Flipping sneakers may now be a viable occupation, but there are only a few shoes that you can sell for several months' worth of rent. There’s the “Heaven’s Gate” Nikes (the ones the infamous cult wore to board their paradise-bound UFO), and the Adidas x Pharrell x Chanel collab. But the rarest and most expensive sneaker of all isn’t made by one of the big three footwear companies: It’s made by Apple.
Steve Jobs was, famously, a New Balance 992 evangelist, and in the early ’90s (during Jobs’s hiatus from the company), Apple prototyped its own version of the Silicon Valley dad sneaker. The chunky white trainer was distributed to employees, the story goes, and then shelved and forgotten. The shoe is not the most beautiful product Apple ever designed: There are photos of slightly different versions in circulation, but an authentic pair put up for sale by Heritage Auctions in 2017 (estimate: $30,000) looks like a cross between an Air Max 90 and a DC Lynx, in a supremely geriatric shade of taupe. Today, the sneaker is a nostalgic artifact from the simpler days of computing and sneakers—looking at the O.G. ’90s rainbow Apple logo, you can just imagine Palo Alto whizzes lacing these up back when they dressed like nerdy hippies, decades before they invented the iPhone.
Since Apple’s footwear experiment started and ended over two decades ago, it’s been up to other brands to interpret their design for the sneakerhead era. In the excitement that followed the 2017 auction (result: not sold), Versace’s star sneaker designer Salehe Bembury teased a Versace-fied replica that, sadly, was never released. Now: eureka! Concepts and Mephisto have linked up for a tribute sneaker that’s dropping Friday, April 19.
The Match doesn’t look exactly like the Apple sneaker, but that’s a good thing. It still ticks off the boxes you want it to: It’s got the chunky white sole, the rainbow logo, the wide stance that promises unparalleled foot comfort. It’s no wonder Jobs, who was so picky about his clothing that he had Issey Miyake custom-design his black mock-necks, didn’t revive Apple’s failed apparel program when he returned to the company in 1997. He wore the most well-designed and -produced version of his daily wardrobe, and kept Apple doing what it did best.
So it’s fitting that Concepts, the Boston-based streetwear shop, partnered with Mephisto, which is kind of like the Apple of comfort shoes. Founded in France in 1965, Mephisto produces ultra-cushy shoes handmade and designed to be rebuilt once you’ve worn them out, like a Goodyear welted dress shoe. There’s a reason the Match is popular among European pensioners—Mephistos are famous for their joint- and back-saving technology. But the brand has recently made inroads with streetwear heads, too, who get down with the shoe’s meticulous construction and if you know, you know levels of popularity in the States.
In a world where a sneaker shop teams up with a French orthopedic shoe company to retro a sneaker made by a computer company, is it so unlikely that Apple might one day drop another pair of kicks? For now, we recommend throwing away your Allbirds and cashing out your stock options: The Concepts x Mephisto Match, which’ll run you $390 (still a steal compared to the originals), drops in-store and online on Friday.