Adrian Crawford

Merry Kicksmas! A countdown of our favorite holiday-themed sneakers, part 3


Welcome back, kicks fans, to the next installment of our Christmas sneaker countdown. We’re at the business end of the rankings now, so expect some real heat below.

I’m joined as always by fellow holiday-themed sneaker enthusiast Jimmy Donofrio, and we’re ready to unwrap the next three shoes before revealing the number one pick tomorrow. Catch up with the first two installments below.

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get after it!

4. Nike LeBron XI ‘Christmas’

AC: I’ve always thought those Hyperposite overlays looked like armor plates on other LeBron 11 colorways, but given the theme here it reminds me of cracks in the surface of a frozen pond. What a beautiful interpretation of those Christmas colors, between the green snowflake pattern and the striking crimson Swoosh and sockliner.

JD: Considering just the sneaker and nothing else, these are great holiday shoes. “Arctic Green” is how Nike describes it, but we’ve got no less than 5 shades of muted greens working in harmony on the upper that give a shoe with a ton of dimension already so much more depth. You already mentioned the red – it’s piercing.

But Christmas Day 2013 was an especially dark one for the NBA – the ugliest day in professional sports jersey history. Don’t take my word for it: 

That these LeBron 11’s survived – and even thrived – debuting alongside one of the worst uniform matchups in NBA history is a true testament to how great these shoes are.

AC: They really are historically bad. Sleeved unis did improve a little bit (LeBron was very good wearing sleeves during the 2016 Finals) but those ones are a flagrant foul.

3. Nike Dunk High x Concepts ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’

AC: Boston-based boutique Concepts has been in the game for more than two decades and has turned out some extremely thoughtful and well-crafted collaborations, particularly when it comes to Nike SB kicks. I am not biased at all by the fact that I copped the Turdunkens with the special packaging this fall.

The 2013 ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ release is just incredible. Heather grey uppers provide a beautiful subtle backdrop for mistletoe, snowmen, poinsettias and snowflakes. The grey version was a wider release, while a more limited black version dropped with special packaging, a Christmas tree ornament and a coozie. Whew.

JD: Festive grey sweatpants for your feet. Need I say more?

If you don’t mind, Adrian, I’m going to bring in a guest reviewer for this shoe, a retired elementary school teacher with a Christmas wardrobe larger than my year-round wardrobe: my Mom. We don’t quite have the same taste in footwear, but I have a good feeling about this one.

AC: I am READY. Let’s go, Mrs. Donofrio!

JD: I think she nailed it.

AC: Moms always know best.

2. Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Candy Cane’

AC: Here we are, Jimmy. The penultimate spot on the rankings. I truly must have looked at pictures of this pair for a good 10 minutes. It’s just…perfect. The colorway lends itself to the Dunk Low silhouette, it’s a fresh take on the Christmas theme, and honestly it may be more seasonally versatile than some of the other pairs. I guess. If you’re a Where’s Waldo cosplayer. In any case, these are absolute heaters and I’d love to have them in my collection for December wear.

JD: These are my grails, Adrian. I got so close to a pair last year and let them slip through my fingers… I’ll never forgive myself for that. These shoes are perfect for this list because they read ‘yuletide’ from a mile away. I’m a fan of the green laces that came boxed with these Dunk Lows – reminds me of a ribbon around a candy cane hanging from my my stocking on Christmas morning. The brick chimney insoles only add to the legend. These shoes are really something special, just thinking about them makes me happy!

AC: We made it pal. We’re on the brink of Christmas sneaker ranking glory. Nothing can stop us now. But to build suspense, let’s hold off on number 1 until tomorrow and do a big reveal, like we’re unwrapping the biggest present under the tree.

Tune in tomorrow to find out which holiday-themed kicks are crowned the winner of our rankings!