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These Dunkin’ donut-inspired Saucony sneakers might be the best-ever fast food-footwear collaboration

Made for the Boston Marathon, this latest collaboration is a near perfect match between a city and one of its hometown brands.

These Dunkin’ donut-inspired Saucony sneakers might be the best-ever fast food-footwear collaboration
[Photo: courtesy of Dunkin’]

Footwear brand Saucony and fast-food chain Dunkin’ have launched a new sneaker collaboration ahead of the 2019 Boston Marathon on April 15th, combining the Kinarva 10 running shoe model with the donut merchant’s familiar pink and orange logo.

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It’s the second collaboration between the two Boston area-based brands. Last year, it was the Kinarva 9, with a design that was less blatantly Dunkin’, a subtle nod that still featured its trademark colors. (So as subtle as white, orange, and pink shoes can be.) The 2019 version, by contrast, is a marketers dream (read: HUUUGE LOGO).

While Dunkin’ is a national American fast-food chain, the brand’s heart and soul is in Boston. The company’s headquarters is in Canton, Massachusetts and the region is still home to its most loyal customers. It’s a special relationship, perhaps most accurately depicted by SNL back in 2016.

There have been plenty of junk food-inspired sneaker designs in the recent past, but fast-food brand footwear is a more rare occurrence. There was Pizza Hut’s ridiculous “Pie Tops,” created with famed “Shoe Surgeon” Dominic Chambrone, which enabled you to order pizza with the shoes. Deeper down the niche path was a collaboration between Ewing Athletics and Mikey Likes It Ice Cream.

History’s most popular donut-related sneaker by far is still when Kyrie Irving and Nike enlisted Krispy Kreme back in 2016 for Irving’s signature Kyrie 2 model. There’s a pair selling on eBay right now for $450.

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As diametrically opposed as athletics and fried bread appear to be, the pop culture popularity of the “Ky-rispy” kicks led to Irving’s 2018 “Cereal Pack” sneaker release with designs inspired by Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Kix. It also undoubtedly got the wheels turning at Saucony and Dunkin’ over the potential for yet another donut and sports combo.

Is all of this ridiculous? Of course! But no less than, say, KFC-branded streetwear apparel or Starburst candy-inspired clothing, both of which quickly sold out. In the context of all this branded lunacy, the Saucony and Dunkin’ collaboration might actually be the most sane. Two Boston-based brands collaborating for a product to celebrate another civic institution in the Boston Marathon.

All that’s missing are a crueller and three Parliaments.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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