Admittedly, I’m not a runner. I tore my ACL playing football in college (2 times) and it left me unable to run long distances without pain. However, I am a sneaker enthusiast and collector and I love running sneakers. So much so, I’ve dedicated my life to building a business that sells shoelaces for sneakers.
Through building that business I’ve become a student of sneaker culture – I’m on top of every sneaker release, from Nike to Vans. Tracking these releases has become a passion of mine and some of my favorite sneakers are special editions, that brands release to commemorate landmark events.
In this post, I dug into my database and found 10 of my favorite special edition running sneakers, from a wide variety of brands. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few of my favorites.
Nike Air Pegasus 83/30 30 Year Anniversary Editions
The Nike Air Pegasus has been around for more than 30 years, not only as a staple for any serious runner but for sneaker hobbyists as well. To commemorate the popularity of the sneaker, Nike released a special anniversary colorway, featuring bold colors throughout, red shoelaces and capped off with a bright tennis ball green toe. These sneakers sold out almost immediately when released, but you might be able to pick up a pair on the resellers market.
Image credit: HiConsumption
Brooks Special Edition “Boston Lobsters”
I was born and raised in Boston and even though I’m not a runner, I love the Boston Marathon as much as my Red Sox and Patriots. It’s a part of the culture in that city – Marathon Monday is something you have to experience in person to truly understand. When the bombings took place in April of 2013, the entire world mourned. Brooks paid tribute by creating these special edition running sneakers with mini lobsters emblazoned across the body.
Image credit: Streetwise
Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit “Multicolor”
The Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit was an instant hit with runners when originally launched in 2012, but the sneaker gained popularity among hobbyists, collectors and lifestyle sneaker enthusiasts when Nike added the multicolor body stitching. These sneakers are also available to be customized completely to your liking with Nike ID, allowing you to get crazy with patterns, colors and make the Flyknits 100% your own.
Image credit: Sneakernews
Saucony “Green Line” Kinvara 7
It’s no surprise that another pair of sneakers was dedicated in the wake of the attack on the marathon (and it’s not the last pair on our list). This edition comes from Saucony, who chose to model their tribute sneakers on the Boston MBTA “Green Line”, which runs through the heart of the city and is also the oldest subway system in the US. These just launched last month and were available for purchase on the Saucony website.
Image credit: Footwear News
Nike Roshe Run NM “Fleece Pack”
Another incredibly comfortable and functional running sneaker that’s achieved more sales from lifestyle consumers than runners. The ‘fleece’ pack was released in early 2015 for winter time sneaker enthusiasts, featuring a sweat pant like body perfect for the colder months ahead.
Image credit: Hypebeast
Newton Running Fate 2
Newton Running also paid tribute to the Boston Marathon, using a clever play on words. Newton is a small town within the Boston city limits and also (obviously) happens to be the name of the sneaker company. Newton (MA) is also where the Boston Marathon summits, with the infamous “Heartbreak Hill”, which is embodied on the side of the sneaker with a small breaking heart.
Image credit: Newton Running
adidas Ultra Boost Custom
The Ultra Boost has been a top seller for adidas the last few years but has achieved new heights as a lifestyle sneaker. The standard Ultra Boost only comes in a few colorways, but sneaker artist Chris Hui took the basic black and turned it into a one of a kind sneaker, available nowhere.
Image credit: Complex
ASICS Gel-Kayano 18 2011 New York City Marathon Edition
In honor of the New York City Marathon, ASICS launched a special edition sneaker with a hidden surprise. Available in both men’s and women’s, the sneaker maker printed a map of the NYC Marathon race route on the shoe’s insole, making them a nice collector’s item. It’s probably not a good idea to run a marathon in these if you want to keep the insole map intact.
Image credit: A Glam Slam
Nike Cortez “Year of the Horse”
The Cortez is a classic running sneaker from Nike that was really put on the map as the running shoe of Tom Hanks in “Forest Gump”. This special edition is a far cry from the standard white body we’re used to, featuring a new “natural motion” sole and nylon print body.
Image credit: Sneakernews
New Balance Foam Zante v2 Boston
I use the NB Foam Zante as my workout shoe and I can tell you first hand, these are some of the more comfortable shoes on the market. The V2 Boston is a limited edition sneaker with special details for Boston marathon runners, featuring “Boston” scribed into the N on the side of the sneaker and insole of the shoe as well.
Image credit: New Balance
Over to you
I didn’t even come close to scratching the surface on the depth of special edition running sneakers out there. If you have any favorite of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!