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Frenzy for 99-Cent Sneakers Sparks NYPD Shutdown of Adidas, Arizona Pop-Up

The world of brand collaborations just keeps getting stranger.

In an unexpected pairing that plays into ’90s nostaligia and streetwear scarcity, 99-cent beverage brand Arizona Iced Tea and Adidas Originals collaborated on a new sneaker drop launched exclusively at a limited-time pop-up in downtown New York City on Thursday.

Arizona had been hinting at the collection over the past week, until it announced Tuesday that it would be organizing a pop-up shop in the Bowery neighborhood to host the collaboration. More than that, Arizona would only charge visitors the normal asking price of one of its beverages—99 cents—if they wanted to grab a pair of what was sure to be the hottest kicks in the neighborhood.

Arizona Iced Tea also hyped up fans beforehand with a giveaway on Instagram.

The collection with Adidas featured four colorways in the theme of Arizona Iced Tea’s popular green tea beverage, including two pairs of Adidas’ Continental 80, one bearing Arizona’s signature cherry blossoms, and two more of its Yung-1 silhouette.

“Who’s Thirsty?!” Arizona Iced Tea’s social media team asked in the announcement. “We’re dropping all four 99¢ #adiZona99 designs this Thursday—208 Bowery St. NYC. Open 11 a.m to 7 p.m. One item per guest. $1 bills only. Arrive early as we are expected to sell out fast.”

Unfortunately, however, intense demand and a massively overcrowded sidewalk led to the NYPD shutting the event down before it ever truly started.

“I think it was getting dangerous because of the lack of presence of security,” Brooklyn resident, Mariellis Palen told streetwear publication Sole Collector regarding the event. “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.”

Already, the sneakers are appearing on resale sites, unsurprising considering the possibility of an astronomically high return on the $1 purchase price. On StockX, sellers have begun to advertise the sneaker with some bids reaching $290, despite a lack of imagery and solid proof that they were actually able to cop the sneaker. On eBay, one seller did manage to snap a photo of an apparently owned pair—complete with an asking price of $399.

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Arizona Iced Tea responded to the shutdown by asking for patience as it attempts to come up with a plan to offload the sneakers without causing trouble for local police as the NYPD determined that the pop-up will be permanently shut down.

“Thanks to our loyal fans that came out to support our partnership with Adidas,” the company said on social media. “Due to overwhelming demand and safety concerns, the NYPD shut down our pop-up. We sincerely apologize to all our fans that waited in line. We are actively working to remedy the situation.”

Offering sneakers for 99 cents apiece, it’s unlikely Adidas would see any return on an investment that could have publicity and hype at its core rather than profit. And for its part, Arizona debuted a New York City pop-up shop last year marking its 25th anniversary and offered brand merch ranging from jackets and hoodies to button-down and bags. The beverage brand gave away 10 pairs of Relevant Customs x Arizona sneakers made to fete the occasion.

 

Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.