Don’t just call them shoeboxes: we’ve selected some special editions that will blow your mind.
With mass production, shoes box have played a fundamental role for storage in warehouses and transportation, even though, throughout the 20th century, it was a simple object made of a lid and a space just big enough to hold shoes: essential and functional. Nobody would have expected that this anonymous object would evolve into an example of refined design.
The global diffusion of Sneakers, the birth of the collector’s phenomenon and the explosion of the multi-million dollar market, has pushed many brands to take a step forward in the production of boxes destined to protect small treasures such as limited editions, exclusive collaborations and numbered releases over time.
By now, Sneakers aficionados know: the boxes are as dignified as the shoes that contain them. Some special editions, which are now worth a fortune, have been presented in special shoeboxes with the most absurd shapes and designs: frozen fish containers, milk bags, ice sheets or cereal packs. In short, the shoebox is designed to make a Sneaker an even more collectable object, to be contemplated and obviously never, ever worn.
Here are the most absurd ones ever.
Lobsters for breakfast
The explosive 2008 collaboration between Nike and Boston-based boutique Concepts gave the world of trainer collectors a series of Dunk SBs named “Lobster”, which referred to the different shades of lobsters.
The packaging played a fundamental role in the marketing of the releases, increasing the hype among collectors: each shoebox was correlated with limited edition accessories and gadgets.
The first release, Nike Dunk SB “Red Lobster”, took inspiration from the colour of a boiled lobster; it was presented with an elastic band that “closed” the toe of the trainer, like the lobster’s claws; a special shoebox in the shape of a wooden crate, like those commonly used to transport crustaceans, with a rope handle and writing printed on the planks, completed the very limited release. Inside, a complete kit for barbecuing them, with tongs, apron and lace holder like a mustard jar.
The next drop, ‘Blue Lobster‘, definitely elevated the Shoebox concept to the next level: it was a Styrofoam-like container, like the containers used on commercial fishing boats, with details such as storage pouches and labels for transportation at sea.
Next it was the turn of the ‘Green Lobster‘, and again, the box was incredible: displayed on an acrylic plate decorated to look like a blanket of ice, they were presented in black thermoformed plastic boxes, faithful to those used in the frozen food industry, displayed with transparent lids so that they could be admired. Just like in a supermarket counter.
Then it was the turn of the ‘Purple Lobster‘: a double sheet of ice from which the Dunk could be glimpsed, as if set in a solid block, difficult to scratch, with the Concepts logo engraved on the left side.
We come to the last release of the Nike Dunk SB Concepts pack, the ‘Orange Lobster’. The two brands were inspired by Salvador Dalí‘s famous surrealist work called Lobster Telephone. The shoebox presented the work framed, complete with gold frame and embossed details. Inside, elastic bands in two colors to ‘close’ the lobster claws, double laces and a mini-Bearbrick signed Concepts, in orange.
Milk and Cereal
The Sneakers Box of the 2007 Nike SB Blazer Premium Fly Milk, with their milk bag shape, could easily be displayed with the Nike Kyrie 4 Kix and their incredible cereal box packaging: breakfast is served.
In 1989, Nike introduced the Air Pressure technology to the market: an air pump, to expand the collar of the trainer and adapt it to the ankle for more stability. Although the Nike Air Pressure never achieved the hoped-for popularity, its box has remained in history: it was an extravagant semi-transparent case with a portable pumping device inside to inflate the Pressure.
If with Nike’s case you could inflate the Air Pressure, adidas, in 2005, thought of aspiring artists, making a special pack of the adidas adicolor Lo: a case with seven tubes of acrylic paints signed Schmincke included in the pack, along with brushes and a wooden palette with the brand’s logo. In addition to the trainers to be customised, the pack also included a sealant to protect the shoes, or canvas, from the masterpiece created en plain air.
Nike releases dedicated to the Chinese New Year have always been the most eagerly awaited in the brand’s history, and the reason is also to be found in the special themed boxes dedicated to the animal of the year.
In 2000, Nike launched a limited-edition Air Force 1 ‘Year of the Dog’ which sported a fiery red upper, blue laces and ornamental detailing. The ultra-limited Hyperstrike trainers were presented in an engraved wooden box, with decorative gold metal brackets and latches, with an oriental flavour.
In 2011, it was the turn of the ‘Year of the Rabbit’, inspired by the famous White Rabbit candy; the shoebox, accordingly, was an incredible box in the shape of a candy, with the protective paper resembling the wrapper of the popular Chinese candy.
Packaging for action figures
A transparent blister pack that instead of an action figure of a Star Wars character, contained a pair of limited edition adidas superstars, was the packaging for the special edition of the adidas Consortium “Light Side” and “Dark Side” paying homage to the saga, which sold out practically within minutes of its launch, we bet whoever bought it keeps it that way, in its original packaging.
A shoebox in the shape of a camping tent, a jar of delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with a pair of limited edition Nike Dunk SBs inside, a McDonald’s chip rack: these are just some of the most absurd trainer boxes ever. Let us know your favorite!