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Wawa is treading into the sneaker game and 10 fans have a chance to win a limited-edition pair

Philadelphia Inquirer logo Philadelphia Inquirer 8/24/2021 Stephanie Farr, The Philadelphia Inquirer

To those in the Philly area, Wawa is as comfortable as an old shoe. Wawa is also a place where we wear our old shoes. And mismatched flip-flops. And slippers.

Now, like Air Force One, Michael Jordan, and Back to the Future II, Wawa is also a thing that has inspired a shoe.

On Tuesday, the beloved Delaware-County based convenience store chain announced it’s releasing a limited-edition Wawa sneaker in collaboration with Philadelphia-based sneaker designer and manufacturer, Garrixon. The shoes will be available to 10 fans through an end-of-summer social media giveaway dubbed the #WawaRun Gear Sweepstakes.

According to a news release, the sneaker is a classic Nike Air Max 90 running shoe, updated with colors and graphics inspired by Wawa. The red-and-white kicks with blue laces feature the flying-goose pattern from Wawa hoagie wrappers and the words “Wawa Run” on the side. The ten lucky winners will receive their fancy footwear in a “custom hoagie inspired shoebox” that will include a Wawa gift card inside (which is a way better than those tiny silica gel packets you usually get).

Emily Kim, technical design manager for Garrixon, said one of their sales reps, Brett Pulli, hounded Wawa for “at least a year” to collaborate on a sneaker design. Garrixon has previously made sneakers for brands like Planters Peanuts, Super Pretzel, and Budweiser.

“For us, Wawa made sense because we are a Philadelphia-based footwear manufacturer and they are a Philadelphia-based convenience store chain,” Kim said.

One of the fun features of the packaging, which Kim suggested, was to include an extra set of shoelaces inside of the small condiment to-go containers Wawa uses for their sides.

“We wanted it to be authentic to Wawa,” she said.

Other Wawa-branded merchandise up for grabs in the sweepstakes includes custom tents, coolers, and cameras (because who hasn’t needed to take a picture of something wacky going on at a Wawa store).

“At Wawa we pride ourselves on fueling the day of so many customers throughout the markets we serve and this fun giveaway provides one additional way to bring happiness to customers who want to make a #WawaRun in style,” Todd Miller Sr., Wawa’s director of brand strategy and experience, said in the release. “We know how excited customers get about the chance to win Wawa gear and we hope this is a fun summer contest that our communities love!”

Some may ask if Wawa created these sneakers so they could jump the shark in them (as everyone knows successful shark jumping requires good footwear). To that we say, put a sock in it! If you’d have seen the line of hundreds of people who waited outside a Wawa store in June just to snag a limited-edition Wawa Delco t-shirt, you’d know Wawa fans have sole, and a deep love of free stuff.

This actually isn’t Wawa’s first foray into footwear. A staple downashore, Wawa already has a line of flip flops, including a Hoagiefest-branded pair.

To enter the #WawaRun Gear Sweepstakes, fans must follow Wawa’s Instagram page (@Wawa) between Tuesday, Aug. 24 and Monday, Aug. 30, and keep a look out for designated posts. Comment on those posts with the hashtag #sweepstakes and share the post to your Instagram story.

Like Wawa’s hoagies, Wawa’s sneakers will be built to order. What remains to be seen is whether these ruby slippers will inspire people to go out of their way to hold the door open for you anywhere else besides Wawa.

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