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Movie Sneakers: Sunset Park - Reebok Kamikaze, Nike Air Up, etc.

The 23 Best Sneaker Movies Of All Time

With the current state of things around the world forcing people to stay inside, now is a great time to revisit some of the best movie sneakers of all-time. For some movies, sneakers have a much deeper tie-in and end up front and center on the big screen. While others have less screen time but make up for it with a cultural relevance that can’t be denied. For this list, we wanted to focus on films that helped elevate the sneakers through placement or storytelling, sneakers that made an appearance on screen, became a talking point, or in some cases, were highlighted in a scene that we can’t forget.

We can’t possibly watch (or remember!) every sneaker shown in every movie but that’s where we are looking to you for help. There are plenty of movie sneakers that go unnoticed, and if you have any suggestions we should add to this list, feel free to drop a comment below or hit us up on Twitter with your recommendations.

For more on the best movie sneakers of all time, check out Episode 106 of the Sneaker History Podcast.

Bruce Lee wearing the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 in battle against Kareem Adbul-Jabbar in Game of Death

Game Of Death – Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66

IMDB 6.1/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 67% – Google 81%

Bruce Lee fans already know about the legend’s outfit from Game of Death. If you’re not a Bruce Lee fan, perhaps the final fight scene of the film with NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar makes this legendary kung-fu flick will make it worth your while. Lee laced up one of Onitsuka Tiger’s most storied silhouettes, the Mexico 66. The entire fit was so legendary that later on this list you’ll see who paid tribute to Bruce Lee in another film with great movie sneakers. WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

 

Jeff Spicoli Vans Checkerboard Slip-On movie sneakers in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times – Vans Slip-On ‘Checkerboard’

IMDB 7.2/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 78% – Google 84%

Sean Penn, aka Jeff Spicoli, helped push the Vans Slip-On ‘Checkerboard’ colorway over the tipping point of pop culture popularity when he unboxed them on Fast Imes At Ridgemont High. The film was the perfect mix of Southern California skate, surf, and stoner culture all rolled into one amazing film. WATCH ON HULU

 

Terminator – Nike Vandal

IMDB 8/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 100% – Google 93%

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most memorable performance seems to rank pretty high with the general public but how does it have anything to o with sneakerheads? The Nike Vandal (available on eBay) is the choice for Kyle Reece as he avoids the police in the iconic 1984 film. WATCH ON SHOWTIME

Teen Wolf – adidas Tourney

IMDB 6.1/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 44% – Google 87%

Michael J. Fox plays Scott Howard in this ’80s classic where he goes from nerd to superstar thanks to some upgraded abilities due to his werewolf genes. WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

 

The Goonies - Data 'Slick Shoes' - Nike Sky Force Hi

The Goonies – Sky Force Hi

IMDB 7.8/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 71% – Google 98%

Goonies never say die! Data breaks out the slick shoes to escape from the Fratellis in this 1985 classic. When are we gonna get a retro of these?! WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

Alien Movie Sneakers - Reebok Alien Stomper Ad

Aliens – Reebok Alien Stomper

IMDB 8.3/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 97% – Google 90%

Back when Reebok was one of the more competitive brands on the scene, they teamed up with 20th Century Fox to create a sneaker especially for Sigourney Weaver’s character in James Cameron’s Aliens from 1986. The Reebok Alien Stomper became a cult-classic, much like the film itself, and even released in 2016 in extremely limited quantities. WATCH ON HULU

Do The Right Thing –  Jordan 4

IMDB 7.9/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 93% – Google 86%

Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing is one of the most memorable movies on our list thanks to Spike’s connection to the sneaker world. Back in 1989, the film’s unforgettable scene in which the Air Jordan 4 gets scuffed, has been a repeated story for Air Jordan releases. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must-watch. If you have, enjoy it again while you have some downtime. WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

 

Nike MAG - Back To The Future 2 Michael J. Fox Behind The Scenes

Back To The Future II – Nike MAG

IMDB 7.8/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 65% – Google 94%

Arguably the most iconic sneaker moment to ever grace the big screen, Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly character (auto) lacing up the Nike MAG is as good as it gets, although the originals did not self-lace (as seen in the above photo). Not to mention, there’s a lot more vintage heat in the movie than you would expect. WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

 

White Men Can’t Jump – Nike Air Command Force

IMDB 6.8/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 76% – Google 90%

Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes, and Rosie Perez star in the most early ’90s hip-hop/basketball film ever, from the sneakers all the way down to the Parental Advisory t-shirts and brightly colored shorts. WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

 

The Sandlot – PF Flyer Center Hi

IMDB 7.8/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 61% – Google 93%

The Sandlot is one of the greatest baseball movies of all time. But it’s also one of the most important sneaker movies of all time as well, simply for highlighting PF Flyers. If you know, you know. “So we were worried, real worried, even when Benny brought out the secret weapon: Shoes guaranteed to make a kid run faster and jump higher—P.F. Flyers.” We won’t spoil any more. You can actually grab a pair of the kicks right now from PF Flyers. WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

 

Forrest Gump – Nike Cortez

IMDB 8.8/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 70% – Google 95%

Tom Hanks’ 1994 performance as Forrest Gump is legendary, as is the Nike Cortez he wore in the film. It’s hard to imagine anyone hasn’t seen Forrest Gump by now but if you haven’t, it’s highly recommended. WATCH ON HULU

 

Space Jam - 1996

Space Jam – Air Jordan 11 / Air Jordan 9 / Air Jordan 2

IMDB 6.4/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 43% – Google 94%

Do we really even need to say anything about Space Jam? Aside from the Air Jordan 11s, the Air Jordan 9, Air Jordan 2, and a handful of other classic kicks make an appearance in this 1996 movie featuring Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, and NBA players Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues, star in one of the most sneaker-famous movies of all time. WATCH ON VUDU

 

 

George Of The Jungle – Nike Air More Uptempo

IMDB 5.4/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 57% – Google 90%

Brendan Fraser plays George, who raised himself in the jungle after being stranded from a plane crash. As he makes contact with humans for the first time in his adult life, it should come as no surprise that he needs a pair of Uptempos to survive the new world. WATCH ON HULU

 

Movie Sneakers: Sunset Park - Reebok Kamikaze, Nike Air Up, etc.

Sunset Park – Reebok Kamikaze

IMDB 6/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 13% – Google 89%

Sunset Park is one of the ’90s most memorable basketball films thanks to actors like Fredro Starr, Terrence Howard, and others lace up some classic kicks as they figure out how to play basketball and avoid the distractions that life throws at them. The Reebok Kamikaze, worn by Onyx’s Fredro Starr, is just one of many noteworthy sneakers from the film. Can you name some of the other kicks? WATCH ON CRACKLE

 

He Got Game – Nike Air Foamposite Pro / Air Jordan 13

IMDB 6.9/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 81% – Google 85%

For most of you reading this, He Got Game should need no intro. Denzel Washington and Ray Allen star in one of Spike Lee’s most popular movies for sneakerheads. The on-screen time helped add to the fame of the Air Jordan 13 and Nike Air Foamposite Pro. WATCH ON HULU

 

Big – Nike Air Force 2

IMDB 7.3/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 97% – Google 82%

Big isn’t a movie that makes most of the “best movie sneakers” lists because it’s not ‘cool’ like most of the movies on this list. It’s older, and in general, the sneaker game is full of laziness, and that means most of the ‘new’ content is just a copy of old posts someone else already wrote. That’s exactly why we had to include it. Tom Hanks laced up the Nike Air Force 2 for an epic toy store scene. Get well soon, Hanx! WATCH ON HULU

Like Mike: Lil Bow Wow in Nike Blazers (+ Air Jordan 9s)

Like Mike – Nike Blazer

IMDB 5.3/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 57% – Google 92%

Bow Wow (back when he was still ‘lil’) laced up a pair of Nike Blazers in Like Mike to become one of the best ballers on the court. Not to mention, there are dozens of other noteworthy shoes if you’re paying attention. WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

Uma Thurman in the ASICS Tai Chi - Kill Bill Volume 1

Kill Bill Vol. 1 – Onitsuka Tiger Tai Chi LE

IMDB 8.1/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 85% – Google 91%

By many accounts, one of Quentin Tarantino’s most loved films, Kill Bill, Vol. 1, paid tribute to Bruce Lee’s iconic outfit from Game of Death in one of the movie’s best fight scenes featuring Uma Thurman. Thurman laced up the Onitsuka Tiger (ASICS) Tai Chi to kick some serious ass while paying homage to kung-fu’s most famous star. WATCH ON NETFLIX

Robin Hood: Men In Tights (1993) – Reebok Pump

IMDB 6.7/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 40% – Google 92%

One of Dave Chapelle’s earliest big-screen moments came on Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights. Chapelle, aka Achoo, stoped everyone in their tracks in order to ‘pump up’ his Reeboks. These have been widely considered to be the Reebok Pump Omni Zone but take a closer look at the clip above and tell us what model you think they are. WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

adidas Zissou (Rom) from Life Aquatic with Bill Murray

The Life Aquatic – adidas Rom “Zissou”

IMDB 7.3/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 56% – Google 86%

Bill Murray takes the lead for the film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou as the lead character who has sworn vengeance on a shark that killed a member of his crew. As the plot suggests, this is one wild ride that nobody expected. Zissou’s team gets their own adidas Zissou branded version and colorway of the classic adidas Rom. WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

Bill Murray in Nike x HTM Air Woven in Lost in Translation

Lost In Translation – HTM x Nike Air Woven

IMDB 7.7/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 95% – Google 86%

Another Bill Murray flick, Lost In Translation is the story of an aging celebrity that takes on new sponsorship deals in Japan. Murray’s scene in the waiting area shows him wearing the HTM x Nike Air Woven, one of the rarest of the HTM collaborations. HTM was a collaborative effort between, Hiroshi Fujiwara of fragment design fame, Nike designer extraordinaire Tinker Hatfield, and former Nike CEO Mark Parker, three of the most creative minds in footwear.

Blue Chips: Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway in the Reebok Pump Vertical

Blue Chips – Reebok Pump Vertical

IMDB 6.2/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 37% – Google 83%

Shaq, Penny, and Nick Nolte? Yep, back in 1993, this film was a must-watch for sneaker enthusiasts and basketball fans. Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway laced up the Reebok Pump Vertical for the Western squad and, well, we won’t spoil it. We will, however, suggest that you be on the lookout for cameo appearances from the likes of Larry Bird, Dick Vitale, Allan Houston, and more. WATCH ON CRACKLE

 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Air Jordan 1

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – Air Jordan 1

IMDB 8.4/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 97% – Google 96%

One of the modern classics when it comes to the best sneaker movies has to be, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. While most of the shoes on this list happened years ago and were likely the result of a simple product placement effort from the brand, the 2018 Spider-Man animated film was a calculated partnership with Jordan Brand that also saw the release of one of the best Air Jordan 1s of the year. As we discussed on the podcast, the prices on the Jordan 1 ‘Spider-Man’ are still well above retail. WATCH ON NETFLIX

 

Let us know what sneaker movies top your list in the comments below or on Twitter

 

Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with nearly 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector and Sneaker News. Helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, and StockX better connect with their consumers. He's an avid San Francisco Giants fan, Allen Iverson fan, and owns way too many sneakers for his own good.

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