What started out as a joke on Twitter is now reality: Wingstop made a branded sneaker.
It all began late last year when someone tweeted that their mom thought the insignia on their dark green Air Jordans resembled Wingstop’s logo.
The tweet went viral, and the nearly 1,800-unit wing chain partnered with custom shoemaker The Shoe Surgeon to create a sneaker design that’s been dubbed “Lemon Pepper 1’s.”
Basketball star Michael Jordan first wore his Nike Air Jordan 1’s in 1985, and several versions have been introduced since.
Wingstop’s green-and-white sneakers will be given away starting Thursday on the chain’s Instagram, Twitter and TikTok accounts, only for people who’ve registered for The Club, Wingstop’s fan club.
Wingstop's winged logo bears a striking resemblance to a certain popular athletic shoe brand, which has long been noticed by fans.
Each panel of the shoe represents a different aspect of the wing chain’s “flavor process,” the company said.
Cream-colored suede is a nod to Wingstop’s popular ranch dressing; shaggy tan suede swooshes mimic the texture of fried wings and tenders; the shoe’s tongues feature a packet of Lemon Pepper seasoning, along with textured leather like the texture of the chain’s brown bags; the shoe’s liners include the tagline “Wings. Fries. Sides. Repeat”; and Wingstop’s winged logo takes up the real estate on the heel.
The shoes come with extra laces and sneaker nests, in a box in a large canvas tote that resembles Wingstop's take-out bags.
“The Lemon Pepper 1’s signify Wingstop’s growing restaurant footprint with nearly 1,800 restaurants globally and aspirations to operate over 7,000 in the future,” said Marisa Carona, Wingstop’s chief growth officer, in a statement. “Some of our biggest fans can now flaunt flavor on their sneaks, whether they’re picking up an online order, eating in our newly-opened dining rooms or simply repping their fandom while going about their day.”
The Shoe Surgeon has also partnered with Pizza Hut to make two versions of “Pie Tops” sneakers. The very limited-edition shoes allowed wearers to order a pizza with a press of a button and even pause live TV.
“I love making commercial cool,” Shoe Surgeon founder Dominic Ciambrone said in a statement. “Partnering with Wingstop came full circle in bringing a fun meme to life with the Lemon Pepper 1’s.”
At the time the tweet went viral, someone commented that Wingstop’s shoes should be called “lemon pepper stepper 1’s.”
“Consider it done,” Wingstop replied.
Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.