They cannot all be rare Jordans.
Ever since His Airness bestowed upon the sneaker world one of the most iconic pairs of shoes ever made, hundreds, if not thousands of athletes, celebrities and personalities have tried to cash in on the sneaker hype.
Some, like Lebron’s brand and Yeezy’s, actually managed a lot of success, but others were just awful, either due to bad timing, an awful release strategy or just a terrible product.
Here are some of the worst sneaker releases of all time.
Nike Air Force 1 Evo Moment #37
Here is one of the best examples of how timing can completely ruin a sneaker release, which is sort of ironic given how a truly iconic moment of expert timing is the very reason they exist.
For people who do not know much about eSports, Evo Moment #37 was the moment when legendary fighting game player Daigo Umehara made 17 split-second parries in a row against fellow legend Justin Wong at the Evolution 2004 fighting game tournament.
By 2019, eSports had left somewhat dingy convention halls and had become some of the largest spectator sports around, and Nike decided to commemorate not only this but several other famous moments in Evo history with a really cool-looking shoe.
The problem was timing; the sneakers were set to drop in Summer 2020 around the time of the Evolution Championship Series, but due to a wave of abuse allegations as well as the Covid-19 pandemic, the shoes were quietly released with no hype.
Endorsed by Kim Kardashian and advertised as an easy way to tone thigh muscles, the Shape-Ups were not only hideous and exceptionally uncomfortable due to the unstable sole but managed to cause serious back and pelvis injuries during use.
So bad were Sketchers’ advertising lies that a class action lawsuit was settled for $40m and it is to this day one of the worst examples of false advertising, and not just in the fitness world.
Adidas Kobe 2
A sneaker so bad it may have ended one of the biggest endorsement deals in sports history, Adidas were certainly bold in the design of their bulky space-age sneakers, allegedly even basing it on the bizarre dated design of the Audi TT.
The Kobe 2, however, was hated by the late Kobe Bryant, who opted for the Kobe 1 during the 2001 NBA Finals run and left for rivals Nike as soon as he could buy himself out of his contract.
It is impossible to talk about bad sneaker releases without discussing the gloriously awful Sprewell Spinners, a shoe with a little spinning rim designed for people who loved Pimp My Ride.
It was a mix of a fairly awful idea, relatively poor timing due to Latrell Sprewell’s impending retirement and overall poor play, but they have endured in the minds of sneakerheads just as a reflection of how wild shoe design could get.
Nike Air Force 1 Invisible Woman
The early 2000s loved translucent plastic and see-through electronics. Nike, capitalising on both this and the impending release of the atrocious Fantastic Four movies, released a range of sneakers inspired by the superhero team.
The Invisible Woman one is by far the worst, as the see-through toe box would not really be see-through for very long until dust, dirt or sweaty fog would mist up the front.