This is one of the multiple ways that esports will grow its monetization and eventually become a $1.7 billion business worldwide by 2021, according to market researcher Newzoo.
The Los Angeles-based Immortals, which has teams across multiple esports esports games like Overwatch (under the L.A. Valiant name) and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, teamed up to design a shoe from the popular youth brand K-Swiss back in April. And now the limited edition Immortals Icon shoe is available for $110 on the K-Swiss store. They sent me a pair to try out, and you can see the comparison to my usual sartorial style in the picture below.
“Esports is exploding, and we’re excited to be at the forefront,” said Barney Waters, K-Swiss’ brand president, in a statement. “Immortals is a great organization to be partnered with as we explore together the intersection of sneakers and esports. As shown in the Immortals Icon, this creative zone is one we continue to focus energy on.”
The company says the Immortals Icon represents the very best of esports and gaming and builds on the history of Immortals competitive success. The sneaker design reflects collaboration between Immortals professional players and K-Swiss’s world-leading designers.
It’s certainly got an aerodynamic silhouette. It’s snug and makes me feel like I can do a flying kick. And it’s more comfortable than my usual shoes. If you really want to show off the branding, you can just cross your legs and people will see the Immortals logo on the bottom of the shoe, which is an all-black engineered knit with premium leather and a heel pillow.
The sneaker sports Immortals branding and comes with two pairs of shoelaces in Immortals colors of black and teal that fans instantly recognized across the world. I’m going with the more subtle black shoelaces for now. The teal insole reminds me of my dearly departed dress shoes, which you can see above.
“We embrace our players’ unique styles and understand that personal expression and performance are uniquely tied together,” said Noah Whinston, Immortals executive chairman, in a statement. “K-Swiss has been a true partner as we workshopped, collaborated and ideated on the Immortals Icon sneaker. This sneaker is only the beginning as our game-changing performance shoe collaboration is yet to come.”
K-Swiss is doing two shoes with the Immortals. One of the shoes is the lifestyle model that just came out, while the other is a technical performance model for pro gamers. And of course they’re being designed with gamer culture in mind.
Set to launch in mid-2019 is “The Grandmaster,” the world’s first competitive gaming sneaker developed hand in hand by K-Swiss designers and Immortals players to reflect the needs of the esports professional.