With the 2012 Summer Olympics in London upon us, the sneaker market’s been flooded with Olympic-inspired shoes meant to appeal to our sense of national pride and nostalgia. In the midst of the red, white and blue footwear, GIANT’s giving you our picks for the 10 best Olympic releases this summer.
10. Adidas Originals SL 72 “Olympics”
While Nike flashed back to ’96 and ’92 with their recent Olympic-inspired retro releases, Adidas brings us all the way back to Munich games in 1972. A classic slim-cut running shoe, they feature suede and nylon upper and an Air Blue/Legacy White colorway.
9. New Balance 996 “American Flag”
Maybe because of the Olympics (or maybe because of A$AP Rocky) Old Glory hasn’t been this popular in fashion for a long time. Rather than compromising the aesthetic of a classic design New Balance has flipped it. Boasting a navy-blue leather heel that features the stars and a red suede toebox that sandwich white leather, this is patriotic style done properly.
8. Reebok Lite Omni “USAB”
Reebok released this colorway of the Pump featuring a slick twist on a stars and stripes pattern. Rather than just simply slapping red, white and blue on a classic silhouette, Reebok took great care in adding some cool details to the shoe like putting the Reebok name on the insole in the iconic Team USA Basketball block letter font.
7. Nike Hyperdunk + “USAB”
If you watched Team USA mop the floor with the rest of the world (well maybe not Brazil) during the World Basketball Festival then you may have noticed LeBron James in a custom pair of these, featuring his “King James” logo on the tongue. Part of Nike’s new Lunarlon Collection, the shoes place an emphasis on innovation and design combining Flywire technology with a special cushioning system designed for high-impact ball playing.
6. Nike ZOOM KD IV “Olympic”
Though OKC didn’t wind up winning the NBA championship this year Kevin Durant and company won the hearts of fans last season. Poised to be Team USA’s not-so-secret scoring weapon, Durant will be rocking a special Olympic colorway of his signature shoe. If you’re into the new classics these are a must.
5. Air Jordan 7 Retro “Olympic”
Worn by His Airness when the Dream Team in ’92 made its debut in Barcelona, we haven’t seen these in stores since 2010 when they were released as part of the “For The Love of the Game” Pack and featured a small golden heart close to the heel. They hit Jordan retailers on Jul. 21 and are must for any completist Jordan collector.
4. New Balance 574 “Olympic” Pack
The 574 is one of our favorite NB shoes. The vibrant colors on the upper combined with details like a track grid with “5|7|4” on the insole and gold accents make the three colorways included in this pack nothing less than awesome.
3. Nike Air Force 180 “Olympic”
Charles Barkley, everyone’s favorite “Round Mound of Rebound,” sported these 20 years ago as a member of the original Dream Team. Retro-ed for 2012 these have a gold metallic accents that are as bold as young Barkley was when he brought his A-game to Barcelona.
2. Nike Air More Uptempo “Olympic”
Scottie Pippen’s Nike Air More Uptempo is arguably the most memorable basketball shoe from the ’96 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Featuring a Midnight Navy/Midnight Navy-White-Spirit Red colorway, a full Nike Air sole bubble letter and an “AIR” design, the shoe straddles the line between obnoxious and amazing.
1. Air Jordan 6 Retro “Olympic”
Our favorite Olympic inspired shoe first hit stores back in 2000. Fresh for 2012, with a slightly altered mid-sole, these White/Midnight Navy-Varsity Red beauties sold out at Niketown locations in minutes and if you do find them at your local mom and pop Jordan retailers expect a serious mark-up from their $160 MSRP.