A Jordan Naruto sneakers shoe project is being teased by the official Jumpman Twitter account. While it’ll be awesome to hit the streets in the “Shinobi Way”, anime sneakers are hardly a new phenomenon.
UPDATE April 26, 2022: The new Jordan Naruto sneakers shoe design has been unveiled since the initial publishing of this article. Check out the newer article in the link for images and the details. But don’t forget to read the rest of this article for the Top anime shoe designs of the past!
Anime and manga collaborations in streetwear shoes have been popular for over a decade, but it’s only recently been that the ‘sneakersphere’ has caught on to the potential. Sneaker brands appear to be making up for lost time with the geekalicious releases that have hit the market in recent years. Dressing like an anime geek is now chic.
Due to the widespread attention from not only diehard anime otaku and nostalgia seekers but also video gamers, anime sneakers inspired by Japanese TV shows have gone from being novelty knick-knacks to being high fashion.
Lady otaku might want to skip to the end of this article where I showcase some anime-inspired female footwear. Gentlemen otaku should continue reading. You may just find your new dream sneakers!
Nike Air Max 98 ‘Gundam’
In 2018, the sneaker design’s 20th birthday celebration was spearheaded by the return of the Air Max 98 Gundam with its recognizable color design pattern. The sneaker was not an official Gundam collaboration, but with its red, white, and blue combination it was obvious to anime otaku that it was inspired by the famed mecha-robot in Mobile Suit Gundam.
Mobile Suit Gundam’s story is set in the year 0079 of the Universal Century. Mankind has immigrated to space and now lives in colonies known as ‘sides’. One of these ‘sides’ names itself the Principality of Zeon and declares war on the Earth Federation – the governmental body ruling 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, in a strange turn of events, finds himself piloting the Gundam, fighting for the Federation, and going head-to-head with 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 skateboarding anime hit Sk8 The Infinity.
Slam Dunk is one of the most memorable basketball-themed anime, which aired in 1990. During the 90s, the anime sparked a huge basketball boom in Asia with Jordan hype reaching all across the Asian continent.
In 2014 the Jordan Brand recognized the anime’s popularity and decided to release two special sneakers dedicated to the series – the Jordan Superfly 3 and an Air Jordan 6. The Air Jordan 6’s red and white coloring along with its illustrations got the most attention, which is not surprising to fans of the show.
Slam Dunk’s plot follows Sakuragi Hanamichi – a junior high delinquent who has bad luck with girls. Upon entering high school he meets the girl of his dreams, Haruko Akagi. Unfortunately, the freshman ace on the basketball team is stealing Haruko’s affections. Sakuragi decides to join the school’s basketball team despite the fact he’s never played basketball before. To make matters more complicated the team is aiming to ‘conquer the nation’ by winning all of the national tournaments. The team’s leader also happens to be Haruko’s brother.
It appears the Jordan Brand is at it again and intends to take advantage of the ninja anime Naruto’s undeniable popularity and huge fan base 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 partnered with Diadora and released an Astro Boy-themed color design pattern for the Intrepid sneaker. The sneaker is a tribute to Osamu Tezuka’s legendary anime Astro Boy.
The green, black and red color design pattern was inspired by the Mighty Atom’s iconic costume. The sneaker is made of premium leather with wolverine silk suede upper. Astro Boy’s image is stamped on the heels and translucent outsoles.
Astro Boy’s story begins when Dr. Tenma’s son dies in a car accident and he decides to create a robot to replace him. The doctor becomes disillusioned by the fact the robot boy never ages and has trouble controlling his robotic powers. This leads Dr. Tenma to decide to sell Atom to the owner of a Robot Circus. Luckily, Atom is soon rescued by the kind-hearted Dr. Ochanomizu.
With Dr. Ochanomizu’s help Atom begins to find 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 guided 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 an official collaboration, Footpatrol teamed up with ASICS to release a Gundam-inspired sneaker that is simple and timeless in its design. Most notable is the tiny robot embellishment 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. With late-night shine thanks to 3M detail and its unmistakable Autobots branding, this shoe is simply epic. Sadly, there hasn’t been much hype for the following Transformers X Nike collaborations compared to the first.
Transformer’s original anime plot begins with the heroic Autobots led by Optimus Prime fleeing 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 fight ends with the ship crashing into a volcano. 4 million years later, an earthquake reactivates the ship’s computer and resurrects both the Autobots and Decepticons – restarting the war of the Transformers.
Gundam X Nike SB Dunk High ‘Banshee’ and ‘Project Unicorn White’
Released in 2021 the Banshee and Project Unicorn White do not fail to impress. Each design rocks multiple references to the character that inspired it, such as side Swooshes that resemble each Gundam’s V-fin antenna.
Bandai also collaborated with Nike to produce Gundam figurines that were released before the Gundam sneakers debut which only added to the hype.
Adidas ZX 500 RM ‘Son Goku’
Team Trefoil are the brains behind the Adidas X Dragon Ball Z Collection and they took their time to perfect the designs. This sneaker was definitely worth the wait though. Potential customers were only informed a month before the sneakers’ release, and the Son Goku reportedly sold out extremely fast.
The Son Goku managed to draw the attention of not only the diehard DBZ otaku, but also the casual ‘sneakerhead’. The other subsequent releases haven’t become as popular as the Son Goku, which will always be remembered much like the main hero of DBZ Goku himself. With an orange, yellow and blue color design pattern the sneaker has ‘Super Saiyan Style’.
Dragon Ball Z’s story centers around Goku who is now an adult (he was a kid in the previous anime titled Dragon Ball). In the first story arc, Goku learns of his true origins and that he’s actually a monkey-like alien from another planet that had been sent to Earth with 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 to force his hand. Goku sacrifices his life to win the battle. Gohan, Bulma, and Krillin get in Kama-sama’s old spaceship and travel to the alien planet Namek in order to find mystical wish-granting objects called ‘Dragon Balls’ so that 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 chamber where time passes more quickly on the inside than outside. By the time he emerges from this chamber, Goku is able to become a Super Saiyan at will. When he powers up 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 discernable eye for fashion, I present:
Slippers inspired by the anime Sailor Moon. Pic credit: @pinterest.com
These adorable slippers were obviously inspired by the heroine Usagi Tsukino’s magical girl costume and her black cat, Luna.
Sailor Moon’s story beings when Usagi Tsukino, a clumsy 8th-grade student, stumbles upon a talking cat named Luna. Luna informs her that she is destined to be Sailor Moon – a champion of love and justice. Luna also gives Usagi the mission of finding the legendary ‘Moon Princess’. As Usagi searches for the Moon Princess she encounters girls who are also destined to be ‘senshi’ and befriends them. Together they fight against the Dark Kingdom’s forces, their generals led by Queen Beryl, in order to save the world from certain doom.
I hope this article has inspired you to be anime geek chic!