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The Top 10 Pride Sneakers of All Time

LGBTQ+ folks are longtime lovers of sneakers and the sneaker culture, and brands have finally started catering to the community over the past decade. In 2012, Nike became the first sneaker brand to release a Pride sneaker collection. Other mainstream sneaker brands began to follow suit, including Adidas, Vans, Converse, and more. In 2019, Vans released a collection of Pride sneakers dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. That same year, Nike also released a Pride collection honoring Gilbert Baker, the creator of the Pride Flag.

Still, to be queer and a part of the sneaker community is to walk a thin line between camaraderie and discomfort. Writing in 2015 for Sole Collector, Pete Forester talked about the frustrations of being a gay man covering sneakers and seeing homophobic comments proliferate in the space: “[The heterosexual-majority sneaker community] are the people I’m a voice for. That I help keep informed and educated. And these comments are pathetic, small, and the worst versions of our culture because they think that my sexuality somehow impacts them. These are people who will wear clothes designed by gay people and be styled by gay people.”

Although homophobia still shows its face in sneaker culture eight years later, the yearly Pride collections are still meaningful efforts to make the space more inclusive. To celebrate this year, we look back at the 10 best Pride sneakers of all time.

10. Reebok Club C 85 "Pride Multi" (2020)

A canvas upper made to look like it was splattered with paint for a rainbow effect made the Reebok Club C pop in 2020. These colorful and playful sneakers saw the same effect carry over the laces, which also came with a Pride-themed charm attached.

9. Vans Era "Pride Patchwork"(2021)

Vans went ultra funky with a patchwork design featuring suede, leather, canvas, and glitter intended as a bold evolution of its signature checkerboard print. The nostalgic design calls to mind thrift shops, and it was also used for the classic Slip-On in Vans' 2021 Pride assortment.

8. Nike Roshe One QS "BeTrue" (2015)

At the height of Roshe mania, Nike covered the shoe's base layer with an intricate pattern appearing as a rainbow gradient atop a black background. "BeTrue" is printed onto the heel of the molded sole unit and helps shoe why the silhouette was once so collectible.

7. Vans Old Skool "Pride" (2023)

The Vans Old Skool retooled its signature Jazz stripe with fine rainbow embroidery representing the LGBTQ+ community. While the rest of the shoe remains less colorful in black and white, "Love Is Love" is embroidered across the two heels with an additional Pride flag tucked into a heart on the right sneaker. A rainbow insole maintains the theme, and you can still find the shoe on Vans' website for $75.

6. Nike SB Dunk Low Pro "BeTrue"(2022)

Last year's Dunk Low Pro "BeTrue" played it subtle with the rainbow, as just an essence of the rainbow appears throughout the stitching of the mostly white upper. More color will come through, however, as the white upper layer is worn away to reveal its hidden interior. Mismatched mustaches and laces see blue and pink utilized, while "BeTrue" is embroidered in the colors of the rainbow near the heel.

5. Nike Air Force 1 Low "BeTrue" (2020)

Whether you call them “Forces,” “G Nikes,” or “Uptowns,” the all-white AF1 sneaker will forever be a classic. For 2020's "BeTrue" collection, Nike utilized it as the basis for an AF1 inspired by ballroom culture in 1980s New York City. The outlines of the Swoosh and eyestays take after more formal brogue shoes, the former of which also utilizes an iridescent material. You can also find the Pride fall on the mustache and tongue tag, as well as the semi-translucent outsole.

4. Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Lift "Pride" (2023)

With the split rainbow midsole and rainbow confetti outsole, the Chuck Taylor All-Star Lift Pride sneakers are hard to pass on. The split effect then carries onto the remixed rainbow All-Star logo, while the rainbow repeats on the tongue tag. This pair also adds height as a platform, a category that's proven especially popular within the queer community. You can still scoop up a pair for $85 through Converse's website.

3. Nike Air Max 97 "BeTrue" (2023)

The iconic swooping lines of the Air Max 97 take on rainbow ruffles to enhance the 26-year-old design. A removable "BeTrue" charm affixed to the logo cutout makes this AM97 standout even more, as does the shimmering ripstop nylon that replaces its typical lacing system. Remarkably, this ornate pair is still available through Nike's website for $180.

2. Adidas Superstar Pride RM (2023)

Queer South African Visionary Rich Mnisi's adidas collection is a celebration of self-expression and inclusion in sports in his native country. The classic all-white sneaker takes on rainbow-stitched stripes, as well as white and yellow poinsettia flowers on the pull tab. A collage also appears on the insole for this subtle remix of the Superstar. You can still find it through adidas' website for $110.

1. Nike SB Dunk Low "BeTrue" (2022)

Nike stepped outside its typical Pride Month release window to release its second "BeTrue" SB Dunk Low for 2022. The November release pops like cotton candy with its design by Xavier Schipani, a trans artist and skater tapped by Nike. A broad mesh serves as the base layer and matches the chainlink insole graphic, while yellow overlays appear up front. The strap paneling fades from pink to blue as it wraps around the heel and is offset by a blue medial Swoosh and pink lateral. Schipani's characters appear across this paneling as well, and a smiling sun adds to the charm on the mustache.


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