'Sneaking' onto the Berlin subway in the right kind of shoes
By Ira Spitzer
Subway users in Berlin have a new way to pay their fare in the German capital and it has something to do with their footwear. All they have to do is wear a pair of limited edition Adidas sneakers.
The shoes are the result of an unusual collaboration between German sports company Adidas and Berlin's transit authority, the BVG. 
Their design is based on the now iconic pattern used on subway seats and riders wearing the sneakers don't need a train or bus ticket for the rest of the year. 
The value of that ticket is worth more than four times the shoes' 220 US dollar price tag.
"We are showing with this how cool Berlin's public transportation is," said BVG Chairwoman Sigrid Nikutta. "How cool it is to take the subway, buses and trams in Berlin."
People in the Adidas store in Berlin buying the shoes /VCG Photo

People in the Adidas store in Berlin buying the shoes /VCG Photo

Some people waited in line for over forty eight hours to purchase a pair.
"There's a hard limit on the number of these shoes," said Marc Leuchsner, owner of the shop Overkill which is stocking the sneakers. 
"There's only five hundred of them. Every shoe has a number. That means each shoe is special."
One Berliner said this was the first time he'd ever waited in line to buy shoes. "I want to have them both as a train ticket and also as a keepsake," he said.
Several people said they planned to resell the sneakers online, as shoe collectors are often interested in items with a limited stock.
"I really like the shoe, but on the other hand it could bring me a lot of profit," said Jonas Wentar as he waited in line. "So if it’s enough, maybe I sell it."
People waiting in line outside the Adidas store in Berlin /VCG Photo

People waiting in line outside the Adidas store in Berlin /VCG Photo

The sneaker resale market has exploded in recent years, and is thought to be worth around a billion dollars globally. Shortly after they went on sale, the shoes were already being offered on eBay for over 1,000 US dollars.
Despite the hype, there were still some who criticized the shoes as a marketing gimmick.
"We have a situation where the city is growing by fifty thousand people a year and doesn't have enough subway cars," said Jens Wieseke, Deputy Chairperson, of the Berlin Passenger's Association. 
"Seen in this light, the sneakers don't seem like such a great idea."
The BVG transit authority has run a series of high profile marketing campaigns in recent years. This campaign was timed to coincide with the group's 90th anniversary, as well as Berlin Fashion Week.