The All-Time Greatest Christmas Sneakers
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.
To get into the spirit, we thought we’d take a look back and reminisce on some of the best yuletide yoggers ever to be released. So, come all ye faithful as we revel in the all-time greatest Christmas sneakers.
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 we’re going. Nobody’s gonna laugh and call you names if you break these out at Christmas lunch!
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 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, so we 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.
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 Christmas 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 nod to the devilish creature who visits Europe’s naughtiest children.
Reebok ‘Ghosts of Christmas’ Pack (2013)Reebok ‘Ghosts of Christmas’ Pack (2013)
As far as yuletide tales go, Charles Dickens’s 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.
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 renowned winter woollies. A grumpy beanie 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.
Nike SB Dunk ‘Candy Cane’ (2015)Nike SB Dunk ‘Candy Cane’ (2015)
Back in 2015, Nike 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 cheer to even the Grinchiest sneakerhead. Forget throwing sneakers over power lines; these are made to be thrown on the Christmas tree!
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 mid-foot Swoosh, and sparkle-flecked outsole. Putting a literal bow on this festive footwear are the red ribbon laces – perfect for wrapping them up to be put under the tree.
Reebok Instapump Fury ‘Grinch’ (2016)Reebok Instapump Fury ‘Grinch’ (2016)
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 a subtle Easter Bunny print hidden inside the sockliner of the Authentic and a plastic piece of Jack Skellington’s bowtie on the Slip-On.
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 goodness. 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.
adidas Stan Smith 'Christmas Monster' (2020)adidas Stan Smith 'Christmas Monster' (2020)
Most of the entries on this list centre on the traditional red and white palette, but adidas sneakerfied a creepier source of Christmas cheer in 2020. Inspired by the 1980s comedy horror flick Gremlins, these fuzzy Stan Smiths may exhibit a cute exterior, but a closer look is set to be unsettling. This is because there’s a beady set of eyeballs peering right on the heels. In any case, opening the shoebox that looks like it’s been covered in wrapping paper is sure to shock the recipient.
Nike Dunk Low ‘Ice’ (2021)Nike Dunk Low ‘Ice’ (2021)
In previous years, Nike’s festive releases have been very auspicious for wearing in late December – perhaps at the expense of year-round appropriateness. This edition, currently known as ‘Ice’, is set to celebrate the silly season without an overt Santa clause in the theme. This pair evokes snow, sleds and relaxing times with its velvet and nylon upper, plus some cute details. And they can be worn for more than one week of the year.
adidas Forum Low ‘Grinch’ (2022)adidas Forum Low ‘Grinch’ (2022)
Previous Grinch-inspired sneakers have only been linked to the Dr Seuss character by look, but 2022’s adidas Forum Low made things official. This collaboration made that very clear with a plethora of Grinch motifs, fuzzy green suede upper and custom red shoe box. They released at the beginning of December – right in time to (attempt to) steal Christmas.
DTLR x New Balance 990v4 'Festive' (2023)DTLR x New Balance 990v4 'Festive' (2023)
As trees and lights are going up across the world, DTLR and New Balance are getting into the holiday spirit with the 990v4 that gives Grinch vibes exclusively for the kiddos. Dubbed the ‘Festive’ colourway, bright neon green makes up the mesh and suede upper with a metallic silver N logo and heel tab. Slime green and white make up the midsole and a glittery translucent outsole and red accents finish off the merry sneaker.