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What Does SP Mean in Shoes? Get Facts Here!

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

what does sp mean in shoes

Shopping for sneakers is truly an enjoyable affair, especially for sneaker enthusiasts. The thrill of exploring the latest releases, examining intricate designs, and finding the perfect pair of shoes is a very satisfying experience.

In one of your shopping sprees, you may have come across different sneaker terms, and one of these is SP. But what does SP mean in shoes?

The sneaker terminology SP stands for Special Project. Sure, it seems like a simple abbreviation, but it has a significant meaning within the sneaker industry. To find out more about it, just keep on reading!

The SP Shoe Sizing

1. Origin of SP in Shoe Sizing


The SP shoes burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s, rocking the sneaker world with their special charm.

This sneaker terminology was coined by Nike with the iconic Nike Dunk SB “Hemp” released back in 2004. These shoes, part of a limited edition drop, featured a captivating element— a special hemp material. Because of this, the shoes were given a distinct visual aesthetic and texture that kicked off the SP craze.

2. Common Uses of SP in Shoe Industry


At first, the SP meaning in shoes was only to mark the exclusivity and special nature of Nike’s limited edition releases. However, as time went on the SP shoes meaning has evolved and the label has had diverse applications in the shoe industry.

1. Highlight Special Materials

When it comes to shoes bearing the prestigious SP label, it is almost a guarantee that they will proudly showcase an array of high-quality, special, or even rare materials.

 2. Limited Edition Releases

SP shoes are often released in limited quantities. The scarcity of these limited edition releases adds an element of exclusivity and desirability for consumers.

Special project (SP) shoes are so highly coveted that they become status symbols that demonstrate a person’s passion for footwear and ability to acquire sought-after releases, while also creating a thriving secondary market where collectors and enthusiasts can purchase these shoes at prices that often surpass their original retail value.

3. Collaborations

Through its NikeLab collaborations, Nike strategically combines the expertise and distinct perspectives of influential artists and celebrities to develop innovative and stylish products.

These collaborations serve multiple purposes, one of which is leveraging the influence and appeal of these individuals to enhance the selling point of the shoes they co-create.

Nike also recognizes that collaborations do not only bring a creative flair to their products but also create a significant buzz and consumer interest.

Here are some of Nike’s most notable collaborations:


  1. Nike x Jacquemus
  2. Nike x Sacai
  3. Nike x Off-White
  4. Nike x Comme de Garçons
  5. Nike x Supreme
  6. Nike x Peaceminusone

How to Convert SP Sizes


Considering that there is no dedicated sizing chart for SP shoes, it is advisable to refer to general sizing guidelines and compare them to your own measurements or the sizes of shoes that you usually wear.

Additionally, you can also read reviews or get advice from people who have bought the same SP shoes.

You may also check this guide to know how shoes usually fit:

  1. Nike Air Max– True to size, snug fit, designed for casual wear.
  2. Nike Air Force 1– Slightly larger fit, true to size, wider toe box, designed for everyday wear.
  3. Nike Running Shoes– Snug fit, designed for support and stability while running.
  4. Nike Basketball Shoes– May have a wider toe box, designed for support and traction on the court.
  5. Nike Dunks: True to size, snug fit, designed for skateboarding and casual wear.

SP Shoe Design

The design of SP shoes begins from a particular concept or inspiration that is typically different from the regular releases. They often incorporate unique and innovative design elements, such as rare materials, and state-of-the-art technologies.

Moreover, SP shoes often flaunt bold color combinations, intricate patterns, unexpected embellishments and accessories, and unique silhouettes. As a result, SP shoes tend to be more comfortable, durable, and stylish than standard releases.

Popular Brands Using SP

The SP label is strongly associated with Nike, and it may not be common among other brands. Nevertheless, they engage in similar practices of producing limited-edition or collaborative releases that are highly sought after by sneaker enthusiasts.

Here are a few examples:

1. Adidas


Adidas has used different designations for their special projects, such as “Adidas Consortium” or “Adidas Originals by” followed by the collaborating party’s name.

2. Puma


Puma has collaborated on special projects under different labels, including “Puma Select,” “Puma x,” or specific collaboration lines like the “Puma Fenty” collection in partnership with Rihanna.

3. Converse


Converse has their “Converse x” label for collaborations, such as “Converse x Comme des Garçons” or “Converse x Tyler, The Creator.” These collaborations often result in unique versions of Converse’s classic Chuck Taylor sneakers.

4. Vans


Vans has special collaborations under the “Vans Vault” line, which features partnerships with designers, artists, and brands to create unique versions of their classic footwear.

It’s worth noting that the terminology and labels used by brands can evolve over time, so it’s always best to stay updated with the latest releases and collaborations from your preferred brands.

Where to Find Shoes With SP Markings


Nike SP shoes are commonly found on NikeLab, which is Nike’s platform for showcasing their special projects and limited-edition releases.

As for other brands, exploring their official brand stores, authorized retailers, specialized sneaker boutiques, and online marketplaces like StockX, GOAT, or Grailed, is a good way to discover and acquire special project shoes from various brands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are SP sizes standard across all shoe brands?

No, SP sizes are not standard across all shoe brands, as sizing can vary between different brands and even within different models or collaborations.

Can I customize my shoes with SP markings?

Once you buy your SP sneakers, you can customize them. Just bear in mind not to void any warranties or return policies.

Additionally, recently, shoe brands like Nike have embraced customization by offering platforms such as Nike By You, where customers can personalize and design their own shoes, while still enjoying certain benefits and support from the brand.

With this, you can put your own unique spin on Jordans and other Nike classics!


What does SP mean in shoes? It’s the great effort of the brands to make their shoes stand out.

At the end of the day, as Forrest Gump once famously said, shoes can say a lot about a person. They’re more than just footwear, as they become a way to express your style and who you are. Therefore, understanding what SP means on sneakers is fascinating.

So if you own SP shoes, consider them an opportunity to elevate your self-expression and showcase just how special you are, just like your shoes.

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