This article originally appeared on VICE Germany
Earlier this week, hundreds of sneakerheads camped out outside of Overkill, a shoe store in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood of Berlin, hoping to get their hands on a pair of limited edition Adidas trainers. The shoes, which are sold at €180 (£160), come with an annual Berlin transit ticket sewn into the tongue – a ticket generally worth €700 (£617).
The 500 pair run is a collaboration between Adidas and the Berlin Public Transport Authority (BVG). In addition to the season ticket, the trainers are fitted with the same iconic design as the fabric on Berlin’s older U-Bahn seats. Despite having commissioned their own line of shoes, the BVG are keen to point out that you still can’t put them up on the seats.
On Tuesday the 16th, the morning of the release, VICE Germany spoke with some of the devoted campers to find out how they were coping and what they plan to do with the trainers.
VICE: Where are you from?
Andreas: I came up from Leipzig, and have been camping here for two days.
Are you a collector?
Yeah – I like owning things that nobody else has. I only have ten pairs of sneakers, but they’re all unique. For example, I have my surname on one pair, my daughter’s name on another, and my wedding date on a third.
My wife thinks I’m completely mad, but my daughter thinks it’s cool. "Dad, are you sleeping in the street?" she asked me when I spoke to her on video chat. "Yes," I replied, and she was like, "Oh, cool!" Though I think she was a little scared because she’s never seen me like this before. I like doing stupid things from time to time.
What do you like about the shoes?
This model is very comfortable, and the design is chic. I’m not actually going to wear them, they’re going in an acrylic glass case so they don’t get dusty.
How did you survive the cold nights?
At around 4PM every day, I had a tea with a little something special added into it. The grappa was really good for morale. I've also snuck a few beers when nobody was watching. Also, I’m actually wearing about eight layers of clothing and I have two sleeping bags. If you need the loo, you’re allowed to go but quickly, otherwise you’ll lose your spot.
VICE: How long have you been camping?
Luka: For about three days. This is the fifth time that I've camped for a pair of shoes. My last time was in the summer, which was cool – it was like a festival.
What do you do to not freeze out here?
I have a sleeping bag, a camping stove, two beers and a power bank. Some friends have brought me a scarf, a croissant and a second sleeping bag. I think they pity me a little bit. Also, I’m layered up like an onion – I’m wearing a t-shirt, an alpaca jumper, a fleece, a woolly jumper, a windbreaker and two scarves. I’ve got trackies under my normal trousers and some army socks pulled right up like tights. And my beer.
Would you call yourself a sneakerhead?
Theoretically, yes. I own around 40 pairs of Nikes, but these will be my first non-Nikes. The brand is actually not that important to me – I mainly care about the style. And I really like the old school U-Bahn styled pattern on the shoes. Also, they look really comfortable. I don’t care about the year’s travel card, because I already have one. But it’s a cool marketing campaign.
VICE: How long have you been sitting here?
Sarah: Since yesterday at around 10PM. This is the first time that I’ve camped out, and I’m here with my brother, my boyfriend and my aunt.
Will you actually wear the shoes?
Yeah, I plan to show them off as often as I can. But, of course, I have to be careful – I will be pretty pissed off if someone steps on them. As there are only 500 of them, I might sell them on for some cash, but it would be cool to keep them for myself. I’d actually be annoyed if I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. I once sold a pair of Air Jordans for €600 (£530), but I really wanted to keep them.
How much do you think you could sell the shoes for?
There are already people offering around €700 online. Some people will try and sell them for up to €2,000 on eBay, but I doubt they'll go for that much.
VICE: Why are you freezing your arse off for a pair of trainers?
Mika: I think they’re really cool. Also, it’s worth it just for the public transport pass. At the moment, I only have a monthly U-Bahn ticket.
Do you think they’re beautiful?
Yes, I especially love the pattern. But, obviously, the best thing about them is that there are only 500 of them.
How long have you been waiting?
Since yesterday morning, so not that long. There were already about a hundred people camping out here. When I came by to check on Sunday afternoon, there were only about ten to 15 people. A lot of my friends think I'm insane, but most of them support me.
VICE: Why are you here?
Irene: For my kids. My daughter and her husband are on their way from Hannover and asked me to help them out.
How did you react when your children asked you to wait in line for them?
The worst part was that they initially did not tell me what this was all for, they just asked to come and stand here. My daughter then explained everything to me on the phone this morning, but she will take over when she's back.
How have you made it through so far?
I often stand up for up to ten hours straight at the flea market. Also, I can't use a chair because my knees are knackered, and so if I sit, I won’t be able to get up again. But it’s fun to me – if it wasn’t I wouldn’t do it. I’m dressed in thick clothes and just need a blanket and warm trousers.
Have you ever done anything like this before?
No, never. But I did once stand by the Brandenburg Gate for a whole New Year’s Eve just to get TV presenter Andrea Kiewel’s autograph. But never anything like this. To be fair, the shoes are pretty nice – I would wear them myself. The season ticket is also cool, but I have no use for it, because I already have one.