These days, it takes more than just a pretty shoe with nice colors on luxe materials for sneakerheads to open up their wallets. Concepts, premium sneaker boutique and pride and joy of Boston, have always known this and have pushed a lot of their efforts into the collaborative special releases with over-the-top exhibitions, fitting themes and, as examined here, its epic presentations. From well-designed box overlays and wraps to completely redesigning how a sneaker is packaged, the purveyors of premium hold nothing back when selling their kicks — attention is given to everything from the sneaker itself, the box, timing and even the store displays which have ranged from clean minimalistic color toning to extremely well thought out exhibitions.
So how far does presentation go? We take a look back at some of our favorite releases to dissect how and why Concepts truly knows how to sell a pair of sneakers, starting with the stellar Baseball-themed presentation seen in the most recent “City Rivalry Pack” — Boston’s box is based on popcorn while New York’s box mimics the time-honored classic Cracker Jack package — available online April 15.
Concepts x Nike 20th Anniversary Free Trainer 1.0
For this Nike collaboration taking advantage of a rainbow palette that mimicked thermal reactive materials, a sleek black box was outfitted with a silhouette of the hyper colored insole of the shoe, making the resulting visual almost like an x-ray of what’s inside. No huge gimmick here, just an attractive shoe housed inside an equally attractive shoe box. Many will also draw parallel to Apple products with this packaging — a grand compliment to both Concepts and Apple, who seemingly have an eye for presentation.
Concepts x Asics Gel-Respector
Perhaps the most tongue-in-cheek box of Concepts’ history, the Gel-Respectors in this “Miami” release utilized a hi-res scan of US cash all over the box, stacks on stacks on stacks. The shoe itself remained true to the theme with its vibrant green upper, but sneakerheads all over Miami (where the shoes initially dropped) loved the presentation for this — who doesn’t want to see a giant box of cash in their closet?
Concepts x Nike SB “Holy Grail Pack”
Nothing could be more befitting of a theme than “Holy Grail” for this multi-shoe release with Nike SB. Not only were the “standard” (for lack of a better word) Concepts boxes impressively similar to elements of biblical times with stained glass window designs, but the most impressive of the lot would have to be the packaging for the Dunk Low SB. The low-top sneaker released in a holographic patterned silver box, a wooden puzzle box that must be “unlocked” in order to open, and an actual cement box as its most exclusive container which some claimed weighed almost 20 lbs alone.
Concepts x ASICS GEL-Lyte III “Boston Tea Party”
The “Boston Tea Party” GEL-Lyte III not only gave sneakerheads an extremely attractive red/blue/Cloud-colored upper with both gold and silver accents, but the buildout for the Concepts NYC store was over-the-top — guests entered the store to find a dock with boxes of ASICS thrown overboard of a ship’s massive hull. While the store presentation brought excess to a whole new level, the box however was more refined with its beige x brown gradient design that resembled the artwork during the 18th century. Nevertheless, a highlightable box and presentation for a coveted sneaker to this day.
Concepts x ASICS GEL-Lyte V “8-Ball”
When Concepts opened its first brick-and-mortar store in the Tribeca area of NYC, fans knew the store would pull no punches when it came to their displays and in-store experience. Enter the “8-Ball” release, which actually altered the front facade of the store to mimic that of a rundown “den” for illegal substances. The presentation for the “brick” box followed suit, having a white Concepts box with a menacing logo sheet accompanying a duct-taped and saran-wrapped exterior for the most elaborate — and ultimately frustrating to open — package that season.
Concepts x Nike Dunk High SB “Ugly Sweater Pack”
If you can remember back to the good old days of Nike SB, you’ll recall outlandish patterns and themes, some of which were quick to catch but others left people wondering “whats this based off of?” Not these — the Nike Dunk High SB “Ugly Sweaters” were just that: instantly recognizable. The shoes came in a great tin “Happy Holidays” box, with hopes of conjuring up flashbacks of Christmas at grandma’s house filled with tinsel, holly, and those sugar cookies everyone loved. Colorful box for colorful sneakers — it just made sense.
Concepts x Nike Dunk Low SB “Blue Lobster”
And here it is — the epitome of viral marketing. When the original Concepts x Nike Dunk Low SB “Lobsters” came out in red, ‘heads were already won over with its presentation (especially the seafood-ready rubber band around the toe box). But the boutique wasn’t done; Bostonians started seeing signs all over town warning of a rare “Blue Lobster” and the dangers associated with it. The story behind it was that apparently radioactive “Blue Lobsters” were making its way to shores which, according to Concepts, actually had locals call Massachusetts officials to inquire about their safety. The packaging for the “Blue Lobsters” thus lived up to the viral hype, stored within a styrofoam container adorned with radioactive warning labels and sealed in a plastic bag to perfectly accompany the hype surrounding the War of the Worlds-esque storytelling.