There are few things that entice sneaker lovers more than a meaningful story or a moment attached to a shoe. As brands continue to incorporate contextual designs into their footwear, more consumers find a personal attachment in new releases. In this same vein, the top of the year lends itself to a wide range of Chinese New Year collections that celebrate the “Year of the Rat.” Most recently, Nike created a new collection that utilizes designs from the previous four years of the rat (1972, 1984, 1996, 2008) to revamp two iterations of the the Air Jordan 12, the Air Jordan XXXIII, three variations of the popular Nike Air VaporMax running sneaker, the Kyrie 5 and more. The special patterns draw inspiration from Yuxian paper-cutting, which is created by using scissors and knives to turn rice paper into eye-catching images of animals, flowers, landscapes and ancient folkloric figures. On the occasion of the 2020 Chinese New Year, here’s a look at GOAT’s top ten Lunar New Year-inspired shoes.
Release Date: January 18, 2020
Lowest Price: $235 USD
Expressing a theme of longevity, the Nike Air Max 1 “Chinese New Year Longevity” finds itself pressed on with a subtle dragon design that adorns the leather quarter panel, while the fuchsia patent leather mudguard is embossed with Chinese characters. Showcasing a vibrant color scheme, the shoe is highlighted by an acid washed denim toe box, metallic gold eyelets and a mix of butterfly and floral motifs at the collar and heel. A black midsole offsets the complex arrangement up top.
Release Date: January 24, 2020
Lowest Price: $205 USD
Both the UltraBOOST 20 and UltraBOOST DNA are revamped in three color options with each of them featuring embroidered embellishments including lotus flowers and other cultural references. The graphics make their way onto the BOOST midsoles for an added touch. Available in black, white and grey, each iteration offers distinct graphics such as gold three stripes branding, lotus flowers and other Chinese-inspired culture references.
Release Date: January 23, 2020
Lowest Price: $215 USD
The most recent release, this Air Jordan 13 Retro “Chinese New Year” kicks off the Year of the Rat with a pastel color scheme and a unique Chinese coin-inspired design on the sneaker’s signature side panels. The neutral hues up top are contrasted by a green holographic ‘cat eye’ on the lateral heel and a soft pink finish on the panther paw outsole. A black and white Jumpman-adorned tongue tag is the finishing touch.
Release Date: February 5, 2020
Lowest Price: $530 USD
To celebrate the 2018 Chinese New Year, Nike released the Air Foamposite One “CNY.” Featuring a Foamposite shell covered in fireworks and floral graphics, the sneaker is a fresh update to the 90s basketball silhouette. It boasts a black upper and an icy translucent outsole, red branding on the toe box, and black heel and tongue pull tabs for a seamless fit.
Release Date: January 26, 2019
Lowest Price: $100 USD
Alongside an accompanying Crazy BYW, the Pharrell x Solar Hu Glide ST “Chinese New Year” rang in the Year of the Pig as part of a collaborative CNY Pack. The lifestyle runner features a red and black knitted upper with gold accents and special embroidery on the toe of each shoe: ‘Hu’ on the right and the Chinese ‘Fu’ symbol on the left. It all sits on a full-length Boost midsole in classic white.
Release Date: January 18, 2014
Lowest Price: $205 USD
In celebration of the 2014 Chinese New Year, Nike SB commemorated the Year of the Horse with the Dunk Hi Premium SB “CNY” sneaker. This special edition of the skate-inspired Dunk takes inspiration from traditional Chinese colors that symbolize good luck and prosperity. From top to bottom, this all-red rendition features a premium suede and leather upper with metallic gold accents. A red midsole and glittery translucent outsole finish off the celebratory shoe.
Release Date: January 02, 2020
Lowest Price: $180 USD
The Air Jordan 34 “Chinese New Year” celebrates the lunar holiday with a two-tone black and white color scheme with subtle pops of color. On the sneaker’s toe box and lateral side panel, a semi-translucent layer is adorned with an all-over Chinese coin pattern, while the medial-side quarter panel is constructed from breathable black mesh. At the back, a perforated heel loop in vibrant fuchsia is placed just above a black and white Jumpman branding hit.
Release Date: December 15, 2019
Lowest Price: $175 USD
The adidas UltraBOOST is certainly no stranger to celebratory iterations, especially when it comes to Chinese New Year traditions. And while last year saw two simplistic renditions released to the public through a black/red makeover and special variation crafted by world-renowned chef Eddie Huang, this brand new design takes its Eastern decor to another level. Primeknit constructions see through to a full lighter grey upper, and are paired with translucent mid-foot cages and heel molds that give this OG model a clean canvas for its Chinese-themed accents. Vibrant floral graphics traditionally seen on Cheongsams are printed gracefully towards the rear portions and bleed into the BOOST cushioning where they eventually come to a halt at the mid-foot, leaving the fierce embroidered tiger stitched atop the toe box to enjoy its own moment in the spotlight.
Release Date: January 1, 2018
Lowest Price: $210 USD
Celebrating the Chinese New Year, the adidas UltraBOOST 4.0 “CNY” released in January 2018 with a two-tone design and special holiday-themed details. They include a unique marble finish on the laces and lining, as well as a circular tongue patch depicting a Chinese character surrounded by sharp teeth — a nod to the Year of the Dog. The Primeknit upper is crafted with a combination of black and red yarns, while the midfoot cage and heel cup are limited to solid black. The white BOOST midsole is contrasted by a bright red Continental Stretchweb outsole.
Release Date: March 17, 2019
Lowest Price: $215 USD
To commemorate the 2019 Chinese New Year festivities, Nike paid tribute with the maximalist “Chinese New Year” sneaker. Its upper is constructed with a mix of textile, pony hair and snakeskin. The exterior is detailed with a Bai Jia Yi quilted pattern and red patent leather accents. Its visible gold Max Air unit is engineered for cushioning and impact relief. The rubber outsole is underscored with a ‘prayer hands’ graphic for a contemporary, comfortable finish.