Sneaker Game meets Art #4: Parra.
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Piet Parra has helped enrich the Sneakers Culture archive with some of the finest releases ever made, such as the Air Max 1 and the Converse Chuck Taylor "Simply the Wurst."

The most beautiful Sneakers made by Pieter ‘Parra’ Janssen.

Surreal bird-like the saturated colors, soft stroke and graphic patterns such as polka dots, stripes, then irony, lightness, but also introspection. Impossible not to associate this visual aspect with the stroke of Pieter “Parra” Janssen, better known as Parra, an artist born in Maastricht, Netherlands – in 1976.

Like many of his generation, Parra started out in the art world as a writer, where he explored font design with a touch of humor; and then moved in recent years to increasingly abstract and layered interpretations of human and para-human figures, beautifully interpreted by his “bizarre” vision.

Celebrated in galleries around the world, Parra is a devoted follower of underground art and has transformed his artistic language from “analog” to multimedia, making a name for himself in Asia, the United States and Europe. His works range in size and materials from very small works to large-scale public sculptures in materials ranging from painting to drawing to graphic art to textile works; always expressed in his enigmatic and immediately recognizable style.

Another characteristic of Parra is his passion for Sneakers, born in Amsterdam in the late 1980s, accompanying his throughout her life to this day. He has actively contributed to enriching Sneakers Culture, with some of the most beautiful collaborations with Nike ever, let’s find out now.

Parra x Nike Air Max 1 “Amsterdam” and “Albert Heijn” – 2005

Parra‘s first official sneaker collaboration was the incredible Nike Air Max 1 “Amsterdam” (or AMS Maz) from 2005. Before it hit the shelves, Parra designed another Air Max 1 inspired by the Albert Heijn Supermarket chain in the Dutch brand’s institutional colors of orange and blue. The chain revived the brand’s colors, and the release was later replaced with the more famous “Amsterdam” palette. Of the AM1 Parra Albert Heijn only one their of 24 pairs exists worldwide, given to Friends & Family.

Returning to the “Amsterdam” colorway, the shoe uses the Dutch artist’s signature colors: pink, burgundy, turquoise and brown, inspired by Amsterdam’s Red Light District, of which there is a very rare edition with the “Parra” signature embroidered on the side fender.

Current value From €10,349.00 to €12,150.00

Parra x Nike Air Max 95 “Running Man” – 2008

The 2008 Nike Air Max 95 Running Man, was part of a pack that also included an Air Max 90 designed by P.A.M.’s Misha Hollenback and a Cortez by Todd James.

Parra took full advantage of the Air Max 95’s layered upper to design a pattern of saturated pink, light blue and white stripes. Collectors of the early 2010s consider this release one of Parra’s most popular, which has long been affordable and available for purchase.

Parra x Vans Pack – 2009

By the end of the early 2000s, Parra‘s collaborations had expanded to other brands, such as in the case of Vans and Converse, which we will see later. The Parra x Vans Pack is one of them: the Dutch artist has put his signature on Sk8-Hi, a Chukka and an Era: saturated blue and pastel pink make their appearance as a true trademark, as do his whimsical cartoonishly drawn characters. Completing the look are insoles with a reminder, “Don’t forget to really skate in these shoes.”

Current value: €622.00 to €746.00.

Parra x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High “Simply the Wurst” – 2009

In 2009, Converse decided to hold a BBQ in Mitte, a neighborhood in the center of Berlin. To all participants, the brand gave away a special edition of the Chuck Taylor All Star, designed, precisely, by Parra.

The artist placed blue sausages on the side panels with the words “Simply the Wurst” on the right side. For some, it is Parra’s greatest collaboration of all time.

Only 100 pairs produced and given to Friends & Family invited to the barbecue.

Parra x Nike Air Maxim 1+ “Lovely Loners” – 2009

The same year as the Pack with Vans, Parra again collaborated with Nike for an Air Maxim 1+ called “Lovely Loners”: a spin-off of the AM1. This Sneakers was part of the “Rivarly” Pack, together with London-based artist CassettePlaya. Parra opted for a predominantly black color scheme, with contrasting details and stitching and splashes of color on the midsole.

Current value: $1,399.00 USD

Patta x Parra x Nike Air Max 1 “Cherrywood” – 2010

To celebrate five years since the first collaboration with Nike, Parra makes another Air Max 1 calling it “Cherrywood” of only 258 in the world.

In suede and mesh, drawing parallels with the previous “Amsterdam” release, “Cherrywood” features an intense “black cherry” colorway and turquoise details.

Current Value: From €5,408.00 to €20,730.00

Parra x Nike Air Max 1 – 2018

After 8 years of absence, where he was busy with other personal projects, Parra returned to collaborate with Nike for one of his most beautiful releases: the Nike Air Max 1: a combination of saturated colors with Nike’s pure platinum, then striped and polka dot patterns, a very successful combination of colors and materials.

The release included a rare version without Swoosh, given to friends & family.

Current Value: From €431.00 to €697.00

Parra x Nike SB Dunk Low “Abstract Art” – 2021

We conclude our list with the Nike SB Dunk Low, 2021 release.

“Abstract Art” was one of the most sought-after sneakers of 2021, thanks to the side panels that can be “ripped off” to reveal the underlying color and pattern.

The “hidden” patterns are typical of the “Parra” style, saturated colors in teal, blue, pink and strawberry red, zig zags, stripes and wavy strokes throughout the silhouette. Concluding the look is a Gum sole.

Current Value: From €449.00 to €749.00

Our “trip” among Piet Parra’s most beautiful sneakers is over, let us know which one is your fav!

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