The All-Time Greatest Cartoon-Inspired Sneakers
The marriage between sneakers and cartoons is so successful it may very well eclipse the on-screen romance of animated archetypes like Homer and Marge!
Over the years, sneakers have slowly invaded our beloved cartoon communities, with Springfield, South Park, Bikini Bottom and Quahog all lacing their very own variations on cult silhouettes.
With another Rick and Morty sneaker looking set to blast-off into the sneaker-sphere, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the all time greatest!
(Note: The focus of this list is American cartoons. For more on anime-inspired sneakers, make sure to check out our feature unpacking our favourites!)
SpongeBob SquarePants x Kyrie 5 ‘SpongeBob’ (2019)SpongeBob SquarePants x Kyrie 5 ‘SpongeBob’ (2019)
Kyrie Irving has released plenty of pupil dilating colourways as part of his lucrative signature series with Nike, none more so than his collaboration with SpongeBob SquarePants and the eccentric folk at Bikini Bottom. Headlined by the Nike Kyrie 5 ‘SpongeBob’ colourway, the collection celebrated 20 years of the legendary Nickelodeon series, and continues to be a fan-favourite among fans of Kyrie’s prodigious line.
An honourable mention also goes to the 'Patrick Star' colourway.
Air Jordan 7 'Hare' (1991)Air Jordan 7 'Hare' (1991)
Does it get any more iconic than the Air Jordan 7 ‘Hare’?
Starring alongside Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan, the Air Jordan 7 ‘Hare’ first made its appearance during a Super Bowl commercial in the 1990s, and quickly became one of the most coveted Jumpman releases of all time. Leaping off the shelves in 1991, the ‘Hare Jordan’ has been retro'd several times since.
(Note: The Air Jordan 7 'Hare' retro from 2015 is pictured.)
Nike SB Dunk Low 'Homer' (2004)Nike SB Dunk Low 'Homer' (2004)
While not an official collaboration, the Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Homer’ is a beloved sneaker for Dunk-heads the world over, the buttery ‘University Blue’ suede overlays and ‘Medium Yellow’ Swoosh one of the superlative Dunks from the Silver Box era. Originally hitting shelves in 2004, the SB Dunk is still worth a pretty penny on the resale market, routinely selling anywhere between $1,300 and $1,800.
Nike SB Dunk High ‘Marge’ (2008)Nike SB Dunk High ‘Marge’ (2008)
Let’s be honest: There is no Homer without Marge. Landing four years after the SB Dunk Low ‘Homer’, the SB Dunk High ‘Marge’ was emblazoned with a ‘Radiant Green’ Swoosh (reminiscent of Marge’s indelible green dress). Another unofficial collaboration with The Simpsons, the SB Dunk High is still one of our favourites from Springfield.
South Park x adidas Campus 80s ‘Towelie’ (2021) South Park x adidas Campus 80s ‘Towelie’ (2021)
A modern classic, the foul-mouthed folk at South Park joined forces with adidas to celebrate 4/20 in 2021, the Campus 80s paying homage to everybody’s favourite stoner, Towelie. Manufactured with lavender terry cloth uppers, both tongues of the Campus 80s featured Towelie’s big white eyes, which turned pink and bloodshot when exposed to UV light. One of the most creative 4/20 releases in recent times, the interior tongues also featured stash pockets and the quotes, ‘Don’t Forget to Bring a Towel’ and ‘I Have No Idea What’s Going On’
Nike Dunk High Premium SB 'Quagmire' (2009)Nike Dunk High Premium SB 'Quagmire' (2009)
Inspired by Glenn Quagmire from the animated TV show Family Guy, the Nike SB Dunk High ‘Quagmire’ is a real bello e brutto (much like the character of Quagmire himself). Debuting in 2009, the Dunk takes aesthetic cues from Quagmire’s classic red shirt, blue denim jeans and brown boots. Embroidered with Quagmire’s gold flowers, this is one Dunk you definitely shouldn’t play ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ with.
SpongeBob SquarePants x BAPE-STA ‘SpongeBob’ (2008)SpongeBob SquarePants x BAPE-STA ‘SpongeBob’ (2008)
Another sneaker packing plenty of deep-sea drip from our family at Bikini Bottom, the BAPE-STA x SpongeBob collaboration was built with classic BAPE patent leather alongside a cheeky SpongeBob reference on the heel. One of the most coveted sneakers from the BAPE-STA’s legendary run in the 2000s, the collaboration still rings-out plenty of coin on the resale market, brand new Grails routinely selling for well over four-digits.
Rick and Morty x Diadora N902 (2018)Rick and Morty x Diadora N902 (2018)
Wubba lubba dub dub!
Crash-landing at Foot Locker in 2018, the star-hopping Rick and Morty x Diadora N902 launched in two colourways - one based on Rick, and the other based on Morty. Paying homage to the cult-favourite Adult Swim animation, the colab combined pastel hues with bright retro styling. The ‘Rick’ colourway gets a character graphic embroidered on the lateral heel, while Morty has been placed on the rear heel of his colourway.
Keen for more?
Check out the greatest anime-inspired sneakers ever!
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