Earlier this year, Sneaker News examined the history of Nike Chinese New Year sneakers, noting that the first ‘Year of the . . . ‘ drop came with the first Horse Air Force 1s in 2002. This was the start of a movement we’ve seen thoroughly fleshed out in recent years, whereby annual holidays serve as inspiration for limited edition sneakers. It took a little while to get the ball rolling on these annual traditions, and about three years after the first YOTH drops, Nike turned to another holiday that’s rich in colorful inspiration.
Nike released its first Easter-inspired colorway in 2005, and in the years since, we’ve seen both an increase in activity from both the Swoosh and their rivals. And with another set of Nike Basketball signatures dropping on Good Friday, the time is right to go back and look over some of the highlights of the past decade. So join us, as we hunt down some of history’s best Easter kicks in tonight’s edition of Sneaker News NINE@NINE:
Nike Air Force 1 Low “Easter Egg” (2005)
The very first Nike Easter shoe released in 2005. This ‘Easter Egg’ AF1 brought in the season’s pastel colors, adding a bit of extra energy by way of the upper’s patent leather gloss. By breaking up the blocking across each of the upper panels, this pair’s layout mimicked the striped look of the egg icons placed on the tongue tags and insoles.
Nike Air 180 “Easter Egg” (2006)
That cracked egg logo showed up again the following year, as a similarly pastel-ified colorway was applied to the Air 180 runner. The color scheme was also quite similar but this pair opted for a mostly purple upper the likes of which has not been seen on this model before or since (the lone possible exception being last year’s ‘Beaches of Rio’ EMs).
Nike Dunk High “Easter” (2007)
The Nike Dunk High was celebrating its tenth year of reintroduction when its first Easter style hit stores. This silhouette was one of the hottest in the game in 2007 when a chocolate brown (Dark Cinder, actually) upper found its match in Aluminum Pink accents on a candy-themed design. Was it a coincidence that only one year later, +41 dropped those ‘Mini Choco Sneakers’?
Air Jordan 1 Mid “Easter/Hare Pack” (2009)
Jordan Brand has an especially cool way of connecting with the Easter holiday thanks to their ongoing relationship with Warner Bros’ Bugs Bunny. In ’09, JB dropped two Air Jordan 1 Mids, with one taking on styling inspired by the ‘Hare’ Air Jordan VII, and the other pair opting for tonal brown plus pink hits for ladies. Both included ‘HARE’ tongue tags, with Bugs in the Jumpman pose in place of the traditional logos.
Nike Zoom KD IV “Easter” (2012)
This shoe might be the most successful Easter sneaker Nike has released to date. We say that because it came in under the radar with an enticing $95 price tag, but thanks in part to the successes of the ‘Nerf’ and ‘Weatherman’ colorways (arguably the two most coveted KDs to date), sneakerheads and collectors hold Kevin Durant’s fourth signature in high regard. These now go for well over that MSRP, and might be flaunting the biggest after market price jump of any pair on this list.
Nike Lunar Force 1 “Easter Pack” (2013)
2013 had some huge shoes to follow after the Air Force 1’s 30th anniversary blowout the year before. One highlight that kept the momentum from the XXX capsule going was this Easter egg hunt-inspired six-pack, featuring white-on-white uppers with translucent color outsoles and limited to just 100 pairs.
Nike Kobe 8 “Easter” (2013)
The second Kobe Easter pair was one of the most literal interpretations of the egg theme to date. The colorway faded from soft green to yellow to purple, a scheme that on paper would fit Mardi Gras as well, but one whose connection to that plasticky grass was made evident with the Paas-like gradients.
Reebok Kamikaze II/Question (2014)
This year is not Reebok’s very first Easter release, far from it in fact. But it might be the best. And that’s thanks to two recently resurrected classics from around 1996, Shawn Kemp’s Kamikaze II and Allen Iverson’s Question. Both get pastel colorways coming up for Good Friday, with the Question’s Hexalite units offering an interesting take on the whole egg theme.
Nike LeBron 11 Low “Easter” (2014)
Since Nike Basketball established the spring tradition in ’12, each LeBron Easter sneaker has been a lowtop. This year is no exception, with the ‘Easter’ LeBron 11 Lows marking the lower cut silhouette’s first release. The paisley theme fits with today’s graphic trends, but more importantly, it shows that there are still plenty of holiday themes to explore outside the obvious egg hunt.