Showing love to our favorite Latin American sneaker creators for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Collaborations, nostalgia, and a never-ending release cycle make sneaker culture go ‘round. But its foundation is built on inclusivity. Anyone who enjoys collecting or wearing sneakers is able to partake in the hobby, regardless of race, religion or gender. This allows for people from all walks of life to make the culture their own. But without the contributions of Hispanic creators, though, there’s little doubt that sneakers wouldn’t be as colorful as they are today.
Every year from September 15th through October 15th, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. In turn, companies, including our beloved sneaker brands, release shoes in colorways celebrating Latin culture. This year, of course, has been no different.
In the lead up to Hispanic Heritage Month, the likes of J Balvin and Bad Bunny, two megastars in the music industry who need no further introduction, have collaborated with Jordan Brand and adidas, respectively, on some of the year’s most inventive shoes. And as you’ll see momentarily, there are plenty more folks of Latin descent doing big things in sneakers right now.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, these are our favorite sneaker collaborations by creatives of Latin American descent. Expect to find a mixture of newer releases like those we mentioned, and a few older styles that we just can’t get enough of.
J Balvin x Air Jordan 2
In 2020, J Balvin became the first person of Hispanic origin to collaborate with Jordan Brand when the uber-talented recording artist released his Air Jordan 1 High OG “Vibras y Colores,” which translates to “vibes and colors” in English. The design, complete with jagged edges and a rainbow-like assortment of colors, lives up to its nickname and then some. For his second project with Jordan, J Balvin took the same exuberant approach to design on his Air Jordan 2, which features a cloud-like appearance and unique branding.
Bad Bunny x adidas Forum Buckle Low “Blue Tint”
Now several collaborations in, the Bad Bunny x adidas pairing has established itself as a force in sneakers. The duo has already released several projects this year alone, including an adidas CL Response in “White” and “Yellow,” and an adidas Forum Powerphase in a “Benito” colorway inspired by Bad Bunny’s favorite childhood game, “Catch & Release.” But the most popular may be the adidas Forum Buckle Low “Blue Tint,” which decorates the popular lifestyle shoe in a mostly light blue design. At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised to see another release from the “El Apagón” rapper.
Paul Rodriguez x Nike SB Dunk High “Mexican Boxing”
Paul Rodriguez’s collaborations with Nike SB have revealed parts of his life that were previously unknown to many outside of his friends and family. That trend continued in 2020 when “P-Rod” released his Nike SB Dunk High “Mexican Boxing,” a special colorway dedicated to his love of boxing, specifically for boxers of similar Mexican heritage. The shoe’s release no doubt helped contribute to the Dunk’s comeback story in 2020.
Paul Rodriguez x Nike SB Dunk Low “What the P-Rod”
It only made sense for Nike SB to create a “What the” style Dunk in Paul Rodriguez’s honor. The iconic skater has been a team rider for Nike SB since the 2000s, and has several Dunk colorways done up in his honor. The “What the” honors many of them in a totally bonkers way that only the “What the” theme could.
Awake NY x Asics Gel-Lyte 3
After leaving his post as Supreme’s Creative Director in 2016, Angelo Baque went back to his roots and revived his previously defunct streetwear brand, Awake New York. Founded as a side project while working at Supreme, Awake NY had originally released apparel and accessories in extremely limited quantities in mostly overseas markets like Japan. That changed in 2016. Behind the brand fully for the first time, Baque released seasonal Awake NY collections, and began collaborating with a multitude of brands, including Asics. Over the years, Awake NY and Asics have dropped numerous shoes inspired by Baque’s New York upbringing, Ecuadorian heritage, and ‘80s and ‘90s NYC culture. The Asics Gel-Lyte 3 collection is Awake NY’s latest drop to do so.
Stray Rats x New Balance 991 “Brown”
Founded by Julian Consuerga, Stray Rats is a streetwear brand with a look all its own. That’s because it’s informed by Consuerga’s Puerto Rican roots, which run from Miami to New York City. The brand has been worn by Tyler, the Creator, and other style icons, and has several high-profile footwear partnerships under its belt, including with New Balance. In 2020, Stray Rats and New Balance collaborated on this 991 “Brown” colorway that looks unlike anything else offered by the Boston shoe brand.