The Coolest Japan-Exclusive Sneaker Releases Ever
Japan’s reputation as a bona fide sneaker mecca is well-documented. The island nation has long been a go-to destination for international sneakerheads, thanks to its well-established family of footwear chains, as well as a legendary core of specialty boutiques. However, in recent times, the local footwear fraternity have also been blessed with the release of numerous exclusive colourways.
At Sneaker Freaker, we love a killer region-exclusive drop, so we thought we’d take a look back at some of the coolest to ever hit the Land of the Rising Sun. Ready, set, ikou ze ~!
Slam Dunk x Air Jordan 6 (2014)
Each of the images pays tribute to the main protagonist Sakuragi, and his personal growth and on-court talent.
While it wasn’t necessarily a definitive Japan-exclusive drop, it was only released in very limited numbers outside of Japan, with a few select Asian stockists receiving pairs.
Nike Air Max 95 Premium QS ‘Mt. Fuji’ (2019)
The big branding craze that swept the sneakersphere in 2019 was divisive, but it’s hard to argue that this colourway was not one of the best executions we’ve seen.
The oversized ‘Just Do It’ slogans on the lateral and medial sides made a bold statement, but the rest of the composition was delightfully simple. The navy and grey tones made for easy wear, while the speckled midsole delivered just the right amount of pizzazz. Oh, and don’t sleep on that Fuji-themed tongue branding!
Air Jordan 5 T23 ‘Tokyo’ (2011)
This coveted AJ5 dropped in uber-limited numbers to celebrate the opening of the Jordan Tokyo 23 store. At present, pairs have been known to go for close to $10,000 a pop on the resale market!
In 2020, fans of the colourway were given a little taste of rare scheme, thanks to the mishmash ‘What The’ release.
mastermind JAPAN x Converse Addict Chuck Taylor All Stars (2020)
Sneakerheads all over the globe head to Japan in search of something a little different, and Converse’s Japan-exclusive Addict line delivers just that. As the name suggests, the high-end line is for the sneaker addicts, making use of the best materials.
Providing a classy low-key flex, streetwear label mastermind Japan apply some minimalist branding hits, phylon insoles, and Vibram outsoles to the iconic Chucks. Sometimes, simple is best!
atmos x Nike Air Max ZM950 (2020)
Inspired by the ‘Neon’ Air Max 95, a sneaker with a rich history in Japan, local retailer atmos took to one of Nike’s newest big-bubbled silhouettes: the Air Max ZM950.
A contemporary ode to the timeless sneaker, the design is revamped with lightweight monomesh and a neoprene liner. In the sole, the tooling includes Zoom Air pods at the forefoot, and a 270 Air unit in the heel.