ARTICLE BY Cesca Benson

The All-Time Greatest Christmas Sneakers

Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High 'Ugly Sweater'

Ho, ho, ho, festive footwear fiends! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and you know what that means? It’s time to start choosing your silly season sneakers, whether they’re for your work Christmas party or your family lunch on the big day.

Getting into the spirit, we thought we’d take a look back and reminisce on some of the best yuletide yoggers to ever be releases. So, come all ye faithful, deck the halls, and let’s reminisce on the all-time greatest Christmas sneakers.

Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Ugly Sweaters’ (2013 & 2017)Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Ugly Sweaters’ (2013 & 2017)

Perhaps the most famous of all Christmas-themed sneakers, the Concepts x Nike SB ‘Ugly Sweater’ Dunks are an ostentatious on-foot translation of the famous winter woollies. A grumpy beanied snowman motif featured across all three of the highly sought-after colourways, really slamming the Christmas skater theme down the proverbial chimney, if you know what we mean.

Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High 'Ugly Sweater' (2013)
Concepts x Nike SB High 'Ugly Sweater' (2013)
Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High 'Ugly Sweater' (2017)

Nike SB Dunk ‘Candy Cane’ (2015)Nike SB Dunk ‘Candy Cane’ (2015)

Back in 2015, Nike really played on our penchant for Christmas indulgence, modelling their 2015 holiday drop on everyone’s favourite edible ornament. With red and white stripes, the candy cane inspiration was clear – you can almost taste that sticky sweet mint – and the hits of green round out a theme that surely brings a bit of Christmas cheer to even the Grinchiest sneakerhead. Forget throwing sneakers over power lines, these are made to be thrown on the Christmas tree with all the other decorations.

Niek SB Dunk 'Candy Canes'
Image via @licknyc

Air Max 90 ‘Gift Wrapped’ (2015)Air Max 90 ‘Gift Wrapped’ (2015)

If the Dunk’s take on Christmas was like carols playing in the supermarket, then this Air Max 90 is like the Santa’s Workshop in your local shopping centre, complete with Saint Nick himself, elves, reindeer, and more decorations than you can poke a candy cane at. The upper sports an all-over candy Swoosh print, glittering red midfoot Swoosh, and sparkle-flecked outsole. Putting a literal bow on this festive footwear: red ribbon laces, perfect for wrapping them to be put under the tree.

Nike Air Max 90 'Gift Wrapped'

Nike Kobe 6 ‘Grinch’ (2010 & 2020)Nike Kobe 6 ‘Grinch’ (2010 & 2020)

If there was a release to rival the holiday merriment and sneaker legend status of the ‘Ugly Christmas Sweaters’, it would be the Nike Kobe 6 ‘Grinch’. First laced up by Kobe himself on Christmas Day 2010, it went on to become not only one of the best festive creps, but one of the best Kobe releases ever. And we can relive the magic this year; the Swoosh are set to release the Kobe 6 Protro on Christmas Eve.

Nike Kobe 6 Protro 'Grinch'
Image via @dj_sneakerhead

Reebok Instapump Fury ‘Grinch’ (2016)Reebok Instapump Fury ‘Grinch’ (2016)

Speaking of the anti-Christmas resident of Whoville, the Grinch also inspired Reebok’s yuletide Instapump Furys from 2016. With an upper as hairy as the creature’s fingers, and overlays red like his suit, they’re about as wild as a festive ‘Pump can get.

Reebok Instapump Fury ‘Grinch’ (2016)

Reebok Court Victory Pump Mid ‘Rudolph’ (2008)Reebok Court Victory Pump Mid ‘Rudolph’ (2008)

Reebok’s 2008 addition to the Christmas canon went down in history, commemorating everyone’s favourite bullied reindeer Rudolph. Its furry suede upper and custom insoles kicked off the cute, but the true kicker was the bright red Pump ‘nose’. Would you even say it glows? No, but you get where I’m going. Nobody’s gonna laugh and call you names if you break these out at Christmas lunch!

Image via J-01

Nightmare Before Christmas x Vans Collection (2019)Nightmare Before Christmas x Vans Collection (2019)

The Jack Skellington co-signed Nightmare Before Christmas x Vans colab was one of the bigger holiday drops last year. In true Tim Burton fashion, the collection went all-in on the creepy details, including subtle Easter Bunny print hidden inside the sockliner of the Authentic, and a plastic piece of Jack Skellington’s bowtie on the Slip-On.

Nightmare Before Christmas x Vans
Nightmare Before Christmas x Vans
Nightmare Before Christmas x Vans

Nike LeBron 10 ‘Christmas’ (2012)Nike LeBron 10 ‘Christmas’ (2012)

LeBron is known to bring a bit of Christmas spirit to his signature line. We had to make a choice, though, and went with the LeBron 10. Their frosted red upper looks good enough to hang on the tree, while a frosty neon green rounds out the nod to the December holiday.

Nike LeBron 10 'Christmas' (2012)
Image via Flight Club

Sean Cliver x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Krampus’ (2012)Sean Cliver x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Krampus’ (2012)

Generally, we associate Christmas time with one guy: Santa. But around the world there are scores of Christmas legends, and the creatures that inspire them. Italy has La Befana, the Christmas witch, Iceland has the Yule Cat who lurks in the Arctic countryside eating people who have not received new clothes by Chrsitmas Eve, and Central Europe has Krampus. It was this half-goat, half-demon that Sean Cliver drew from for his 2012 Dunk High. The black and red colourway and unruly goat hair fabrication nods to the devilish creature who visits Europe’s naughtiest children.

Sean Cliver x Nike SB Dunk High 'Krampus'
Image via Dunkbar

Sean Cliver x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Holiday Special’ (2020)Sean Cliver x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Holiday Special’ (2020)

In a year when the Nike SB Dunk was hot, hot, hot, Sean Cliver caps off 2020 with one of the year’s coolest releases. The ‘Holiday Special’ is around the wintry snowscapes during Christmas north of the Equator, the pale blue suede and white leather uppers are durable and skateable, while evoking ice-cold coolness. Gold Swooshes are super festive, as are the glittery ice soles. The final flourish? Custom snowflake toe box perforations that will have you singing ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ every damn day.

Sean Cliver x Nike SB Dunk 'Holiday Special' (2020)

Reebok ‘Ghosts of Christmas’ Pack (2013)Reebok ‘Ghosts of Christmas’ Pack (2013)

As far as yuletide tales go, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is perhaps the most enduring. And considering its long-standing place in pop culture, it’s no surprise that it has become sneaker source material for a holiday release. Taking cues from the three phantoms that haunt Ebenezer Scrooge, the pack features the Question Mid ‘Ghosts of Christmas Future’, Kamikaze II ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’ and the Shaq Attaq ‘Ghost of Christmas Present’. Even without the theme, it’s a triumphant trio of ‘Bok bball classics, but with the Dickensian through line, well, that’s just enough to make anyone see the true meaning of Christmas.

Reebok 'Ghosts of Christmas' Pack
Reebok Question Mid 'Ghosts of Christmas Future'
Reebok Kamikaze II 'Ghosts of Christmas Past'
Reebok Shaq Attack 'Ghosts of Christmas Present'
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