Adrian Crawford

Merry Kicksmas! A countdown of our favorite holiday-themed sneakers, part 2


Hey everyone, welcome to the second installment of our Christmas kicks countdown. The first edition dropped yesterday and you can find it here. Yule be sorry you missed it!

The sneakers ranked 8-10 came from the Nike stable (or manger, since it’s Christmastime), but we’re shaking things up a little today with kicks from three different brands. Joining me once again is Jimmy Donofrio, a fellow holiday sneaker connoisseur and the man behind the terrific artwork you see in this series.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

7. Nike LeBron 13 ‘Christmas’

AC: Here’s our first real detour from the traditional green-and-red Christmas theme, although the Kobe 6 could almost fit that bill as well. The LeBron 13 ‘Christmas’ gives off some big Frozen vibes, with those icy outsoles and the lace locks that look like the White Witch froze Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia books. Okay now I’m way off track. Anyway this is a very cool addition to the rankings, no pun intended.

JD: I’m going to add one more pop culture reference to the pile here, if I may: this shoe has always reminded me of the Abominable Snowmonster from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Big and tough and cold, man. Of all the shoes we’ll rank in this series, these are by far the “coldest” thematically; the least steeped in the regular Christmas trappings. It’s hard to evoke the holiday season without all that stuff, and yet these LeBrons pull it off.

6. Li-Ning Way of Wade 3 ‘Christmas’

AC: We’re course-correcting back to the tried-and-true red, green and white color schemes here. D-Wade unwrapped these for his first meeting against former teammate LeBron James on Christmas Day in 2014, and they’re a treat. Classic “ugly sweater” panels, red-speckled midsoles and heel counters that remind me of some form of holiday candy I can’t quite place — a very solid middle-of-the-rankings holiday sneaker selection here.

JD: Here’s another pair that I own, another had-to-have because I knew I’d never, ever see another pair of these out in the wild. Adrian, do you know how difficult it is to get old Way of Wades? I had to have these things shipped from Australia.

AC: I did NOT know how difficult it is to get old Way of Wades.

JD: Many people are going to think these are ugly. I want you all to know that I agree with you. But these WoWs, like some of the shoes still to come in our countdown, are so aggressively Christmas-y that it doesn’t matter. Note on the midsole: I think what you’re seeing is a blood Christmas punch splatter design. Careful with that punch around the holidays, it can stain!

5. Brooks Levitate 2 ‘Ugly Sweater’

AC: And here to wrap up Part 2 is the Brooks Levitate. It’s another take on the “ugly sweater” pattern, but I think it’s the details that really make this runner a cut above the rest. There are literal jingle bells on them, Jimmy! Now that’s how you dash through the snow if you don’t have a one-horse open sleigh.

JD: Brooks is not traditionally a lifestyle brand, but these runners are made to sit and savor, and not just from behind when you’re getting dusted on the track. This is more than just a take on the “ugly sweater,” it’s a dang homage. The nordic pattern is perfect, the velvet sewn-on logo is a really effective detail, but, for me, it’s the execution on the collar. A ribbed collar! On a sweater-themed shoe! That’s commitment to the bit.

AC: The home stretch is in sight, with pairs 4, 3 and 2 coming tomorrow! Keep it locked on The Fresh Press or @FinishLine.