the time. “F**k resale!” remains the mentality of many a Vans buyer.
Hence, the Fucking Awesome x Vans trio of Epoch ’94 Pros retailed for a reasonable $90, sold out in stores, and yet can be had on ebay for more or less box price, as of this writing.
Not for resale ; such is the Tao of Vans……