Merry Kicksmas! A countdown of our favorite holiday-themed sneakers, part 1


Happy holidays, everybody! Whether you’re working hard, on Christmas break or scrambling to get those last-minute gifts secured, we hope you’re enjoying the festive season.

A sneaker rotation is never complete without some special pairs you can break out for specific occasions like Christmas.

Over the years, many brands have celebrated the holiday season by releasing Christmas-themed sneakers that are perfect for rocking to the office party, dinner with the family or on the couch to watch the NBA’s Christmas Day action.

Adrian Crawford, JD Finish Line brand content specialist: I’m personally a big fan of holiday-themed kicks, and I know my eagle-eyed designer pal Jimmy Donofrio is as well, so we’ve put our heads together to rank our top 10 favorite Christmas-inspired kicks. Stay tuned over the next few days for each installment. Happy holidays, Jimmy!

Jimmy Donofrio: Adrian, what a treat! Thank you for having me. I’m nothing if not festive, and there’s nothing that jingles my bells more than the holidays. The tastes. The smells! And, head to toe, the aesthetic.

AC: And it’s the toe we’re focusing on this week. So without further ado, why don’t we get right into the action?

10. Nike Zoom Kobe 6 Protro ‘Grinch’

AC: This year has been a big one for Kobe Bryant fans, and for the absolute worst reason. After his tragic passing in January, there’s been a huge surge of interest in his signature sneaker line and an equally huge surge in secondary market prices. The Kobe 6 ‘Grinch’ was part of Nike’s 2010 “Christmas Day” collection and, due to popular demand, it’s slated for a 2021 re-release in its original form.

JD: I know a lot of folks are going to be puzzled at how low the Kobe 6 ‘Grinch’ is on this list, because it is a striking shoe that is incredibly memorable and popular. But, in my mind, the only reason it makes the list at all is because it’s nicknamed ‘Grinch’ – without that, I’m not sure anyone would know this is a holiday shoe. It is coasting on a lot of context… but it is a stunner, nonetheless.

9. Nike KD 6 ‘Christmas’

AC: When Nike designer Leo Chang was sketching out this edition of Kevin Durant’s signature model, he was focusing on a “less is more” approach. While that may sum up the technology underpinning the sneaker, it sure doesn’t apply to this colorway. That mint green contrasts with the glossy red so well. It reminds me of a gift wrapped by someone’s mom. And while that outsole pattern was standard across the KD 6 range, it really does look like snowflakes here. 

JD: You nailed it. This is the package under the tree wrapped in the expensive paper; the one that stands out because something really special is inside. It’s pretty easy to slap some red and green on a shoe and call it “Christmas,” but the KD 6 is truly as smooth as a glass ornament and just as shiny. If the elves at the North Pole had a basketball team, they would 1) probably struggle in the paint and 2) wear these shoes. Look a little closer at that sock liner, Adrian. See that? That’s flannel baby. Now we’re cookin’ with gas!

8. Nike Air Tech Challenge 3 ‘Christmas’

AC: This is actually the first holiday-themed sneaker I ever fell in love with. Just look at it! Candy cane-striped laces. Ugly sweater-esque paneling. Little gold stars on the midsoles. I’m a big fan of tiny details, and this just comes together perfectly on a retro silhouette you don’t see too often. Nike nailed this one in 2015. Bring it back!

JD: Apparently we all remember our first! I just knew I had to have this pair the moment I laid eyes on it. And to this day nothing I’ve ever worn has garnered more attention than these Agassis. You’re absolutely right about the details; I love all the different places it draws your eye. Much like the KD 6, it also eschews the classic pine for a more electric green that really makes the knit sections pop. Readers should assume that I’m wearing these shoes right now, regardless of when they’re reading this.

AC: That’s it for our first installment! Keep it locked on The Fresh Press or @FinishLine.