Walking advertisements are everywhere these days, literally. More and more companies are collaborating with sneaker manufacturers to get their brands out on the streets.
K-Swiss recently collaborated with Footlocker and “Ghostbusters” on a shoe to celebrate the film's 35th anniversary; Adidas (ADDYY) teamed with HBO on a series of sneakers to pay homage to 'Game of Thrones' 8-season run; and on June 27th Nike (NKE) will release a collection honoring the (NFLX) hit show 'Stranger Things.'
Even food brands are getting in on the action. Mr. Peanut is featured on the Planters branded “Crunch Force 1” sneaker, and NBA All-Star Anthony Davis recently announced a collaboration with the famed Shoe Surgeon on a shoe inspired by Ruffles potato chips.
“Themed sneakers are a conversation starter. They help expand the conversation to be about more than what is on feet. People start to speak about the theme,” says sneaker vlogger Sole De Vida.
Most sneaker collaborations are one-offs, but sometimes they gain so much popularity that the shoes become a part of a company's lineup: Think Kanye West’s Adidas-branded Yeezys.
Most of the time, these sneaker collaborations are all in good fun. However, some in the sneaker world believe companies are going to the well one too many times when it comes to collaborations.
"I feel like we're seeing a collaboration about every 10 seconds now," Matt Powell, NPD Group vice president and senior industry advisor, told Yahoo Finance.
With over 40 years in the retail industry, Powell has seen every trend imaginable. But despite the seemingly endless amount of collaborations popping up, Powell said they seldom move the needle in terms of actual sales. Usually, they are limited editions and are not produced in large enough quantities to move a company's bottom line.
To put a number value on that, he notes that both Adidas and Nike each produced around 400 million pairs of shoes in 2018. Brand collaborations only account for a fraction of either company’s supply.
So why do brands keep the collaboration game going? Sole De Vida says themed sneakers are a win for both the sneaker makers and brands they’re partnering with. “Theme sneakers are a great marketing tool ... They spark interest in the other part of the collaboration."
Some sneakerheads just can’t get enough. Urban Necessities founder Jaysse Lopez thinks the more, the better: "It's never enough, because that's all people want at the moment."
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.