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Which Retailers Produce the Best Collaborations?

Written for and featured on KrateandCo

Today, collaborations are the key to generating traction as consumers are constantly waiting on the next coveted brand x brand partnership. As our appetite for collaborations increases, brands seem to be having no problem supplying this new demand. While artist and musicians such as Daniel Arsham, Kaws and Travis Scott have all put their creative spin on a few pairs, retailers are the ones consistently churning out brand collaborations

 Here are the top 5 retail stores crushing their collaborations.

Packer Shoes humble beginnings started all the way back in 1907, making it the longest standing retailer in the list by far. Their incomparable heritage and curation of footwear, not forgetting their collaborations, has lead to them becoming one of the most respected retailers in the world.

There are 2 pairs that force the inclusion of Packer shoes. The Raewkwon x Diadora N9000 ‘Purple Tapes’ and the Asics Gel-Lyte III ‘Dirty Buck’. Both amazing shoes! The first pays great attention to detail throughout, paying homage to Wu-Tang legend ‘Raekwon’, while the later oozes quality and class with its classic colourway. 

Established in the early 90’s, Scottish based retailer quickly cemented itself as the local spot to find exclusive footwear, alongside a broad range of European and US streetwear brands. Today, Hanon is respected globally by the sneaker community for it’s quality footwear and multiple collaborations.

Connecting with brands such as ASICS, Diadora and Reebok to name a few, as well as a remarkable 10+ year relation with New balance, it’s fair to say Hanon’s design team has been more than busy! And although some design may fall short of rememberable, they have hit bulls-eye more than a few times.

My personal favourites; the Asics Gel-Lyte III ‘Wildcats’ and ‘Solstice’, New Balance 1500 ‘Chosen Few’ and the Diadora N9000 ‘Saturday Special’, which is a cut above the rest in my opinion. Plus, their inspiration behind each pair is always worth a read, which you can find here.

Established in 2002, Solebox is a must visit if you ever find yourself in Berlin. It’s range of sneakers, from exclusive to high end, tickle the wallets of avid sneakerheads. And when they released the Adidas Ultra Boost collaboration, thats when they really caught my attention. 

Taking advantage of the then new Ultraboost silhouette, they used the uncaged approach similarly adopted by Hypebeast to create a simply yet striking colourway. Since then, I believe some of their creation have gone unloved. Designs such as the Adidas Yung-1, Diadora ‘Azzurro’ and most notably the New Balance ‘Toothpaste’ pack, have been heavily overlooked.

The London based retailer opened in 2002 and since then has been a sneakerheads destination for rare footwear and exclusive releases. Based in the heart of the City, it has provided the necessary fuel to keep the sneaker community buzzing with its store launches, events and collaborations.

In its relatively short lifespan, its has connected with leading brands such as Nike, Le Coq Sportif, Reebok, Adidas and New Balance. However, it’s work with Asics on the Gel-Lyte III ‘Squad’ and Saucony with the "Only in Soho" and ‘Only in Tokyo’, gave Footpatrol a larger presence and respect in the global footwear community.

I just wished they did more with their recent design of the Adidas Futureraft 4D.

Undoubtedly the best store to do it! The Japenese retailer has repeatedly proven itself as leader of the pack when it comes to collaborations by providing some of the most iconic designs and colourways of this generation.

It began with Air Max 1 ‘Safari’, the first ever Air Max 1 collaboration. Needless to say, it became an instant grail. Limited in quantity and unique in design, the collaborative floodgates opened. At one stage, Hommyo told Sole Collector that the shop releases at least one collaborative project each month!

However, it seems like Nike and Atmos have created the most effective relationship.. They have produced some of the most coveted pairs in sneaker history, including The Viotech pack, Animal pack, Atmos Elephant and Duck Camos. There most recent effort, brought the classic Safari print to the Lebron 16, which is sure to be another big hit.

Special mention to Barcelona’s Limited Editions collaboration with Diadora, creating the Castellers and Carrefocs. Unbelievable quality and design! 


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