Sneaker enthusiasts with a passion for anime, known as sneakerheads and otakus, have always been drawn to anime-themed sneaker collaborations. This year has been no different, as numerous anime-inspired shoe collaborations have been released by popular brands such as Converse, Jordan, and Vans.
These collaborations have garnered a lot of attention in the sneaker community, allowing fans to show off their love for their favorite anime characters through their footwear. If you're an otaku interested in staying up-to-date on the hottest anime sneaker collaborations of 2022, here is a complete list that covers them all. And be sure to check out these anime shoes as well.
Eight popular anime sneaker collabs of 2022 that thrilled the sneaker world
Naruto x Jordan Zion 1
One of the most notable anime-themed sneaker collaborations of the year is the Naruto x Jordan Zion 1. In addition to being a global release of Nike's highly sought-after Jordan Zion line, the collaboration included one promotional colorway for the Jordan 200E and three unique Zion 1 colorways for the main release. The collaboration also featured a large apparel line with items matching each colorway, making it accessible to Naruto fans around the world.
Each of these styles features color schemes and design elements specific to certain characters from the "Big 3" series. The "Kyuubi" style perfectly captures Naruto's "Nine Tails" and "Sage of Six Paths" transformations with colors like Electric Yellow, Alpha Orange, and Black. The "Sage of Six Paths" style incorporates the same white and black dots found in the character depiction of the Sage of Six Paths, a deity-like ancestor of the Shinobi.
The "Nine Tails" style features jagged lines and dynamic designs in orange and black, representing the "One/Four/Eight Tails" transformation of Naruto. Finally, the "Jonin" style combines the colors found in the outfits of the highly-ranked Jonin Shinobi, military commanders in the series: olive green, navy, and white.
Demon Slayer x Skechers Sport
Demon Slayer, an anime known for its fluid animation, distinct art style, lovable characters, and rich world-building, has had a very successful run since it premiered in 2019. It has solidified its place as one of the "Next-gen Big 3" alongside Jujutsu Kaisen.
It was only a matter of time before an official Demon Slayer collaboration was released, and Skechers was the first to partner with the anime. The collection features the Stamina V2 and Global Jogger silhouettes, each with a colorway inspired by one of the main characters in the series.
For example, the Stamina V2 "Tanjiro" features the green and black ichimatsu (chessboard) pattern found on Tanjiro's kimono, while the Global Jogger "Zenitsu" features a lightning-themed yellow and white triangle pattern. The Demon Slayer x Skechers collection was released in Singapore in July.
JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure: Stone Ocean x Converse All-Star
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (JJBA), known for its unique and unconventional style, has had numerous intriguing collaborations, including the Gucci x Hirohiko Araki x Spur Exhibition held at Gucci's Shinjuku store in Japan.
In anticipation of the airing of JJBA's 5th season "Stone Ocean," JoJo teamed up with Converse to release a pair of All-Star high tops inspired by the season's main protagonist, Jolyne Cujoh. The sneakers feature the character's butterfly motifs, spiderweb-patterned clothes, and signature "JO" belt buckle, making them a must-have for any JJBA fan.
Sailor Moon x Vans
Vans and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon have partnered to bring the beloved anime's themes of friendship, justice, and love to a line of shoes, clothing, and accessories. The collection includes a variety of styles for women, men, and children, including the Sk8-Hi Stacked with satin patches, leather overlays, and Sailor Moon-themed accents, and the Authentic featuring characters from the series.
The Old Skool Patchwork features a patch print inspired by the anime, and the ComfyCush Slip-On features Sailor Guardians and the Dark Kingdom. The collection's apparel range includes tees, sweatshirts, panel caps, and backpacks, all featuring imagery from the series.
The Sailor Moon x Vans collection was released on June 10, with prices ranging from $17 to $180 for apparel and footwear.
Naruto Shippuden x ASICS
The widespread influence of Naruto and its sequel Naruto Shippuden is undeniable, with references to the 720-episode series appearing everywhere. While Naruto-inspired shoes and streetwear are not uncommon, the Naruto Shippuden x ASICS collaboration stands out for its unique origin. Rather than being designed by the manga's creator Masashi Kishimoto or anyone on the anime's production team, this three-part collection was created by Sebastien Abdelhamid, a French TV show host, for an exclusive release in Europe. This highlights the far-reaching impact of the anime.
The collection includes two different silhouettes and three colorways, each inspired by a different character. The red ASICS GEL-1130 (left) is based on Itachi, incorporating the sinister cloud print of the Akatsuki, one of the main antagonist groups to which Itachi belongs. The purple GEL-1130 (center) is inspired by Itachi's younger brother Sasuke, a primary deuteragonist (somewhere between a hero and villain) of the story. The blue GEL-LYTE III (right) takes its colorway from Kakashi, mentor to both Itachi (before he turned bad) and Sasuke (also before he turned bad).
Fun fact: by combining the red colors of Itachi (representing evil) and the blue colors of Kakashi (symbolizing good), you get the purple of Sasuke, standing somewhere in between. Other interesting design elements of the collection include the icons on the tongues of each shoe, with the Mangekyou Sharingan appearing on the "Itachi" and "Kakashi" colorways and the Rinnegan Sharingan appearing on the "Sasuke" colorway. It is clear that Abdelhamid put a lot of thought and care into creating this collection, which is what makes it so appealing.
Attack on Titan x BAIT x adidas UltraBOOST
Many people were introduced to the world of anime through Attack on Titan, a manga/anime that combines action, horror, politics, drama, and philosophical commentary into an accessible storyline. Despite setbacks, the anime continues to generate buzz with each new season, including the recent airing of Attack on Titan's Season 4 Part 2.
American West Coast retailer BAIT, known for capitalizing on popular cultural trends, partnered with adidas to create a capsule collection inspired by scenes from Season 3 Part 2. This season featured a battle between the main character Eren Yaeger and the Colossal Titan, who has one of the most iconic designs in the series.
The adidas UltraBOOST at the center of the capsule collection is based on this character design, using the Colossal Titan's exposed bones and cartilage as inspiration for the shoe's off-white cage, highlights, and inner lining. The Titan's blood-red muscle strands and flesh are represented on the remaining sections of the upper and midsole, creating a truly unique UltraBOOST. We're glad BAIT jumped on this opportunity.
Pokemon x Converse
While Pokemon and Converse already partnered in January 2022, their May 2022 collaboration gained widespread attention for its minimalist interpretation of anime sneakers. For this partnership, four pairs of Converse All-Star Chuck Taylors were designed to represent classic Pokemon - Pikachu, Eevee, Piplup, and Mewtwo.
Each Chuck Taylor features a pixelated game character based on a primary color from the Pokémon design on the tongue tab, as well as a textbox with the character's name, height, weight, and Pokédex code located underneath the heel.
Converse took a more subtle approach with this collection, opting for minimalism rather than bold, statement pieces. Despite this, each Chuck Taylor is easily recognizable as representing a specific Pokémon, making the collection unique in its own right.
These shoes were offered in multiple sizes and were available for around $76 (¥ 9,900).
Jujutsu Kaisen x Dolce & Gabbana
Jujutsu Kaisen has gained a reputation as one of the "Next-gen Big 3" in the manga and anime industry, known for its captivating storylines, complex superpower systems, relatable characters, and high-quality animation. In 2022, the franchise took its first foray into the world of fashion by collaborating with Dolce & Gabbana, an Italian luxury brand known for combining traditional Sicilian cultural elements with modern style in its clothing, particularly women's pantsuits.
The collaboration, which was led by Jujutsu Kaisen director Sunghoo Park, resulted in a collection featuring eight streetwear outfits for eight characters, as well as two new Jujutsu Kaisen-themed sneakers. The D&G Daymaster Sneakers, worn by main characters Megumi Fushiguro and Togi Inumake, are available in two different colorways and feature the Jujutsu College School logo on the outer side of the upper.
The white D&G NS1 Sneakers, which are not worn by any character in the series, also include the Jujutsu College colors and a slightly more subtle school logo. Fans have praised the collection for accurately portraying the fashion sense of each character and for bringing together the worlds of high fashion and anime.
One Piece x Vans
Vans, a well-known skateboarding brand known for its support of artistic expression, has announced a collaboration with the Japanese anime series One Piece. The partnership will result in a range of footwear and clothing, allowing fans to relive the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew through the Vans x One Piece collection.
The collection features several standout designs, including the Sk8-Hi Punk Hazard, which features a 360-degree graphic wrap representing the fiery and frozen sides of the island, and the Classic Old Skool with the iconic devil fruit.
Other notable items in the collection include the Classic Authentic, which is embroidered with One Piece insignia, and the Skate Classics collection, featuring Wanted posters of characters Nami and Nico Robin on the Skate Sk8-Hi and Skate Old Skool, respectively.
Gundam X Nike
One of the best anime sneaker collaborations to date is the partnership between Gundam, the pioneering "mecha" anime, and Nike, a leader in the sneaker industry. Gundam has influenced many popular mecha-suits in pop culture, including Transformers, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Godzilla, and Pacific Rim.
Nike has cleverly capitalized on the success of the Gundam franchise by collaborating with them over the years. The company's first pair, the Air Max 98 "Gundam," released in 1998, combined the signature Gundam suit colors of red, blue, white, and black into a single shoe. 20 years later, the classic colorway returned in the form of a Retro. The success of this re-release led Nike to create the Air Max 97 "Gundam," featuring the same colors in muted tones on the wavy silhouette.
In 2021, Nike collaborated with Bandai, a toy maker for the Gundam franchise, to produce a Gundam-themed version of the SB Dunk High, a silhouette that has gained popularity in recent years.
The collaboration resulted in two new colorways: the white/red/black/yellow "02 Banshee" and the orange/black/blue/gold "RX-0 Unicorn." Both colorways are inspired by the designs of the Gundam mechas they are named after, and even feature unique elements such as robot-like vents at the toe box, special stitching, and Gundam logos.
One of the coolest aspects of this collection is the removable Swoosh, which allows owners to choose between a flashy or casual look. The success of this collaboration is due to the way each design honors the anime in a unique way, from the classic AM98 to the neutral, wavy AM97, to the customizable SB Dunk High. Each release puts a new spin on the theme, showcasing the potential of anime-sneaker collaborations.
Some of the best anime collaborations of 2022 included the partnerships between Vans and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, and One Piece and Vans. Fans looking to purchase items from these collections can visit the respective brand's website or check with retail outlets if the items are not available on the official brand store. Also be sure to check out Ayuko's original anime sneakers for more cool anime shoes.