The world took notice when word broke last week that Ronnie Fieg and Kith would be teaming up with Asics to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the X-Men franchise. Then when we found out that it was a blind box reveal set up to mimic the trading cards we all loved and collected as kids, our inner child became really nostalgic. A buzz started to build, and before you knew it, the sneaker world was absolutely turned on its head. The collection seemingly came out of nowhere and became the most sought-after release on the market.
The Kith x Asics x X-Men pack consisted of 7 total sneakers that came in a sealed box with no clues as to what pair was inside until you opened them. The ASICS Gel-Lyte III '07 Remastered was the chosen silhouette. X-Men characters of Storm, Beast, Rogue, Gambit, Cyclops, and Wolverine all had a pair designed after their character's signature look from the 1980s. Each is limited to 2,500 pairs. Each pair also came with a hologram trading card corresponding to the superhero and had a few rarity variations. With Wolverine being hands down the most popular character in the franchise Fieg and company decided to up the ante for his offering. In an interview, Fieg recalled how, as a child collecting trading cards, the elusive hologram cards, also known as chase cards, were so hard to find and carried the most value. A unique Wolverine chase shoe was included in the collection to further the trading card narrative, and only 416 total pairs were produced. The chase shoes were designed to resemble Wolverine's signature look from the 1975 comics and came with a special X-Men Team card instead of an individual.
The rollout was pure genius. The comic collecting community likely dwarfs the sneaker world in great numbers and celebrates every year with their Comic-Con San Diego. This year Kith was given a special booth at Comic-Con and gave convention goers first access to cop the collection. This was a nice touch, ensuring that actual fans and collectors had access, not resellers. Consumers at Comic-Con who wanted to buy the pairs on-site were given a QR code to complete their purchase, and pairs were shipped directly to their homes.
Then on Friday, Fieg was interviewed at Comic-Con and streamed it live via Kith's Instagram. About 10 minutes into that interview, the bomb was dropped, a Kithstrike. The infamous Kith shock drops that occurred when the brand was growing was back. Fieg announced, "Head over to Kith.com for a little surprise." With less than 800 viewers tuned in then, there wasn't much competition to complete the purchase.
It took a few days for the mystery box to ship, but it felt like Christmas once it arrived. The suspense had been building while I waited for my shipment as the thoughts of the character reveal danced in my head. The package arrived, and the wait was over.
There was also a release via raffle on the Kith App that gave everyone another chance to secure the blind box. Then finally came the actual "release date" of July 28th, where pairs were on sale at Kith locations in the US and online. Typically a staggered roll-out like this is a bit of a death sentence for sneaker hype, but given the concept of this release, it only helped build it.
The Kith x Asics x X-Men packaging was proper and worthy of the 60th Anniversary. The outer layer was a thin sleeve with a black-on-black rendering from an OG X-Men Comic. Once you slide the sleeve off, you reveal the inner shoe box.
The inner box is a vibrant orange with an X-Men comic on the front and plenty of Marvel, Kith, and Asics branding throughout. It was also interesting to note that the words "SERIES 1" were prominently displayed on the box, implying that there may be subsequent collaborations. The box was sealed with a pull tab and no markings, serial numbers, or UPC codes to indicate what character shoes you received.
Ripping the box was fun; it made you feel like a kid and went a long way in building the suspense of the reveal. Once the box was ripped, the top flap pulled back to reveal a chrome mylar bag studded with X-Men comic designs. Also in the box was the card, but if you want the full experience of the reveal, don't look at the card until after you open the shoes. The mylar bag was sealed and required scissors to open, so stay close to the seal to avoid accidentally cutting the shoes. Once the bag is opened, there's only one thing left to do.
The experience is very nostalgic, makes you feel like a real collector, and reminds you how fun sneakers can be. It's unlike any other sneaker unboxing ever, as you have no idea what's inside the box, and the fact that you have three different layers of packaging to navigate before the reveal. Each layer builds anticipation to the point where you no longer care which colorway is inside.
With the sealed bag opened, that new sneaker smell wafts up and increases the excitement. You reach inside and can feel a piece of tissue paper wrapped around the shoe. You can also feel the quality of the materials used on this pair; the touch of the buttery soft nubuck makes you realize how unique this collection is as you pull your pair from its bag. The pair in this bag was the Gambit design. With the shoes exposed, you can reach back for the trading card, which turned out to be the pink background variation.
With the sneakers and card rereleased, give yourself a second to appreciate the effort and craftsmanship that went into this project. The creative minds of Kith, Asics, and Marvel came together for this offering, and the collective genius shows that this is truly a work of art.
The Gambit colorway is one of the more neutrals of the Kith x ASICS x X-Men Gel Lyte III '07 Remastered collection. Super soft salmon-colored mudguard runs all the way around the lower portion of the upper. It is so responsive you can see the trail your finger leaves when you brush it across the material. A beige perforated leather is used for the toe box and medial panel that is soft and smooth but also helps to make the shoes a bit more breathable. A soft red is used for the Asics log on both sides and a cage-like detail on the heel cap.
The tongue is one of the unique features Fieg added when he worked with Asics to remaster the Gel-Lyte III a few years back. Instead of the typical single-unit pull-style tongue, this updated model has the tongue split down the middle that overlaps and closes when you tie the shoes. The overlapping split tongue also lets the soft red sock liner peep through, tiring in the color used on the Asics logo. The right and left tongues have Fieg and X-Men branding stitched on, respectively, with even more branding on the underside. The shoes come preloaded with rope-style laces in red and beige patterns and white and beige options in case you want to swap.
The undercarriage of the shoe is simple white with a white base midsole that gives way to a pale cream color for a small section towards the middle. Solid black outsole to match the eye stays round out the genuinely masterful design.
This collection is remarkable, one for the ages. With all the shoes being so limited, it's hard to imagine a scenario where this release would ever be forgotten about. The rollout and release of the shoe were legendary, and in a world where leaks and backdoored early pairs are the norm, it's a monstrous accomplishment in its own right. The build-up came at just the right time to coincide with Comic-Con, and the buzz from the sneaker community would rival that of any Travis Scott release.
The packaging of the shoes was meticulous, and the concept was genius. Making us all remember just how fun it was ripping open packs of trading cards without a chair in the world. Oh, and the shoes delivered. Top-quality materials are put together in the colorways of superheroes.
While the shoes themself stand-alone, the concept and release were magic. While some of the colorways in the collection could find their way into the Sneaker Of The Year conversation, there's no question that this was the Release Of The Year. In fact, this was the greatest sneaker release of all time.