WORDS BY JOSEPH FURNESS
It's easy to fall in love with footwear, especially around Valentine’s Day. Every 14th February, the likes of Nike, New Balance and adidas release love-inspired sneakers – enlivening new, classic and trending sneaker silhouettes with Valentine’s hues and icons.
This year, finding your ‘solemate’ couldn’t be easier as we’ve got Valentine’s trainers to suit every type. To help find your match, we’ve listed our favourites below. Prepare to swipe right.
The Best Valentine's Day Sneakers
When the Swoosh first announced their Valentine’s Day ‘21 take on the Air Max 90, it was love at first sight. Refreshing yet familiar, we instantly knew that there was a space in our hearts – and on our sneaker racks – for a pair.
Some wear their hearts on their sleeves; others wear their hearts on their heels. Naturally, we fall into the latter category – we’ve been rocking the heart-adorned “Valentine’s Day” AF1s ever since they dropped on Valentine's Day 2021.
Is it the sweetheart hues, plush velvet exterior or heart-patterned sole that has us all falling head over heels for this hype-worthy sneaker? It’s hard to tell. At least one thing’s for sure: we’re all attracted to the Strangelove x Nike SB Dunk Low for one reason or another.
Pretty in pink, the Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘07 QS “Valentine’s Day Love Letter” is a bona fide baddie. Undoubtedly, its most enticing attribute is the snap button flap located on the tongue of each shoe. Open them up to discover a romantic message.
Block-colour Jordans are always a good idea, especially on Valentine’s Day. This Air Jordan 8 Retro, released in 2018, celebrates the day of love with bold red suede, a unique heart-shaped logo and hidden “Loves Me...” and “Loves Me Not” messages printed under the cross-straps. This one’s dedicated to the playfully romantic sneakerheads amongst us.
For less overt displays of love, Nike Air Force 1 Low “Valentine’s Day” 2020 sneaker is something altogether more subtle. The swoosh-patterned shoe is a contemporary take on the timeless silhouette that keeps Valentine’s references to a minimum. Spot the little red heart amid the all-over logo print.
In 2019, Nike and Girls Don’t Cry proved to be a match made in heaven when they teamed up to create the Girls Don’t Cry x Nike SB Dunk Low. The kick’s bright red hue and heart-shaped tag make this a must-have for both avid sneaker collectors and those looking for a sartorial conversation starter.
In 2020, New Balance and Joe Freshgoods married their aesthetics to create the Don’t Be Mad x New Balance 992. Exploring the colours and asymmetrical appearance of a biological heart, the two brands fashioned a sneaker unlike any other. Natch, we’ve got a pair in our rotation.
Released alongside the aforementioned 992s, the Don’t Be Mad x New Balance OMN1S “No Emotions Are Emotions” sneakers depart from the American brand’s classic formula. Featuring a pink-to-cream gradient upper festooned with faces, a vibrant inner sole and the titular phrase on the straps, this collaborative sneaker ticks all the right boxes.
For 2020, adidas aimed Cupid’s arrow at their all-time classic, the Superstar. The result? A cute kick that’s been prettied up with a decorative sidewall and heart-patterned laces. This is a sneaker that’s sure to lift spirits – and outfits – come Valentine’s Day.
These lipstick red Fat Tiger Workshop x adidas Superstars – technically released for 2020’s NBA All-Star Weekend – come with a sincere tagline at the heel, “Chicago Girls Do It Better”. Alongside the retro lettering, we’re real fans of the avant-garde vinyl upper and ribbon laces that complete the Valentine’s sneaker package.
Kids Valentine’s Sneakers
Show some love to your little ones with these kid-sized Valentine’s Day sneakers.
In 2013, Jordan released the Air Jordan 5 Retro “Valentine’s Day”, exclusively for mini-mes. Unsurprisingly, the sneaker proved a massive hit as youngsters (and parents) fell in love with the thematic colour palette and embroidered love-inspired motif at the heel.
After the success of the above-mentioned AJ5, the Jumpman decided to give another kid-sized Jordan a Valentine’s twist. The Air Jordan 12 Retro Girls is a fun and feminine take on the classic ‘90s basketball silhouette – a bright pink vibe for budding sneakerheads.
A year later, the Jordan brand released the ultimate 'IT girl' Valentine’s shoe: a neon pink Air Jordan 1. We’re still holding out for an adult-sized drop; unfortunately, the kid’s version just won’t fit. (Trust us, we’ve tried.)
Here are three of our favourite sneakers that are not strictly Valentine’s Day sneakers, but, nevertheless, are inspired by love.
The Concepts x ASICS Gel-Lyte III “Otoro” is beautiful beyond compare. Manifestly imbued with love, the elevated classic – designed by Boston-based streetwear brand Concepts – is characterised by its plush pink suede layers that harmoniously unite to form an all so dreamy upper.
In October 2019, adidas and Human Made became relationship goals when they created the NMD Hu “Love”. Practically perfect for Valentine’s Day, the fresh white colour of the shoe allows the red heart motif and wrap-around laces to pop. Understandably, this shoe is loved by sneakerheads and tastemakers alike.
You must’ve seen this one coming, as no Valentine’s Day sneaker list is complete without the Converse x Comme des Garçons PLAY Chuck 70. A safe bet – considering affordability and endless appeal – these wide-eyed, heart-adorned Converse will take you happily through Valentine's weekend and beyond.