Concepts has created some of the most sought-after footwear collaborations of all time. And they all start with a compelling story.
“Brands can go to them with anything — whether it’s a collaboration or a new product they’re trying to introduce or even a retro shoe they’re trying to bring back — and rely on Concepts to tell that story in their own way,” Joe Grondin, New Balance’s senior manager of global collaborations and energy, explained to FN.
Since its inception in 1996, the retailer has worked with industry giants including Nike, Birkenstock, Adidas and several others to deliver must-have collabs to the market.
Below, Concepts creative director Deon Point shares the retailer’s top 10 footwear collaborations of all time.
NIKE SB DUNK LOW “LOBSTER”
Deon Point: “There’s not much left to say here. It put us on the map and continues to be a sought-after franchise.”
ADIDAS “BOSTON MARATHON” ZX 9000 (2020)
DP: “Released this past September, it commemorated our nation’s oldest race — an iconic event in our backyard.”
NIKE FREE TRAINER 1.0 “THERMAL” (2016)
DP: “We pitched a color-changing upper and struck out, but not before we got the go-ahead on the tongue. To my knowledge we were the first to incorporate this technology.”
VANS OLD SKOOL “RAT HUNTER” (2014)
DP: “We threw rebellion, Boston’s most notable music venue and skate in a blender, resulting in one of our most sought-after Vans projects.”
NEW BALANCE 997 “ROSÉ” (2014)
DP: “This was an arrival moment for us. It was the project we chose to enter New York’s retail landscape with. In a lot of ways, it was a risk even though we never viewed it as such.”
BIRKENSTOCK BOSTON “BLUE” (2016)
DP: “This marked the first time we focused on the core sneakerhead with Birkenstock, paying homage to a specific colorway associated with sneakers.”
NIKE SB DUNK HIGH “WHEN PIGS FLY” (2012)
DP: “We had initially pitched an idea that got shut down last minute. We had three days to create something entirely new. We not only rose to the challenge, but detail-wise, it’s one of our most well-executed projects, even changing the box label to Pig Latin and skateboard.”
VAULT BY VANS “KINGS ROAD” (2020)
DP: “This collection was inspired by ’70s punk fashion and specifically the mohair sweaters made popular by Vivienne Westwood. We were hesitant on the slip-on based on us ideating so far out but it ended up being our favorite overall.”
NEW BALANCE 999 “KENNEDY” (2017)
DP: “Outside of our Lobster franchise, this was the project that defined us as storytellers and forged our relationship with New Balance.”
ASICS GEL- LYTE 3 “TEA PARTY” (2015)
DP: “Typically, we steer clear of the obvious, but this Boston-based story, told through specific product details, morphed into more than a history lesson.”