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Sneaker Brands Are Looking to Anime for Inspiration This Season

Sadly, superpowers are not included.
Photo: @highsnobietysneakers/Instagram

Photo: @highsnobietysneakers/Instagram

Sneaker culture has officially gone super mainstream, but I think we can all agree that 2017 was arguably the year of kicks. Whether it was Nike's Air Max 97s and Cortez's revival, Skechers's D'Lites comeback or Yeezy overload at SneakerCon, the hype was real. That being said, the stakes are high for 2018, but after eyeing Nike, Adidas and Skechers's most recent collaborations, it's safe to say that the industry is starting off — dare I say it — on the right foot.

While you can likely expect the same sort of brand crossovers or celebrity-designed shoes that dominated 2017, these mega brands are also serving up an unexpected (and geeky) twist: they are tapping into the anime industry. Since sneaker silhouettes have already reached cartoonish levels ― see Balenciaga's colorful Triple S and Louis Vuitton's Spring/Summer 2018 chunky unconventional sneakers ― why not channel cartoons themselves?

As if taking that question to heart, in December of 2017, Adidas announced that it will be collaborating with the iconic anime series "Dragon Ball Z" for seven special-edition sneakers that will be modeled after its most famous super sayians and villains alike, and will drop late 2018. When it comes to Skechers's agenda, the brand is really pushing a comeback in the East with an Asia exclusive collaboration with one of "Shonen Jump"'s 'Big 3,' "One Piece." Just like Adidas, you can expect a multicolored design that channels your favorite animated pirate. And last but not least, Nike will be rebooting the Air Max 98 "Gundam" for the soon to come 20th anniversary. Though this reboot may not be directly related to the anime franchise created by Sunrise, the silhouette and its white, blue and red colored details are too similar to the original Gundam to ignore.

Photo: @yeezymafia/Instagram

Photo: @yeezymafia/Instagram

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Now, with fashion trying to reshape its concept of 'ugly' and satisfy its constant hunger of trying to understand what younger generations are interested in, long gone are the days when watching anime, playing video games and even wearing your favorite characters' merch was deemed uncool, and you can say hello to a more subdued way of cosplaying, of sorts. Plus, it's not the first time they have nodded to the virtual and cyber aspect of our everyday lives.

Take Nicolas Ghesquière, for example. The creative director of Louis Vuitton is no stranger to merging reality with the digital world. His Spring 2016 collection was inspired by "Neon Genesis Evangelion," "Ghost in the Shell," and "Sailor Moon," while  the "Ghost in the Shell" score opened his Fall 2017 runway show. (Also see LV's Series 4 campaign which stars "Final Fantasy" character, Lightning, or even his Spring 2018 collection to compare the oversized kicks with something a certain character from cult favorite video game "Kingdom Hearts" would totally wear.) In addition, Netflix's recent anime series "Neo Yokio" — voiced by LV face Jaden Smith, Tavi Gevinson, and more — was basically targeted at fashion people, featuring characters like a demon-possessed blogger and a Le Labo-wearing, Bergdorf Goodman-frequenting bachelor.

Alas, in 2018, maybe you won't have to carefully craft your Comic-Con ensemble, but instead opt for these pieces inspired by your Toonami day favorites. Think anime (and gaming) but make it fashion, like our favorite combination of the two on Tumblr, Pokéxfashion. Because at the end of the day it’s called dressing up: We put on our desired costumes and go out into the world, and these sneakers will simply broaden our sources of inspiration. 

Homepage photo: @highsnobiety/Instagram

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