Last month, Arizona Iced Tea and Adidas collaborated on a line of sneakers and offered the collection for sale at a pop-up shop in New York City. The shoes were bright pink and aqua (they’re garish yet somehow pretty sick) and going for the cheeky price of $0.99 a pair — the same sticker price as a can of Arizona.
Since buzzy pop-up shops tend to draw crowds, and limited-edition shoes tend to draw sneakerheads, and there are just always too many people in Manhattan, tons of hopeful shoppers showed up looking to basically collect free money. (Pairs were quickly flipped for upwards of $300 on eBay.)
The release was “extremely limited,” and when it became clear that not everybody would get free sneaks, things quickly got unsafe. “The NYPD had to shut down Adidas’ Arizona Iced Tea pop-up shop in NYC. What happens when you try to sell 99-cent shoes,” Complex Sneakers tweeted with a video of the chaos.
"I think it was getting dangerous because of the lack of presence of security," Brooklyn resident Marielis Palen told Sole Collector. She and her friends lined up at 4:30 AM that morning. "They weren't prepared for it. They thought they could do a New York event in New York and not think that New Yorkers are gonna be New Yorkers."
Just look another much-hyped opening — the 2017 Supreme store launch in Williamsburg. For weeks, streetwear fans lined up on sidewalks around the neighborhood, in strictly-controlled queues capped at a certain number of vaping teens per block by security guards. I was working in the neighborhood as a journalist at the time, and I remember being stunned by how many hundreds of influencers and trend seekers seemed to turn up day after day, week after week, waiting for their turn to peruse the tiny store on Grand Street.
In hindsight, whatever event production company Supreme hired for the launch of their Brooklyn store ran a pretty tight ship. Though they seemed to be everywhere, the number of sneaker seekers flowing through the shop and the neighborhood was being closely monitored. The team behind the Arizona x Adidas pop-up could have probably benefitted from studying their methods.
Arizona Iced Tea is no stranger to odd, maybe even dubious brand partnerships, either. In May, the brand collaborated with chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese in Bushwick on a “Great Buy” menu of Arizona flavor-inspired specials, all listed for $9.99 or $0.99. There was trendy merch, too — limited edition t-shirts, tote bags, chopsticks, and glasses. (Bowien has worked with the buzzy brand Opening Ceremony in the past.)
As of Wednesday, however, Adidas and Arizona are back at it, unveiling a second line of collaborative sneaks, the Continental Vulc and adilette slide models. They drop on September 1 and retail for the far more average prices of $90 and $35 respectively.