(Main Picture) Air Jordan 1 Low in their Chinese finery. (Above clockwise from top left) Nike’s LeBron 18 ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’, Adidas pony hair-covered ZX 420 sneakers, Gucci X Doraemon Ace and Reeboks’ Instapump Fury OG.
Sneaker heads make shoe contact before they make eye contact. Make sure yours stand up to scrutiny with this latest drop in the Year of the Ox.
Ever year NIKE marks the Chinese New Year with a special capsule. Two stand out for us this year. Though our favourite would have to be Air Jordan 1 Low ‘CNY’ with its black and red colourway and Chinese Ox themed embroidery, gold details and gold tassel. Also in red, Nike’s LeBron 18 ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ comes with good luck symbols, bold red knit uppers and graffiti graphics by 400ml_Brand, a Chinese creative unit. With blue laces splattered with red, the shoe has ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ in a graffiti-inspired font on the tongue and insole.
Gucci has roped in a cartoon character for its Gucci X Doraemon Ace, in ivory leather with a red and green web, green leather details and a Doraemon patch. Meanwhile Adidas is going all out with its cow print, pony hair-covered ZX 420 sneakers legend from the ’80s. These sneakers in ‘Cloud White/Lush Red/Core Black’ colourway, have a cow print upper, red embroidery on the tongue lace lock and a brass hoop (signifying the bull nose ring). The three stripes are in white and red TPU. Also note that the ZX 420 was the final Adidas sneaker to be released in the ’80s, so quite rare. This Chinese New Year one, even more so.
Reebok is going bold and gold with its Instapump Fury OG in ‘Chalk/Gold Metallic/China Red.’ Modelled on the original 1994 style, it features ‘chalk’ leather components on the toe box, mid-panel section and heel. The embroidered Chinese typography on the heel is in gold metallic. China Red is used strategically and sparingly.
A shoe that fits in this collection for its looks but was released in November 2020 is the New Balance and Franck Muller collab. The exclusive collaboration sees Franck Muller’s imaginative world of time projected onto New Balance’s design, CM996. The shoe available exclusively in Japan, is embossed with Franck Muller’s signature Byzantine numerals, used on the brand’s trademark timepieces. Will it be issued again? Can’t say. But considering it sold out, we won’t be surprised if it is.
(Below) New Balance and Franck Muller exclusive collab.