Vans vs Adidas: Battle of the Toy Story Collabs

Collabs have always been around, but it seems like these days brands are integrating collabs into their everyday marketing strategies. You can order a “Travis Scott Meal” at McDonalds. Or how about Tik Tok star Charli D’amio’s signature drink at Dunkin Donuts (turns out it’s just a cold brew coffee with milk and caramel swirl…). But you see my point, collabs SELL! I’m not gonna lie, I just copped a pair of Anderson Paak Vans myself. So now that Pixar Week is among us, let’s talk about Toy Story collabs.

Vans and Adidas. Both have a great reputation with high quality retail presence when it comes to sneakers. BUT, let’s break down their collabs. I’m going to assess each of their Toy Story Collabs on the following criteria: style, products (not just shoes!), Toy-Story-ness, Shoe box packaging and overall offerings in terms of gender and age groups, 

So let’s start with style. 

Vans score: 8/10
Adidas score: 9/10

Although this category depends on your sneaker “taste,” both Vans and Adidas have fairly stylish options for their Toy Story collections. Vans offer an old school vibe with bright colors and character designs, while Adidas offer a modern day “athleisure” twist to their Toy Story line. Both offer variation of high tops and low tops, although I have to give adidas bonus points for coming up with a high top Rex design. Adidas really wanted to imagine “if this character were a sneaker, which sneaker would they be?” 

Vans on the other hand, integrated images of the characters themselves onto their sneakers, so it’s a no brainer that when you are looking at this shoe with the claw aliens, there is no question this is a Toy Story design. 

Because of Adidas’s true marriage of character personality and sneaker style, Adidas ranks higher in this category, but just slightly. 

Products in the Collection:
Vans: 8/10
Adidas: 10/10

Overall, Vans offers a very tasteful group of products in their Toy Story line. Aside from sneakers, the collection included backpacks, hats and socks, that all paired well with the designs of the sneakers. Like if you were a little kid and wanted to show up to school decked out in your favorite character, you could. 

But okay, maybe I’m biased towards Rex here, but this jersey is fly. Are you kidding, the jersey sponsor is Pizza Planet! I’m not even kidding you, if this were offered in adult size, every kid at a UMass would be rocking this at the townhouses (as they chug a 30 rack of Natty lights). Adidas stays on brand with their own products and offer fun hoodies, tees and even a Toy Story basketball. Talk about RANGE! For that, a perfect score.

Toy Story-ness:
Vans: 10/10
Adidas: 7/10

Here is where the plot thickens. While Adidas has been knocking it out of the park so far, we can’t sleep on Vans. I mean, you can’t get more “Toy Story” than this:

These shoes are absolutely classic. They are thoughtfully designed with Woody’s entire makeup in mind. From the yellow plaid shirt, down to the Andy on the soles. This screams Toy Story to me. Not only that, but Vans put the Toy Story logo on the tongue of each shoe, giving it an authentic connection to the movie. 

As much as I would like to say Adidas embodied each character, some of their products were not Toy Story enough for me. Color scheme was clearly the main focus of their designs. While some of their sneakers look like nice athletic shoes, I am not “wow-ed” by their overall Toy Story design. 

Shoe Box Design:
Vans: 9/10
Adidas: 8/10

Where are my people that like to keep shoe boxes? If you’re reading, this category is for you. Both are strong competitors in this category. Again, Vans offering an absolute classic design. The iconic sky wall paper that epitomizes Toy Story. 

But we have to give major creativity credit to Adidas for making their box look like a Toy Chest. How cute is that? Kids could literally take out their shoes and use the box as a toy holder if they wanted to. While it is SO cute, it deviates from the toys in Toy Story just a little, given the football and other stickers on the top. 

I give Vans an edge in this round because of their Toy Story branding and collectability of the box. While both are nice, the Vans box is timeless, and in itself a collectors item. 

Overall offerings:

We have reached the final category in our Toy Story Showdown. And it is time to assess each collection as a whole – as we address the question, would you buy this? 

Although it is a close call right now, this category determines the winner. We have come to the conclusion that both collaborations are in sync with their own brands and the Toy Story brand. They both incorporate design and creativity to come up with two completely different lines. In that sense, they are both winners here. 

But now we must assess whether or not you would buy their Toy Story product. Bonus credit to both sneakers for creating shoes that are non-gender conforming and unisex options. Well done. But Adidas has fallen short in this category since their shoes are only for kids!! Excuse me? Do you know the Toy Story fan base? Toy Story is for everyone! That is the point! I can’t believe Adidas launched a line that excluded adults from purchasing. It’s a mind blowing marketing strategy in my opinion. For that reason, Vans reigns supreme. 

Vans: 10/10
Adidas: 3/10

Numbers don’t lie, check the scoreboard!

Grand Totals: 

Vans: A (45/50)

Adidas: B (37/50)


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