The All-Time Greatest Video Game-Inspired Sneakers: Part 1
This article was originally published on November 16, 2021.
Need to add that digital drip to your weekly rotation? Flick the switch on some truly next-level collaborations involving everything from 8-bit 80s arcades to circuit-breaking next-gen Grails. Blow some dust off the cartridge and get ready to lace the greatest video game-inspired sneakers of all time!
10. Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 SD ‘Street Fighter’10. Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 SD ‘Street Fighter’
Does it get any nastier than a link-up between Street Fighter’s Chun-Li and Onitsuka Tiger? Scheduled to land next month, the Mexico 66SD comes in two colourways guaranteed to slap like Chun-Li’s lethal Spinning Bird Kick. According to the Japanese label, only 5,000 pairs will be made available worldwide. Each pair of Mexico 66 SDs will also come with a product code unlocking the specific silhouette in the game (and corresponding bodysuit) for that much-needed digital drip.
9. PUMA RS-O ‘Error’9. PUMA RS-O ‘Error’
The Big Cat have been prowling through the 1990s of late, introducing their recent PUMA RS-X silhouette to the world of MTV, Hot Wheels and Transformers. But it was the recent RS-O rendition of 80s gaming that really pulled our attention, the glitched-out aesthetics triggering some rather infuriating memories from early arcade gaming. Belonging to the ‘Game Pack’ (which also included a clever ‘Restart’ rendition of the RS-O), the silhouette is one of the most creative interpretations of arcade gaming we’ve seen.
8. Air Jordan 1 ‘Xbox’8. Air Jordan 1 ‘Xbox’
The uber-limited Air Jordan 1 ‘Xbox’ was first seen hitting the showroom floor during E3 2018. Appearing on the heels of the Nike Air Force 1 ‘PlayStation’, the AJ1 featured luxe glow-in-the-dark outsoles with Xbox logos stamped on the insoles and lace tips. The design quickly picked up huge resale value online and was recently auctioned off to raise money for Huntington’s Disease research. Is the Air Jordan 1 silhouette a cheat code? Maybe, but it’s still one of the cleanest renditions on the list.
7. Nike Dunk SB Low ‘Skate or Die’7. Nike Dunk SB Low ‘Skate or Die’
Sandy Bodecker delivered a masterstroke with the Nike SB, finally giving the Swoosh a clean drop-in on a lucrative market they’d already tried twice to crack: skateboarding. Once derided by commentators as the ‘death of skateboarding’, the Nike Dunk SB quickly picked up speed in the industry, linking up for a mind-boggling number of collaborations and colourways. Still one of our all-time favourite Dunk SBs, this iteration brings the late-80s street iconography into full swing with a tribute to the Electronic Arts video game, Skate or Die. Built with Aqua Blue suede overlays, the limited edition Nike SB Low nailed the landing with one of the best releases of 2008.
6. Nike Air Force 1 ‘PlayStation’ (2018)6. Nike Air Force 1 ‘PlayStation’ (2018)
The Sony PlayStation 2 is still the highest-selling console of all time, shifting a mind-boggling 155 million units since its release back in 2000. Linking up with Nike for a rendition of the Air Force 1, this collaboration is easily one of the most esteemed duos to ever get laced. Built with glossy patent matte leather uppers, the Air Force 1 also channels one of the best controllers in the business (DualShock 2), the silhouette implementing a holographic gel Swoosh and the ‘sacred symbols’ stamped on the heels. Making its debut during E3 2018, the Nike Air Force 1 ‘PlayStation’ is a damn clean design that doesn’t quite edge the OG model of 2006 – one of our dopest Air Force 1s of all time.
5. Nike SB Dunk Low Pro ‘720 Degrees’5. Nike SB Dunk Low Pro ‘720 Degrees’
Taking aesthetic cues from Atari’s 1986 classic, 720 Degrees, the Nike SB Dunk Low Pro pounded the pavement outside arcades in a ‘Dark Charcoal’ and ‘Bright Pink’ colour palette, rotating heads a full 360 degrees with chequered lining recalling Atari’s psychedelic cover art. Master of cultural allusions, the Dunk Low Pro provided the perfect canvas for the world’s first skateboarding video game, ushering in decades worth of quality skateboarding titles that surely hit their zenith over the millennium with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.
4. Nike PG 2 ‘PlayStation’
Built with light-up tongues, legitimate DLC codes, and an intergalactic midsole reminiscent of the PlayStation’s home screen, the Nike PG 2 is truly next level. Taking cues from Paul George’s love of gaming (he travels with a PlayStation), the PG 2 features wrap-around support overlays with an icy translucent outsole, paint-splattered mids, and DualShock 2 motifs stamped across the uppers. Let’s hope Paul George can get back to his MVP form during the 2019–20 season – maybe the injury-prone OKC guard needs interchangeable battery packs, something not featured in the PG 2 PlayStation (CC: Nike).
3. Air Jordan 4 ‘Game Boy’ (Custom)3. Air Jordan 4 ‘Game Boy’ (Custom)
Look, if you’re going to drop $1300 on sneakers, it may as well be these. Built by Freaker Sneaks, the Air Jordan 4 ‘Game Boy’ is truly exceptional, somehow combining one of the Jordan Brand’s most legendary sneakers with Nintendo’s circuit-breaking Game Boy release of ‘89. With a cartridge hanging from the side, the Super Mario edition (shown above) belongs to a series involving nuclear Air Jordan 4 renditions of NBA Jam and Zelda.
2. Nike SB Dunk High Pro ‘Pacman’ / ‘Ms. Pacman’2. Nike SB Dunk High Pro ‘Pacman’ / ‘Ms. Pacman’
Pacman, one of the more unassuming badasses in the gaming galaxy, gets splattered across one of Nike’s most iconic silhouettes in this rendition of the Dunk High Pro. Throwing it all the way back to the yellow blob from vintage arcades, Nike SB dressed the Pro in overlays matching Namco’s tour-de-force from 1980, giving kids the chance to hit the pavement once the machines swallowed all their pocket shrapnel. With a follow-up drop in 2009, the ‘Ms. Pacman’ build perhaps even edges the OG drop, with electric blue and pink uppers sharing the reflective yellow trims of her hubby.
1. Nike Air Force 1 ‘Playstation’ (2006)1. Nike Air Force 1 ‘Playstation’ (2006)
Currently locked at $4,000 on StockX, the original Air Force 1 ‘PlayStation’ build is legendary. One of the most coveted and hard-to-cop kicks of all time, the Friends and Family Air Force 1 took the silhouette to even greater heights. They brought a digital drip to a tense console war between Sony and Microsoft (The Air Force 1 ‘Playstation’ dropped in the lead-up to the PlayStation 3 and one year after Microsoft released the Xbox 360). Fans were left to pick up their jaws from the floor with this one. Built with piano black patent leather, the sneaker flexes a visual fidelity rivalling next-gen gaming rigs. With individual numbering on all 150 pairs, the most notable recipient of the Air Force 1 was the man with the most venomous drip of them all – Kobe ‘The Black Mamba’ Bryant. In 2009, Sony gave fans another crack at the design. The bad news? It was even more limited than the initial drop.
What’s your favourite video-game-inspired sneaker of all time? Make sure to sound off on our socials and have your say!