Sneakers are hugely popular now, but these kicks also have a long history with the city of New York. The New York Times pointed out that the sneakerhead culture began with the Black basketball and hip-hop communities from urban New York in the 70s and the 80s. Back then, sneakers were first viewed as purely for sports and accessories for cultural expression in the Big Apple. Now, sneakerhead culture has transformed into a global, multibillion-dollar industry.
Given their long history with each other, it’s no surprise that some high profile sneakers have been designed to honor the culture’s roots in the city.
With that in mind, here are four of the best sneaker tributes to New York:
New Balance x J.Crew 992 “NY” New York
New Balance may be based in Massachusetts, but its collaboration with J. Crew prompted the brand to release a tribute to New York. And of course, this collaboration paid homage to the state by basing the colorways on the state’s flag!
The New Balance 992’s original colorway is already well-loved, but it was given a makeover through the blue and orange mesh and suede. The dominant colors of the flag were then complemented with the rich brown suede and gum outsole.
Nike Dunk SB Low Staple “NYC Pigeon”
Pigeons are all over NYC, but one wouldn’t expect that these birds would inspire an entire sneaker design. In fact, you might be shocked to learn that one of the most sought after sneaker models was actually inspired by NYC pigeons.
Sneakerhead and designer Jeff Staple is responsible for the success of Nike Dunk SB Low Staple “NYC Pigeon”–the legendary brand collaborated with him to become a part of the anniversary of the Dunk basketball line. Jeff decided to represent the Big Apple Vibe by basing the colorways on pigeons. These limited-edition sneakers predominantly had black, gray, and white designs contrasted by a striking orange sole.
Nike SB Dunk High New York Mets
SoleSavy states that the Nike SB Dunk High “New York Mets” pays tribute to New York’s professional baseball team by featuring their signature colors within the design. The upper contains the team’s signature orange and royal blue colors, while the blue lining and special tongue tags complete the whole look. As part of Nike’s Dunk lineage, you can expect this sneaker model’s releases to be highly anticipated by fans.
Sports and New York are two of the primary factors that gave birth to sneakerhead culture. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Nike wanted to create a new sneaker model for a sports team that was founded in the Big Apple: the New York Mets.
Extra Butter x PUMA Clyde “Kings of New York”
Speaking of history, local hip hop groups like New York City Breakers and Rocksteady Crew boosted sneakers’ popularity by wearing the Puma Suede. Originally designed for sports, the Puma Suede became the preferred shoe for hip hop artists due to their durability and sleekness on the floor.
About four decades later, Puma paid homage to the history of NYC hip hop culture by releasing the Extra Butter x PUMA Clyde “Kings of New York”. These kicks are styled in crushed velvet uppers with thick laces and striking white soles. They even have premium leather detailing that can make you feel like a king.
Due to the rich history of sneakerhead culture in NYC, you can expect more exciting sneaker tributes in the future. For more exciting fashion news, check out our fashion articles here at Luxe Life NYC. Our guides on the latest fashion shows and trends are one way to help you stand out in the Big Apple.