A Jordan Naruto sneakers shoe project is teased by the official Jumpman Twitter account. While it will be great to take to the streets in the “Shinobi Way”, anime sneakers are hardly a new phenomenon.
Anime and manga collaborations in streetwear footwear have been popular for over a decade, but it’s only recently that the ‘sneaker vibe’ has discovered its potential. Sneaker brands seem to be making up for lost time with the geekalicious releases that have hit the market in recent years. Dressing up as an anime nerd is chic now.
Due to the widespread attention of not only diehard anime otaku and nostalgia seekers but also video gamers, anime sneakers inspired by Japanese TV shows have changed from novelty trinkets to high fashion.
Lady otaku may want to skip to the end of this article where I show you some anime-inspired women’s shoes. Gentlemen otaku must read on. Maybe you’ll find your new dream sneakers!
Nike Air Max 98 ‘Gundam’
In 2018, the sneaker design is 20e anniversary celebration was marked by the return of the Air Max 98 Gundam with its recognizable color pattern. The sneaker was no officially Gundam collaboration, but with its combination of red, white and blue, it was clear to anime otaku that it was inspired by the famous mecha robot in Mobile Suit Gundam.
The story of Mobile Suit Gundam takes place in the year 0079 of the Universal Age. Humans have emigrated to space and now live in colonies known as ‘sides’. One of these “sides” calls itself the Principality of Zeon and declares war on the Earth Federation – the governing body that rules the Earth.
Zeon quickly gains the upper hand in the war by deploying powerful, humanoid robots known as mobile suits. It takes the Earth Federation 9 months to develop its own powerful mobile suit called the Gundam.
When Zeon launches an attack on the colony where the Gundam was developed, 15-year-old civilian Amuro Ray finds himself in a strange turn of events controlling the Gundam, fighting for the Federation and taking on Zeon’s ace pilot – Char Aznable.
Air Jordan 6 ‘Slam Dunk’
There are anime and manga series for almost every sport out there, from basketball to swimming to the latest skateboard anime hit Sk8 The Infinity.
Slam Dunk is one of the most memorable basketball themed anime anime, which aired in 1990. In the 1990s, the anime caused a huge basketball boom in Asia, with the hype of Jordan reaching the entire Asian continent.
In 2014, the Jordan brand recognized the popularity of the anime and decided to release two special sneakers for the series: the Jordan Superfly 3 and an Air Jordan 6. The red and white colors of the Air Jordan 6 and the artwork got the most attention, which is not surprising to fans of the show.
The plot of Slam Dunk follows Sakuragi Hanamichi – a high school delinquent who has bad luck with girls. Entering high school, he meets the girl of his dreams, Haruko Akagi. Unfortunately, the freshman ace of the basketball team steals Haruko’s affections. Sakuragi decides to join the school’s basketball team, despite the fact that he has never played basketball before. To complicate matters further, the team aims to “conquer the nation” by winning all national tournaments. The leader of the team also happens to be Haruko’s brother.
It looks like the Jordan brand is at it again, planning to capitalize on the ninja anime Naruto’s undeniable popularity and massive fanbase to inspire their next sneaker design.
Jumpman23 teased Jordan X Naruto sneakers in this tweet:
Fans are already speculating what the new sneaker will look like. Orange and blue or orange and black with a swirling rasengan illustration perhaps?
BAIT X Astro Boy Diadora Intrepid
BAIT is known for not shying away from cartoon and anime inspired collaborations. In 2017, they teamed up with Diadora and released an Astro Boy themed color pattern for the Intrepid sneaker. The sneaker is a tribute to Osamu Tezuka’s legendary anime Astro Boy.
The green, black and red design pattern is inspired by the iconic Mighty Atom costume. The sneaker is made of premium leather with a wolverine silk suede upper. The Astro Boy graphic is stamped on the heels and translucent outsoles.
The Astro Boy story begins when Dr. Tenma dies in a car accident and he decides to create a robot to replace him. The Doctor becomes disillusioned with the fact that the robot boy never ages and struggles to control his robot powers. This brings Dr. Tenma decides to sell Atom to the owner of a Robot Circus. Fortunately, Atom is quickly rescued by the kind-hearted Dr. Ochanomizu.
With the help of Dr. Ochanomizu begins to find Atom his true purpose in life as a hero. He helps deal with rogue robots and criminals, goes on space missions and even finds the time to go to school.
Atom is led by his teacher Shunsaku ‘Higeoyaji’ Ban, his friends, his sister Uran and the rest of his robot family.
Footpatrol X ASICS Gel-Saga ‘Gundam’
in a officially collaboration, Footpatrol has teamed up with ASICS to release a Gundam-inspired sneaker that is simple and timeless in design. Most notable is the small robotic decoration on the tongue.
Nike Air Trainer III ‘Optimus Prime’
Following the popularity of the live-action Transformer movie in 2017, Nike responded by releasing a special themed collection featuring the Optimus Prime Air Trainer III. Shining late into the night thanks to 3M details and unmistakable Autobots branding, this shoe is simply epic. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much hype for the next Transformers X Nike collaborations compared to the first.
The original Transformer anime plot begins with the heroic Autobots led by Optimus Prime fleeing from the planet Cybertron, where a war has been raging for millions of years.
Their ship is attacked by the evil Decepticons led by Megatron. The battle ends with the ship crashing into a volcano. 4 million years later, the ship’s computer is reactivated by an earthquake and both the Autobots and Decepticons come back to life, starting the Transformers’ war again.
Gundam X Nike SB Dunk High ‘Banshee’ and ‘Project Unicorn White’
The Banshee and Project Unicorn White, released in 2021, are impressive. Each design rocks multiple references to the character it inspired, such as side swooshes that resemble every Gundam’s V-fin antenna.
Bandai also teamed up with Nike to produce Gundam figurines that were released before the debut of Gundam sneakers, which only added to the hype.
Adidas ZX 500 RM ‘Son Goku’
Team Trefoil is the brain behind the Adidas X Dragon Ball Z collection and they took the time to perfect the designs. However, this sneaker was well worth the wait. Potential customers were only notified a month before the release of the sneakers, and the Son Goku reportedly sold out extremely quickly.
The Son Goku not only managed to attract the attention of the diehard DBZ otaku, but also the casual ‘sneakerhead’. The other subsequent releases have not become as popular as the Son Goku, who will always be remembered as the main hero of DBZ Goku itself. With an orange, yellow and blue color pattern, the sneaker has ‘Super Saiyan Style’.
The story of Dragon Ball Z revolves around Goku, who is now an adult (he was a child in the previous anime titled Dragon Ball). In the first storyline, Goku learns about his true origin and that he is actually an ape-like alien from another planet that was sent to Earth for the purpose of destroying it.
When Goku refuses to join the Saiyan Raditz in his plan to conquer Earth, Raditz decides to kidnap Goku’s son in order to force his hand. Goku sacrifices his life to win the battle. Gohan, Bulma and Krillin board Kama-sama’s old spaceship and travel to the alien planet Namek to find mystical wish-granting objects called ‘Dragon Balls’ so they can wish Goku back to life.
During the second arc, where the threat becomes 3 androids and a creature called Cell, Goku decides to enter a special room where time passes faster on the inside than on the outside. By the time he gets out of this room, Goku can become a Super Saiyan at will. When he turns on the power, he transforms, a golden aura of energy forms around him and his black hair turns gold.
Now, for the lady otaku out there with a discernible eye for fashion, I present:
Slippers inspired by the Sailor Moon anime. Photo credit: @pinterest.com
These adorable slippers are clearly inspired by the magical girl costume of the heroine Usagi Tsukino and her black cat Luna.
The story of Sailor Moon begins when Usagi Tsukino, a clumsy 8th grade student, encounters a talking cat named Luna. Luna informs her that she is destined to become Sailor Moon, a champion of love and justice. Luna also gives Usagi the mission to find the legendary ‘Moon Princess’. While searching for the Moon Princess, Usagi meets girls who are also destined to be “senshi” and befriends them. Together, they fight against the forces of the Dark Kingdom, their generals led by Queen Beryl, to save the world from certain doom.
I hope this article inspired you to be anime geek chic!