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It's crazy to think about the scale of certain media properties in contrast to their merchandizing efforts: One Piece, for instance, is objectively one of the world's most popular manga series, boasting ultra-popular anime, video games, toys, and tchotchkes aplenty. For some reason, though, One Piece has never enjoyed a proper team-up with a major footwear company.
This distinguishes One Piece from shonen manga peers like Dragon Ball and Naruto, which each partnered with adidas over the past few years.
Finally, a proper One Piece sneaker collab appears to be on the way and it comes courtesy of Vans, the same company that just gave us a massive Sailor Moon team-up earlier this summer.
According to leaks that've begun circulating on Instagram, a pair of One Piece Vans Authentics and Nico Robin-themed Old Skools are dropping on November 11, giving the long-running manga a worthy first-time heavyweight footwear team-up. It seems like some folks are being seeded pairs early but nothing set in stone yet.
Like the One Piece franchise itself, the rumored Vans Authentics lean a little juvenille, what with their all-over Straw Hat Pirate logos but the jute-style upper and rope laces are comparably clever nods to One Piece's pirate culture.
Reportedly, the insole also sports logo co-branding, so the collaboration seems to be legit, though neither party has confirmed any details yet (obviously).
Knowing Vans, if it is planning a One Piece drop, it's going to be massive, encompassing multiple sneaker silhouettes and graphic apparel — the skatewear brand is nothing if not thorough.
It's a good time to be a millennial Shonen Jump fan: Yu-Gi-Oh! just scored its own big footwear collaboration from adidas, marking the first time that these giant Japanese franchises nabbed their own footwear lines.
I should clarify, though, that One Piece has co-signed plenty of sneakers in the past, including Skechers and the in-house "byA" collection created by Japanese footwear retailer ABC Mart.
One Piece has also mostly linked with apparel giants like GCDS, Kappa, and UNIQLO, which is probably fine by fans: they aren't looking for anything terribly advanced, just new ways to rep their faves and these Vans will do just fine.