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Shoe-Bahn: Berliners queue for sneaker-train tickets

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Berlin (AFP)

Hundreds of people braved sub-zero temperatures to camp out overnight in Berlin, in hopes of buying on Tuesday a pair of Adidas sneakers that also offers free subway travel.

Retailing at 180 euros ($220), the limited edition shoes bearing the design of seat covers on Berlin's U-Bahn trains, are also fitted with an annual ticket normally costing 761 euros, sewn into the tongue of the shoe, a key draw for commuters seeking a deal.

"I came from Leipzig on Saturday and am 73rd in the queue," said Andreas Leu, who was wrapped up in a big red sleeping bag.

"What's most interesting is the ticket and there are only 500 pairs. I'm keeping it for my collection," he added.

Julian Kienst, who was standing next to Leu, said: "It helps me save quite a lot of money that I can use for other things, particularly since I don't make that much."

Berlin's public transport operator BVG had produced the shoes in partnership with German sportswear giant Adidas for the train network's 90th birthday.

Celebrating the sneakers' popularity in its typical ironic fashion on Twitter, the BVG tweeted: "Letting people wait -- it's one of our superpowers."

The BVG's marketing stunt however came under fire, with Die Welt daily calling the hype over the sneakers "absurd".

The conservative newspaper noted that few pairs of the shoes would likely end up on commuters' feet as they will be more valuable if kept in mint condition as collectors' items.

Barely minutes after the sneakers went on sale at 10 am (0900 GMT), some were being offered online at up to 1,150 euros -- around six times their original price.

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