If there’s anything in this world that will return a small sense of normalcy to my life (and by “my life” I mean my life, as Sprudge’s Chief Coffee News Trawl. This is a personal journey I’m on but you’re welcome to come along for the ride), it’s finding coffee streetwear collaborations that I can’t have, sneakers in particular. I’ve attempted on multiple occasions to bark for a free pair of coffee-themed shoes over the years, without a single bite to date; in the regular world as in the coffee world, news of my clout has been greatly over-exaggerated, mostly by me. The closest I ever came was when someone read my pleas for a pair of Saucony Café du Monde Shadow 5000s in Beignet Brown and offered to sell me a pair—in the wrong size and color, mind you—for $750; a 6x markup isn’t exactly the direction I’m looking for the retail price to go here. It was laughable. I laughed.
So when I heard news of the new sneaker collaboration between Parisian cyclewear/coffee shop Steel and Le Coq Sportif, I knew I had to have them. And then when I found out they were an Asia-only release, but for a brief moment, that old feeling of the thrill of defeat came rushing back.
And it’s not just shoes. Steel has collaborated with Le Coq Sportif to create an entire collection of cycling and running apparel. The line, called “Mais? / Parce que.” (which translates to “Why? Because that’s what it is.”), is the second partnership between the cafe and the clothing brand best known outside of France as the apparel sponsor of French tennis star and owner of the whippiest flourish in the game Richard Gasquet.
Based Le Coq Sportif’s R800 runner, the sneaker—constructed with a synthetic fiber and artificial leather upper—features a brand-new colorway designed with Steel. Pearl whites, light greys, and steel blues comprise the foundation of the shoes color palette, with big color pops coming from the teal tongue, light yellow laces, and teal and yellow sole. A “Mais.?” Word bubble and the words “PARCE QUE” stitched on the left and right sneakers, respectively, along with the Steel logo on the heel and “Steel + Le Cog Sportif” collab tag add a little pizzazz to an otherwise smart, understated shoe.
Though a combination of two French brands, the Le Coq Sportif R800 Steel is a Japanese exclusive. They are currently available online for ¥16,500 ($155 USD).
Which is to say, I know these aren’t gonna happen for me. Yes, I could theoretically purchase them and theoretically pay out the nose for shipping, but then what? Wear them? Outside? It’s a bit gauche, no? The whole point is the chase, and there for a second—roughly around paragraph three—I thought to myself, “maybe this will actually be the one, maybe I’ll finally score a free pair of coffee collab sneakers,” before the pragmatic realities brought me back to earth (where I haven’t worn shoes in months). But still, for that brief instant, I was soaring high on the wings of self-grandeur. Sometimes that’s enough.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.
Top image via Le Coq Sportif