Foot in Mouth

Sneakerheads sink their teeth into new footwear designs inspired by food

Young people’s interest in fleeting products and experiences is contributing to a culture in which limited-edition items are approaching Birkin-level status symbols. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the footwear category, where sneaker fans line up for product launches the way their parents lined up for concert tickets. The latest limited-edition lines are tapping into something young people love almost as much as their shoes: food.


J.Crew and New Balance recently teamed up to give the footwear brand’s 997 silhouette a retro-inspired makeover reminiscent of Grandpa’s tastiest candy. Crafted in premium suede and leather uppers at New Balance’s factory in Skowhegan, Maine, the limited edition “Butterscotch” sneaker dropped in stores and online in March for $210—and is currently selling on resale sites for upwards of $300. The shoe comes in rich, warm hues of browns and creams evocative of its tasty namesake, the latest in a line of exclusive colorways that the two brands have collaborated on in recent years.


With the success of its colorfully soled, GS-exclusive Nike Air Foamposite One sneakers (unofficially dubbed “Fruity Pebbles” due to its uncanny resemblance to the beloved Post breakfast cereal), the brand is bringing back the vibrant graphic, this time with a black matte upper finish. Food is finding its way into other Nike designs as well. Earlier this month, the brand launched the Nike SB Dunk High Premium Waffle, calling it “soul food for your feet.” Legend has it that the favorite meal of a number of Nike SB pros is Chicken and Waffles, which inspired the shoe’s mouth-watering design.


Designed with children in mind (or perhaps those with early-onset nostalgia), the new KD 8s are inspired by one of basketballer Kevin Durant’s favorite things to eat growing up. Though the KD 6 was the first to see a food-themed colorway, the KD 8 PBJ is the first kids’ sneaker with a peanut butter-and-jelly motif: a full white-based upper with a jelly graphic covering the toe area and running up the mid-foot section of the shoe. The line is part of Kevin Durant’s collection with Nike, which includes a range of shoes and activewear for men, women, and children.