When consumers are sipping on an ice-cold beverage to fight against the brutal heat of summer, most aren’t thinking they’d love to have a custom pair of shoes to match their soft drink of choice. Or are they? Judging by the most recent sneaker trends, that might be exactly what consumers are seeking. Several recent beverage brand collaborations with shoe firms have received a generous amount of buzz, and the trend appears to be picking up steam.
It’s likely the original trend of translating beverage brands into fashion statements was borne out of the longtime tradition of pairing athletes with beverage sponsorships. Among the most famous of these collaborations has been Michael Jordan’s sponsorship by the Gatorade sports drink line, which has now spanned 26 years.
While most analysts would agree the pairing has helped Gatorade make inroads into the athletic world, some may not have predicted it would result in a partnership which saw Gatorade branding on consumers’ feet, but that’s exactly what has happened.
The Air Jordan 6 Gatorade, said to be hitting stores this fall, is being released as a tribute to Jordan’s massive success during the period when he wore his signature Air Jordan 6 shoes in the original “Be Like Mike” Gatorade campaign, Kicks on Fire reports.
Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Pepsi Want A Spot
As highly-anticipated as the new Air Jordan Gatorade shoes are, sneaker shelves will have to make room for additional new beverage-themed entrants to the market.
Soft drink giant Coca-Cola recently partnered with fashion brand Kith to release a massive summer apparel collection, including multiple styles of Kith sneakers and sandals emblazoned with the classic Coca-Cola logo. Among the offerings was a Coca-Cola-branded edition of the classic Converse Chuck Taylor shoes, offered in the company’s retro style from the 1970s.
As part of the Kith collaboration, the limited-edition Coca-Cola Chuck Taylors were packaged with a bottle of Coke and sold earlier this month for $150 at Kith stores and online, Sneaker News reported.
Mountain Dew has also honed its shoe game, partnering with Nike to issue an ultra-exclusive package honoring Cleveland Cavaliers player Kyrie Irving after the Cavaliers won the NBA championships. Only 32 pairs of the sneakers, which debuted earlier this year, were issued, making the set about as limited-edition as they come.
The Mountain Dew-branded shoes were packaged in a “K.A.R.E. Kit,” an abbreviation for “Kyrie’s Ankle Recovery Equipment,” Sole Collector reported. Included in the kit were an iPad featuring highlights of Irving’s basketball moves and five limited-edition cans of Mountain Dew, among other items.
The Irving sneaker did not mark Mountain Dew’s first foray into shoe marketing. In fact, the brand partnered with sneaker brand Fila in December to launch the Mountain Dew GLX x Fila M-Squad, a limited-edition sneaker style issued in branded packaging for $90, Kicks on Fire reported.
As the parent company of both Gatorade and Mountain Dew, PepsiCo certainly wasn’t about to let its flagship brand go without a branded shoe offering. Earlier this year, the company joined forces with New Balance and Rawlings to issue a Gold Globe Pack honoring Cleveland Indians star Francisco Lindor. The pack included a customized pair of New Balance 574 shoes, a gold-dipped Pepsi bottle and a Rawlings baseball glove, which consumers could win as part of a contest, Sole Collector reported.
Could The Trend Be Growing?
While it’s impossible to predict whether soft drink-branded sneakers are here to stay, it’s likely more brands will see the potential in such collaborations. When Lyst released its list of top-ten best-selling products of Q2 earlier this month, six of the items were shoes and half of those were sneakers. With these products fueling such a high percentage of fashion sales, why wouldn’t beverage brands want to hop on board?