Food Trends

Grillo’s Pickles and NBA Icon Patrick Ewing Made a Sneaker

The Boston company and Cambridge-rooted basketball legend have teamed up to create a pickle-inspired shoe. Wait, what?


Behold the majesty of “The Pickle” sneaker, created by Boston-based Grillo’s Pickles and Ewing Athletics. / Photo provided

What do the Boston-based makers of Grillo’s Pickles and Cambridge-raised Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing have in common? If you answered, “They just collaborated on a new, limited-edition, pickle-inspired sneaker,” well–you’re lying, because no one in their right mind would actually think of that. And yet, here we are.

Yes. Boston-based Grillo’s Pickles and Cambridge-raised Patrick Ewing have, indeed, collaborated on a new, limited-edition, pickle-inspired sneaker. The kicks were released this week by Ewing Athletics, retail for $140, and will surely be coveted by those at a very unique intersection within the Venn Diagram of “sneaker heads” and “discerning fans of crunchy, vinegary snacks.” The design is dubbed simply, “The Pickle.” Elegant. Artful.

The Hulk-green high-tops nod to Grillo’s ingredients, according to a press release: “Each sneaker features clear soles to represent Grillo’s hand packed jars, green suede as an ode to the organic dill, and green leather, which exemplifies the brand’s crunchy cucumbers. The white shoe laces also represent the fresh, California-grown garlic.” Do you hear that? Michelangelo could never.

Strutting in these sneakers is also a way to show your pride in the local pickle-maker. Grillo’s sunglasses-wearing mascot, Sam the Pickle Man, is embroidered on the back of the shoe, chilling in his lounge chair. On the insole, you’ll find an image of the original Grillo’s pickle cart.

Grillo’s mascot Sam the Pickle Man adorns the heel. / Photo provided

Which brings us to an actually poignant, full-circle aspect of this partnership between two locally-rooted legends in their (extremely different) fields. Grillo’s founder Travis Grillo started selling pickle spears out of a wooden street cart in Boston Common in 2008, “after missing out on an opportunity to be a sneaker designer at Nike,” according to a statement in the release. Now, plastic containers of his pickles are in grocery stores around the country, and the artist-turned-entrepreneur finally got to make his shoes–with an NBA icon, no less.

Ewing, born in Jamaica, moved to Cambridge when he was 12 and kickstarted his storied basketball career as a high school standout at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School; he went on to win two gold medals in the Olympics. He has yet to launch a pickle company, but there’s still time.

On the other hand, you won’t have forever to snatch up the limited-edition sneaker. You can buy them here. Or, for the same amount of money, you could invest in about two dozen quarts of Grillo’s addictive snacks. The choice is yours. Quite a pickle, isn’t it?