Los Angeles Kings Collaborate on Release of New Shoes


The hockey world is about to descend on L.A. for NHL All Star Weekend January 28-29, and the Los Angeles Kings are teaming up with BAIT and Reebok for a special Reebok Ventilator Supreme.

The Kings themed collaboration looks really cool. The shoes are silver and black, and there’s retro stitching of “Kings” on each heel that pays homage to the logo they used from the late 80s to mid 90s.

Sneakers like this have always been designed within a basketball context, just because of the sport’s relationship to shoe culture.

Hockey doesn’t have that same interconnectivity to the sneaker world, because they obviously don’t use them at a professional level.

The idea that a fan could wear the same Air Jordans in everyday life that Michael wore on the court doesn’t really apply to the NHL. You can’t walk to the mall in the same model of skates that Wayne Gretzky wore.

The reality of the world we live in is that shoes are worn in areas outside of your house more than skates are. Roads and sidewalks aren’t frozen ponds that we use for transportation, as interesting as that may sound.

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I have a unique perspective on this encompassing issue. I grew up in a warm weather area where friends and I would always gather up a group for pickup basketball at a nearby school.

Had I lived in an area cold enough to snow, those basketball games would have most definitely been swapped out for hockey games at a local pond that had frozen solid.

Yeah we played street hockey from time to time, but I just think the sports culture of different regions is largely predicated on what the weather dictates.

Baseball caps have a similar feel of authenticity that shoes do in basketball, because a fan could theoretically be wearing the same type of cap that baseball players wear out in the field.

I could walk around with a 49ers cap, but football players don’t actually wear caps during the game, so it doesn’t evoke that same level of closeness.

Also it’s important to note that in recent history there’s been a large level of creative freedom with how basketball shoes get designed.

A player may have a Nike deal, but they get creative input to the style of that shoe, so that two players on one team both signed to Nike can have shoes that look completely different from one another.

It opens up a broader analysis of equipment in sports. Baseball caps worn by a team in an MLB game don’t vary the way shoes on a basketball team do.

You also can’t look out in the outfield and see special designs on caps the way two goalies on a hockey team have unique designs on their masks.

Basketball has a built in marketing advantage compared to other sports, because their attire is applicable to the life of a common person.

Someone could leave the house in gym shorts, a tank top, and basketball sneakers and go to the grocery store. Try doing that in baseball cleats or hockey pads.

It’s really awesome that Reebok and BAIT have worked with the Kings to design these shoes, because shoe culture is relatively devoid of as much hockey references as there could be.

I acknowledge that there’s logical reasons for that, but much respect for some outside-the-box thinking from this collaboration.

The shoes themselves look like a work of art. There’s a Kevlar upper to compliment the suede used throughout, in a slick take on the classic Rebook Ventilator Supreme.

The shoe will be released on January 26 at the BAIT’s location in Los Angeles on Melrose Avenue for $135. All remaining pairs will be raffled online on January 30.

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It’s an exceptional idea for these groups to come together in celebrating the city of Los Angeles getting to host the NHL All Star Game, and the resulting product looks fantastic.