Biggest Pop Culture-Inspired Shoe Collabs of the Year

Character shoes are no longer just for kids.

In 2019, some of the buzziest shoe releases — particularly sneakers — were inspired by the biggest TV shows and movies of the present day and past.

One collab that hit sneakerheads with a wave of nostalgia: the Nike Kyrie x SpongeBob SquarePants collection. Two models of Kyrie Irving’s signature sneakers, the Kyrie 5 and the Kyrie 2 Low, were put out in colorways inspired by the Nickelodeon TV show, with colors modeled after characters such as “Sandy,” “Patrick,” “Mr. Crabs” and, of course, “SpongeBob” himself.

SpongeBob SquarePants x Nike Kyrie 5 Patrick
The SpongeBob SquarePants x Nike Kyrie 5 “Patrick.”

In addition to being a fan of SpongeBob, Irving is also a big fan of “Friends,” another Kyrie 5 colorway released this year inspired by the ’90s sitcom, with the show’s logo emblazoned near the heel.

Nike Kyrie 5 Friends
Nike Kyrie 5 “Friends.”

“Friends” wasn’t the only iconic ’90s favorite to get a second life in shoe form. K-Swiss put out a sneaker inspired by the classic yellow plaid look worn by Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz in “Clueless.”

K-Swiss x Clueless
K-Swiss x Clueless Classic VN sneakers.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

Meanwhile, a Fila capsule paid homage to a TV show ’90s babies know better than anyone: “Rugrats.” The Fila x Rugrats range included takes on the Disruptor 2, Original Fitness and Ray Tracer.

Fila Disruptor 2 x Rugrats
Fila Disruptor 2 x Rugrats.
CREDIT: Champs Sports

Retro inspo went a bit farther back with another buzzing collab, Nike x “Stranger Things.” The Netflix show’s ’80s Indiana setting was brought to life through reinterpretations of archival products, including Nike Cortez and Air Tailwind 70 sneakers.

Nike x Stranger Things shoes, collection
Nike x “Stranger Things” Cortez sneakers.

“Stranger Things” is a show with a massive cult following, but there’s perhaps no show that’s been more pervasive throughout the decade than “Game of Thrones.” The HBO program’s many fans went crazy for a collab between the show and Adidas, which featured Ultraboost sneakers inspired by the show’s ensemble cast.

Adidas x Game of Thrones House Targaryen Ultra Boost sneakers
Adidas x Game of Thrones “House Targaryen” Ultra Boost sneakers.
CREDIT: Adidas

Another Adidas collab appealed to fans from both a nostalgic and current lens. The German sportswear brand created three packs of “Star Wars”-inspired footwear, called “Lightsaber,” “Space Battle” and “Character.”

Star Wars x Adidas, star wars, adidas, sneakers
Adidas x Star Wars sneakers.
CREDIT: Adidas

Click through the gallery to see more buzzy shoes inspired by television and movies that released in 2019.

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