When Adidas and Berlin’s mass transit system BVG made the announcement that they teamed up to launch a pair of sneakers with a transit ticket sewn into the tongue, allowing its wearer to ride the subway for free from Jan. 16 to Dec. 31, it sparked immediate fanfare. And rightly so — the cheapest annual train pass costs $869, which makes the $215 pair of Adidas x BVG sneakers an unbelievable bargain.
The sneaker-slash-subway-pass borrows design elements from Berlin’s subway: neon yellow laces mimic the train’s sunny exterior, the shoe’s camo-like accents are taken from the train seats, and sharp stripes that line the toe resemble the connected cars. And days before its Tuesday release, consumers reportedly camped out for several days to get their hands on one of the 500 limited edition pairs.
Spoiler alert: It’s sold out.
Of course, Adidas wasn’t the first (nor will it be the last) brand to work with a mass transit system. Supreme partnered up with New York City’s MTA for limited edition subway cards in 2017. And five years ago, Nike worked with the London Tube to create Air Max sneakers that paid homage to the world’s first underground railway.
Neither one compares with the havoc-wreaking mayhem that came with the Adidas x BVG news (Supreme comes pretty close). But other than achieving virality, this partnership served as something of a celebration of public transportation and the commuters who take it every day. It spotlighted the role it plays in a major city. It’s made it cool, and perhaps that’s what consumers responded to. Or maybe all they wanted was a free ride.