Having detailed how brands have used footwear to bridge cultural gaps, Stadium Goods Journal digs a layer deeper as we delve into moments where sneaker culture and the movie world have converged.
No matter your thoughts on Hollywood, the indoctrinated politics, lack of racial disparity, et al., one thing remains certain – film is a magical way to convey a story visually.
From expert storytelling to stunning cinematography, film encompasses an array of things to inspire creatives. (What you latch onto is totally dependent on what piques your interests.) Even the world's greatest creators cite film as inspirations for their personal labors of love. And that includes product, namely fresh kicks that pull from out favorite moments on the silver screen.
Stadium Goods revisits some unique sneakers that cite amazing moments in film. Let's see how this list grows over time, shall we.
Nike Kyrie 3 "Mamba Mentality"
Style: AJ1672 700
"Mamba Mentality" is an affirmation and lifestyle coined by NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Nike channeled the phrase while designing the Kyrie 3 "Mamba Mentality."
Released September 15, 2017, just weeks before the most pinnacle season in Kyrie Irving's career – following a requested trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers that gave him a fresh start with the Boston Celtics – this pair references the Kobe 5 "Bruce Lee." (This was Kyrie's sneaker of choice while playing in the Nike Extravaganza in California at 17-years-old.)
Longtime martial arts film buffs immediately attributed Bruce Lee's The Game of Death as the inspiration for the sleek yellow and black design, with subtle hints of red.
The Game of Death was the movie Lee ultimately never finished due to his untimely death. However, imagery of him rocking the vibrant yellow jumpsuit with black stripes are forever attached to his legacy.
Nike Dunk High "Coraline Dunks"
Style: 373349 771
Nike and animated film studio Laika Entertainment are bound by blood. And no, we aren't being dramatic. There's a true life father-son relationship between Phil Knight, co-founder of the former and chairman of the latter, and the animation studio's President and CEO Travis Knight.
In 2002, Phil purchased Will Vinton Studios amid a financial crisis, after serving as an outside investor for four years. During this time, Travis was an animator for the studio, which specialized in stop-motion films and commercials.
Throughout the early aughts, Will Vinton Studios underwent a massive rebranding, reemerging in 2005 as Laika – named after Laika, the dog sent to space by the Soviet Union in 1957.
It's first project was Coraline, a stop-motion film based on Neil Gaiman's 2002 novel of the same name. Coraline is described as a young, precocious girl who moves from Pontiac, Michigan into a dilapidated apartment complex in Ashland, Oregon, after her parents relocate for work. It's there that she meets a quirky list of neighbors, just before she finds a button-eyed ragdoll that bears an eerily striking resemblance to her.
As the story unfolds, we discover that the doll is a ploy from Beldam, the evil ruler of the Other World, to trap Coraline there forever with a host of other missing persons, including her neighbor Mrs. Lovat's long lost twin sister.
The Knights saw the film as the perfect opportunity to use Nike's brand power for marketing purposes. The result was a Dunk High themed after the aforementioned doll.
Coraline went on to be nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe, and nab an Annie Award.
Nike Air Foamposite One "ParaNorman"
Style: 579771 003
In 2012, Laika's goal was to follow-up the success of Coraline, its first-ever feature film
With all creation happening in-house, the follow-up was ParaNorman – a story centered around Norman, an 11-year-old boy deemed strange by his family and peers, with the ability to speak to the dead including his deceased grandmother.
Similar to the marketing campaign for Coraline, Laika used their relationship with Nike as a means of cross-branding. Enter the Nike Air Foamposite One “ParaNorman.”
The special release was exclusively available via a social media giveaway with simple contest rules: win by sharing a photo of yourself as a child doing something "weird."
The Foamposite One is anchored by a black upper, with very overt Electric Green accents appearing throughout a la the glow seen around the undead in the film. The heel and pull tab feature matching green details, featuring Norman's likeness on the former and the phrase "Weird Wins" on the latter.
Nike Roshe Run Trollstrike
Style: 748863 200
Let's make it a trifecta.
Once again, the good folks at Laika leveraged their relationship with Nike while marketing The Boxtrolls. The film follows Eggs, an orphan boy raised by Boxtrolls (named for the cardboard boxes they wear), who've been relegated by society and forced to create a subterranean civilization.
The third-ever film by Laika was accompanied by an extremely limited special release of the Roshe Run, this time featuring a redesigned look coined the "Trollstrike." A burlap sack and brown leather upper paired with a brick graphic on the midsole make for a Roshe any troll would love.
Shoes were released exclusively via a special site, with all proceeds going to the Adoption Exchange Association – a nonprofit child welfare organization committed to connecting foster children with families looking to adopt.
Air Jordan 15 Retro "Kubo"
Upping the ante after the success of the aforementioned films, Laika, along with Focus Features, delivered their first-ever Air Jordan collab in celebration of Kubo and the Two Strings, using the unlikely choice of the Air Jordan 15.
During an interview with Complex legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield admitted that he's called the AJ 15 his least favorite Air Jordan, and that this project was an opportunity to rework past design mistakes on the model. The result is a sleeker take on the shoe, which is inspired by the film's theme of good versus evil. Alternating colorways on the same sneaker, the left is red and the right, blue. The tradition lacing system is replaced for a more favorable zip-up sock, each featuring embroidery. Additional detailing on the heel adds a nice touch.
The extremely limited Air Jordan 15 features mismatched red and blue accents, insect graphics, and a modified construction.
Reebok Alien Stomper MID PL
Reebok's Alien Stomper series continues with this two-shoe pack inspired by the epic final battle scene. It features one yellow and black striped colorway inspired by famed character Ripley's Powerloader robotic cargo suit and the other option sports a glossy finish referencing the Xenomorph Queen. The pack was unveiled on April 26, 2017. (For context, 4/26 has been designated “Alien Day” in reference to the colonial moon in ‘Aliens’ being called LV-426.) Needless to say that the Alien Stomper Pack is for sneaker heads and movie buffs alike. Please keep in mind that the shoes are unisex.
Air Jordan 3 Retro "Do The Right Thing"
Style: 315297 471
Jordan Brand and legendary director Spike Lee have a relationship that spans nearly 30 years. But a crowning moment in the culture moments the two have created came in the latter's 1989 film Do The Right Thing.
First premiered at Cannes Film Festival on May 19 of that year and nationwide on July 21, the film depicts a scorching hot summer day in a neighborhood in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section.
Some would say that the Air Jordan 4 had a supporting role in the film. However, the first DTRT-themed shoe arrived in 2007 with this bold rendition of the Air Jordan 3, featuring a bright blue upper and yellow and green accents derived from the look of the movie’s promotional poster.
Air Jordan 11 Retro "Space Jam"
Style: 378037 003
The Air Jordan 11 "Space Jam" is the eponymous shoe tied to Michael Jordan's child-friendly big screen debut.
Released on November 15, 1996, Space Jam imagined His Airness as the saving grace of Looney Tunes Land, as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and company were in the crosshairs of Mr. Swackhammer, the owner of interstellar theme park "Moron Mountain" and mastermind of an elaborate for his minions to steal the talent of premiere NBA talent.
Jordan debuted the "Space Jams" a year prior, as he rocked a sample version during the NBA Playoff Semifinals in 1995. But he also famously wore the shoe during the big Looney Tunes vs. Moron Mountain game in the flick.
That very same sample pair was the rubric for the most recent "Space Jam" retro in 2016. Differences are in the sneaker's details, along with updates to the silhouette. That includes '45' heel branding as opposed to the '23,' to represent the number MJ wore when he returned from his first retirement.
Like recent iterations of the AJ 11, the cut on the patent leather mudguard is different. This pair also dons white stitching.
Nike Air Mag
Style: 417744 001
Link: Nike Air Mag
Perhaps the most recognizable shoe listed, the Nike Air Mag immediately translates into nostalgia, for it is one of the most memorable moments from Back to the Future Part 2.
Michael J. Fox's beloved character Marty McFly time traveled to October 21, 2015 (ironic, much), to a world filled with flying cars and self-lacing sneakers.
The latter eventually materialized one-year later in the real world. But the first time we saw the Air Mag was in 2011 via limited eBay auctions to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation. With each auction closing in thousands of dollars, the Mag quickly became one of the rarest, most coveted kicks on the market.
Credit that, in part, to its construction, as it featured light up fixtures in the ankle strap, heel, and sole.
Its prominence only heightened when Nike re-released the shoe in 2016, this time featuring the auto-lacing technology seen in BTTFP2.
Nike Hyperdunk Supreme
Style: 333343 011
Link: Nike Hyperdunk Supreme
As if the Hyperdunk wasn't already an innovative basketball model, Nike upped the ante with this throwback to the Back to the Future series.
Like the aforementioned Nike Air Mag, we see this pair representing the color scheme from the legendary auto-lacing shoe. Nike dressed the shoe in a gunmetal grey upper featuring light blue gridlines, all sitting underneath a space grey leather panel on the toe and laces. Light blue speckles coat the midsoles, while the same color trim surrounds the swoosh and NIKE lettering on the heel.
Finally, the iconic Back to the Future logo is stamped on the tongue in bright orange.