For more than a decade, brands have been joining in the Lunar New Year festivities to celebrate the dawn of a new period. Lunar New Year is unlike other recurring themes due to the cyclical nature represented by the 12 animals of the zodiac, which is grounds for a fresh interpretation every year.
2023 marks the Year of the Rabbit, which was last seen in 2011, so we’re taking a look back at some of the best Lunar New Year sneakers of all time for the Lunar New Year.
Nike Dunk “Year of the Tiger”
Last year’s Nike Dunk Low “Year of the Tiger” was one of the best of all time and was made exclusively in GS sizing. It features a split construction, with the back half adorned with tiger stripes and a black Swoosh that blends seamlessly among them. Luckily, a Nike Dunk High version was made available for adults with the same motif.
Air Jordan 1 Low Bred CNY 2021
The “BRED” colorway of an Air Jordan 1 is always a surefire hit but combined with traditional-style bulls embroidered throughout in gold and the luxurious tassel rope wrapped around the shoe; you have a beautiful and respectful sneaker.
Air Jordan 5 Low 2021
While it may look like a simple affair at first glance, the Air Jordan 5 “Chinese New Year” features an intricate pattern underneath the removable sail upper, revealing a design inspired by a celebratory temple fair.
Nike Dunk Low “Firecracker”
The best part of any New Year’s celebration is the excitement and beauty of fireworks. Nike paid tribute to the festival with a Nike Dunk Low with graphic uppers designed to emulate the pop art style of firecracker packaging.
Air Jordan 12 “Chinese New Year”
Released back in 2019, this take on the Air Jordan 12 looks to be a remix of the “Reverse Taxi” colorway albeit with a satin upper; however, much like the Air Jordan 5 released two years later, the Air Jordan 12 features removable upper that reveals an underlying pattern.
Nike Air Force One “Year of the Dog (2005)”
The Nike Air Force One is a staple in the Chinese New Year collections, but few hold a candle to the “Year of the Dog” colorway released in 2005. The sneaker was a love letter to Tibet and was packed to the brim with details like faux fur as an ode to the Tibetan mastiff and orange panels representing the orange robes of the monks of the area.
Air Jordan 1 Low “Year of the Rabbit” 2023
Limited to 5,000 pairs, this Air Jordan 1 Low leans into the rabbit theme with soft suede overlays and fuzzy Swooshes. Add the familiar La Flame-like colors and another classic Air Jordan 1 Low.
Foamposite One “Tianjin”
In 2015, the Foamposite One was one of the biggest shoes in the world of sneakers, and this intricate take on the silhouette only strengthened the love for the sneaker. Its unique foam shell upper is adorned with classic Chinese artwork and lotus flowers, including embroidered on the tongue. The soft pink semi-translucent outsole adds an air of distinction to this piece of art.
Air Jordan 13 Chinese New Year 2020
For 2020’s “Year of the Rat” celebration, Jordan Brand took the iconic Air Jordan 13 and refreshed it with a design that draws from Chinese coins debossed on the upper. The look is finished with yin-yang-style Jumpman graphics on the tongue.
Foamposite One 2018
At the tail end of the Foamposite’s popularity, the sneaker dropped one last heater for the Lunar New Year. The shell drew inspiration from fireworks and included other prominent symbols like cranes and flowers.