The Best Horror Movie-Inspired Sneakers Ever!
All Hallows' Eve is upon us — the one day of the year when we can dress up as our favourite mass murders and flail bloody machetes without facing trouble from the po po. Here at Sneaker Freaker HQ we tend to approach our Halloween get-ups a little different from most: we always start with our sneakers first! So in the spirit of the Samhain, join us as we reminisce on our favourite horror movie-inspired kicks.
Nike SB Dunk Low 'Freddy Krueger' (2007)
Let's start things off with the obvious choice. The so-called 'Freddy Krueger' was a not-so-subtle Dunk Low tribute to the Springwood Slasher, slated to release as part of Nike SB's 'Horror Pack' in the lead up to Halloween 2007. From the striped knit underlays to the blood-splattered leather overlays to the burnt-skin insoles to the razor-sharp silver Swooshes, every aspect of this infamous Dunk was executed to perfection.
However, there was just one problem: New Line Cinema — holders of the A Nightmare on Elm Street licence — were none too happy about the resemblance when they saw leaked images of the original leaked sample, namely the nod to Freddy's red and green striped sweater. Turns out, Freddy's sweater design is actually a registered trademark, and New Line threatened legal action if Nike proceeded with the release. In response, the Nike SB team scrapped the original design, which featured thicker stripes that more closely resembled Freddy's sweater, and put a tweaked design that was arguably even better!
Unfortunately for the Swoosh — and Freddy fans the world over — the tweaks weren't enough to keep the lawyers at bay. New Line Cinema obtained multiple internal emails that referred to the project with explicit references to Freddy Krueger and immediately filed a cease and desist. In what was literally days before the official release, Nike were forced to recall all pairs from stores and send them off to be destroyed.
Fortunately, for a select few horror movie diehards, some retail pairs made their way into public hands through a Mexican skate shop that mistakenly sold their pairs early. Additional pairs — which will always come sans packaging — reportedly escaped incineration (how appropriate!) by a crafty employee who was able to sneak a few out the backdoor. In addition to their lack of packaging, these pairs will almost always come stained with oil, an eternal reminder of their brush with death. Regardless of which version you seek, prepare to cough up well into the four-figures to add a pair of 'Freddy Krueger' Dunks to your collection.
Nike SB Dunk High 'Jason Voorhees' (2007)
With Freddy out of the picture, Friday the 13th's masked maniac Jason Voorhes took out title billing in the Nike SB 'Horror Pack'. The Dunk High 'Jason Voorhes' (as it was named by the public and not Nike SB themselves, of course...) featured a clean white, black and red leather colourway, inspired by Jason's signature hockey mask. There was more than meets the eye to this release, however. The red coating was actually applied loosely atop other leather to give the shoes a bloody appearance that can be scratched away with wear to cause maximum distress.
Nike SB Air Trainer 1 'Dawn of the Dead' (2007)
The third entry in Nike SB's 'Horror Pack' was also one of the most overlooked — likely because it wasn't a Dunk! The SB team constructed a Zoom Air-infused Air Trainer 1 based on the VHS cover to George A. Romero's legendary 1978 zombie flick, Dawn of the Dead. With the exception of the Excorcist-inspired Zoom Classic, the design was the most understated of the pack. However, the unsettling panels of grey suede, intended to mimic the flesh of the undead, was a nice touch.
Reebok Ventilator 'Chucky' (2007)
Also arriving in 2007, Reebok decided to release a pack of horror movie—inspired sneakers of their own, although they were a little more successful in getting all the designs on to shelves. The pack consisted of both Freddy and Jason tributes (of course!), but the real star of the pack was the denim-clad Ventilator inspired by Child's Play's slasher star: Chucky. The design was an extremely wearable tribute to the demonic doll, based on his signature Good Guys getup. Thankfully, the 'Bok didn't over do the design in pursuit of accuracy and balanced a wild striped fabric, a nod to Chucky's striped long-sleeve tee with clean white leather and laces. A gouged eyeball on the insoles made for a nice touch. Reebok were also thoughtful enough to prepare a matching Ventilator for Chucky's bride, Tiffany!
Laika x Nike Air Foamposite One 'ParaNorman' (2012)
Now for something a little more appropriate for the under-18 horror buffs. The Air Foamposite One 'ParaNorman' was created to celebrate the 2012 release of the CGI-animated horror comedy of the same name. This official collaboration was created in partnership with animation studio Laika and was limited to just 800 pairs, available only through a online 'Weird Wins' competition. Not only a great horror-inspired colab, these reign high as one of the best Foams ever made, thanks to their alluring graphic upper and glow-in-the-dark outsoles.
Extra Butter x Diadora N9000 'Giallo' (2016)
Now, here's one for the true horror diehards! Given the opportunity to create a Made in Italy Diadora N9000, the crew at NYC retailer Extra Butter capitalised on the Italian connection and concocted a tribute to the boot-shaped nation's unique thriller genre Giallo — in particular the 1975 Dario Argento flick Profondo Rosso. Extra Butter's colab borrowed the colours of the movie's iconic poster, and even included special hangtags to match.
Universal Monsters x Super 7 x Saucony Jazz Original (2018)
Saucony and Super 7 dove even earlier into horror history for Comic-Con 2018, producing four different renditions of the Jazz Original — officially themed after four legendary Universal Monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, and the Metaluna Mutant all received their own make-ups of the 1981 runner, sold exclusively through the Universal Monsters Boodega Monstore. Sadly, only 12 pairs of each design were made — one pair each in sizes 7 to 13 — so don't hold out hope of getting even one pair, let alone completing the set!
NJ Skate Shop x Nike SB Dunk Low 'Toxic Avenger' (2009)
This release was a tribute to a personal favourite quasi-horror/black comedy/super hero flick. In 2009, the crew at the imaginatively named, and New Jersey–based, skate shop NJ Skate Shop looked to one of their state's most famous B-grade film stars for their debut SB colab, producing a show-stopping pair of Dunk Lows inspired by 1984's The Toxic Avenger. This tribute to Troma Entertainment's most famous feature film combined a brown and olive leather upper with vibrant fluro pops and a toxic green outsole. Hopefully these will make an appearance in the long-delayed fourth Toxic Avenger sequel!
Nike Air Max 95 'Freddy Krueger' 2020
Like the infamous Dunk, the 95 vibes on Freddy's jumper, though it must be said the Swoosh skirted any potential legal issues by changing up the scheme a little. Burgundy and brown weaves wrap the upper, while blood red drips splattered on the heel tab and outsole insert point to the horrifying inspiration.