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13 Year of the Tiger-inspired sneakers to pounce on this Chinese New Year

From Jordan to Dior to Gucci, the sneaker world has created a plethora of tiger-inspired sneakers to pay homage to the Year of the Tiger.

Every Lunar New Year, major fashion brands stir up a re-imagination of their classic shoes and sneakers to celebrate the Chinese zodiac. For the Year of the Tiger, many fashion brands have created fierce and stripey collections to honour the feisty and powerful feline.

From Adidas to Balenciaga, highly recognised brands are breaking out some of their most unique and eye-catching prints for the new year. If you’re a sneakerhead trying to build up your collection this holiday, read on to learn more about these Year of the Tiger releases. 

Jordan “Year of the Tiger” Capsule Collection 2022 

The Jordan brand has been celebrating the Lunar New Year with unique sneaker capsule releases each year. For 2022, in honour of the Tiger, they’re releasing a collection of three sneakers: A fresh redesign of the Air Jordan 1 Low, Air Jordan 6 Low, and the Legacy 312. 

Air Jordan 1 Low

Among the collection, the Air Jordan 1 Low has the flashiest final product. As intricate as the design is, it is the most limited among the three. Overall, a beige tone, the toe box is decorated with a tiger print that continues to the quarter panels, highlighting the signature Nike check. The hints of black laces and orange detailing resembles the colours of a tiger while individually-numbered tags on the inside of the tongue represents the exclusivity of only 5,000 pairs made for sale globally. 

Air Jordan 6 Low and Legacy 312 

While the Air Jordan 1 Low is the loudest design, the Jordan 6 Lows and Legacy 312s are a more muted combination of gold, sail, and jade. Inspired by Chinese ceramics produced during the Song dynasty, the Jordan 6 Lows feature a cracked pattern on the toe box, resembling porcelain. The clean finish makes them an instant match with any outfit that you can rock to this year’s CNY celebration. 

Balenciaga

Year of the Tiger Runner Trainers 

Balenciaga has released their Lunar New Year collection, featuring Year of the Tiger Runner Trainers. Representing Balenciaga’s statement bulky shoes, this release also appears to be bottom-heavy, with accented orange details over the sneaker — the black laces against the orange communicates inspiration from the Chinese zodiac animal. 

Get them here.

Year of the Tiger Triple S Trainers Allover Logo 

Balenciaga’s second sneaker feature in the Lunar New Year collection is Year of the Tiger Triple S Trainers. The Triple S sneakers and C-shape puffers come in monochrome safari brown — almost a dark beige or caramel hue. A little less representative of a tiger, but still adhering to the earthy tones of a safari, the monochrome aspect of the Triple S appears to be an easy fit to any outfit this Lunar New Year. 

Get them here.

Nike Dunk Low Year of the Tiger

Seen everywhere in recent trends, Nike has released its upcoming Dunk Low special-edition Year of the Tiger colourway. With vibrant oranges and yellows, the brand didn’t hold back on its decorative side. All sections of the sneaker is made of top quality suede material with overlays along the tongue all the way to the top of the tongue, dressing a detailed knit pattern. 

They are expected to be released in time for the Lunar New Year celebration in February 2022. 

Get them here.

AF1 Year of the Tiger 

Ah yes, our staple shoes — Air Force 1s. No matter the occasion, AF1s can be regarded as the go-to sneaker for both style and comfort. If your pair of AFs are beat up and overworn like mine, perhaps this Lunar New Year, you can get yourself a pair of on-theme Year of the Tiger kicks.

Leaving the majority of the sneaker white, this reinvention highlights Nike’s Swoosh with intricately woven tiger stripes and a cute graphic of a tiger embroidered at the heel. The soles are accentuated with a bright orange colour, while the interior liners are cherry-red, completing the zodiac-inspired theme. 

They are expected to launch at the beginning of February 2022. 

Adidas Dame 8 CNY 

This Lunar New Year, it’s Dame time. Adidas’ basketball shoe line with NBA star Damian Lillard launches its Chinese New Year inspired “Dame 8 CNY” crafting homage to the fierce feline. As fiery as the tiger, the Dame 8 CNY blends a mix of black and red, starting with a black toe box that progressively ombré blends into a deep red at the heels. The interior lining is decorated to resemble the traditional floral motifs of the Lunar New Year, and underneath, the sole is a bright orange to complement the colour tone of the sneaker. 

Get them here.

B27 Dior and Kenny Scarf Low-Top Sneaker

Kim Jones, artistic director of Dior came together with American artist Kenny Scharf to design Dior’s release of a CNY-inspired collection. The motif of the Water Tiger is transformed into illustrations, embroidery and patches on apparels across the collection. This capsule collection features chic grey leather B27 sneakers decorated with the Water Tiger. The illustration of the Water Tiger in blue is towards the heel of the shoe, avoiding an overly crowded design, and the side panels feature Dior’s signature pattern. 

Get them here.

Burberry Tiger Print Cotton High-Tops

Launching a new Year of the Tiger collection with heavy features of tiger stripes and orange hues, Burberry has adorned its bags and apparels with the zodiac-inspired motif. Among the pieces in the collection, its high-top sneakers are most definitely attention grabbing. It is highlighted all over with a tiger print that transitions from a light yellow to a deep orange. Somehow both so simple yet flashy, it can be a statement piece for your outfit to the Lunar New Year celebration. 

Get them here.

Gucci 

When rounding up globally recognized designer brands, of course Gucci can’t be left out. For the 2022 Lunar New Year, Gucci released a collection of apparel, accessories, and shoes paying homage to the year of the tiger. 

Tiger Ace Sneaker 

This pair of Ace sneakers is recognized for its orange printed motto ‘Gucci Tiger’ which contrasts against the teal highlight (for women’s and red for men’s) around the laces and the Gucci pattern covering the sides. The references to the feline are evident as an expression of Gucci’s appreciation for the wild beauty of the natural world. 

Get the women’s shoes here and men’s shoes here.

Tiger Ace Sneaker 

The second pair of Ace sneakers in the collection is a more conventional Gucci style, with a bold Tiger and flower illustration. It is a reinterpretation of a late 1960s archival design by Vittorio Accornero, the creator of Gucci’s signature Flora print. Embodying the traditional green and red colours of Gucci, the shoe is mostly all white with hints of Gucci’s signature red and green stripes along with a tiger illustration. 

Get the women’s here and men’s here.

Tiger Rhyton Sneaker 

The simplest design in Gucci’s Lunar New Year collection, the Rhyton sneakers are a more toned down creation in the capsule. A fully cream beige colour, there aren’t many flashy expressions, but it can be identified by the intricate tiger illustration with the printed motto, ‘Gucci Tiger’. 

Get the women’s here and men’s here.

Subin Hong

A Malaysian-raised Korean, Subin has a passion for the latest global fashion and media trends. Her love for everything basketball and rap initially sparked her interest in creating graphic design posters. During her free time, you can find her staying active with sports, following the NBA season, or searching for the best cocktails in Hong Kong.

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