Chaos and violence erupted when hundreds of people showed up to get 99-cent sneakers from Adidas and Arizona Iced Tea — see what happened

Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderSome people said they waited in line for hours only to walk away with nothing.
  • Adidas and Arizona Iced Tea recently collaborated to create two sneaker designs that cost $US0.99 each. They were set to be released at a New York City pop-up store on Thursday morning.
  • But before the store even opened on the first day, the event quickly devolved into chaos – the police shut it down after two teenagers were assaulted in line. Hundreds of people had turned up for the event.
  • “I can’t be out here, risking my life for a pair of 99-cent sneakers,” one eyewitness told Business Insider.
  • We were on the scene and spoke with people who waited all night for the sneakers only to be sent home empty-handed.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The sneaker craze has taken a chaotic turn.

The New York Police Department shut down a sneaker pop-up event near Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood on Thursday after two teenagers were assaulted and taken to a hospital, a police representative confirmed to Business Insider.

Adidas and Arizona Iced Tea recently announced a limited giveaway of two original sneaker designs inspired by the colours and design of Arizona Iced Tea. The sneakers, which cost only $US0.99 a pair, were supposed to go for a limited time exclusively at a pop-up store at 208 Bowery in New York City beginning at 11 a.m. But the event was shut down before it could begin, and hundreds of people were turned away empty-handed.

Some people described waiting in line for 10 hours only to walk away with nothing. Lines stretched around city blocks and overflowed into the streets. The scene was chaotic, filled with police cars, barricades, and ambulances.

Here’s what we saw:


We arrived at 10:30 a.m. There were hundreds of people lined up on the Bowery.

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There were scattered police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances along the street of the pop-up location.

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People were standing in line, but they seemed to have little idea about what was going on. There were rumours of an assault.

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The crowd was at its thickest near the location of the would-be pop-up shop.

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Here, there was a heavy presence of police officers and law enforcement. They were telling people to clear the area and keep moving because the event had been closed.

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The New York Police Department later confirmed that two people had been assaulted at the event: a 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl. No arrests had been made.

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An eyewitness to one of the assaults said a representative from the pop-up informed the crowd that all tickets and wristbands required for entry were given away. People became agitated, and the witness described seeing a woman get hit in the head with a bottle as she waited in line shortly afterward.

“I turned around and all of a sudden she was bleeding,” the person said.


The witness to the assault added: “This is too much. I can’t be out here, risking my life for a pair of 99-cent sneakers.”

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Across the street, people were still waiting for information. Some were even standing in the middle of the street.

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We found people near the pop-up location who said they had been waiting all night for the sneakers.

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Justin Velez said he had been there with his friends since 1 a.m. He waited almost 10 hours overnight on the block of the store, only to leave with nothing after being told that only people with wristbands or tickets would be receiving the shoes.

“I was actually going to wear them,” he said. “Other people are lined up to resell, but you know, I was one of the people who was actually going to wear them.”


At some point earlier in the day, people in line were told they would not be able to get in without a wristband or ticket.

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“I don’t see how that’s fair to people who’ve been here since 7 in the morning waiting,” said Shanely Perez, who had come from the Bronx.


But at 10:50 a.m., the line still wrapped around the block.

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Even though the police were saying the event had been shut down, people still appeared to be waiting around to get their sneakers.

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“Nobody really wanted to believe it,” said Jon Rodriguez, who had also been waiting in line.


“I’ve been on my feet for literally eight hours,” said Ayishatu Nuhu, who said she had slept for three hours the night before to get to the store early.

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She added: “If it’s happening tomorrow, I’ll probably still show up anyway.”

“adidas Originals and AriZona Iced Tea have permanently closed the pop-up event at 208 Bowery, NYC where their debut footwear collaboration was scheduled to launch,” the brands said in a statement.

“Both adidas and AriZona are grateful for those who came out and apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of the shutdown. In an effort to ensure the safety of fans and consumers, all parties made the decision to close the event with the support of local authorities.”


We found discarded cans of Arizona Iced Tea in the mud near the pop-up location …

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… as well as what looked like scattered debris from people who had camped out for hours.

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Some people gave up and left, but others seemed to be waiting it out in the hopes of attaining some shoes.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Michael Ompod came prepared to the event at 6 a.m. with his Arizona backpack, iced tea, and single dollar bill. He left the pop-up empty-handed but said he was thankful for his safety.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

“I’m kind of actually glad I didn’t get hurt today,” he said. “I do feel bad for the people that got hurt today.”

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