Sam Murphy

20 Best Lunar New Year Sneakers of All Time | Man of Many

When it comes to choosing the Lunar New Year sneakers, expertise is key. Man of Many has remained an active member of the sneaker sub-culture since we were founded in 2012, and today we remain focused on all the latest sneaker news, reviews, and more as we continue providing the best sneaker information in Men’s Lifestyle. In the case of Lunar New Year sneakers, it’s all about rarity, price point, and influence.

How Man of Many Chose This List of Lunar New Year Sneakers

Our list of best Lunar New Year Sneakers goes like this.

Best Lunar New Year Sneakers

1. Nike Air Foamposite One ‘Tianjin’

The Nike Foamposite One Tianjin is one of the rarest Lunar New Year releases. The shoe features a colourful, floral print on the upper, which is inspired by the traditional decorations seen during the Lunar New Year celebrations in the city of Tianjin, China. It also features a metallic gold swoosh and a red and gold embroidered heel. As always, the Foamposite technology provides a lightweight and durable shoe. This release is considered a collector’s item, fetching prices upwards of $13,000.

2. Jordan 1 Low OG ‘Chinese New Year’

Released in 2021, the Jordan 1 Low OG ‘Chinese New Year’ is one of the freshest Lunar New Year drops out there. These are a decadent pair of shoes with a black and red patent leather upper that screams luxury. The gold accents on the tongue and heel add some serious pop and give off that premium vibe. The OG silhouette of the Jordan 1 Low is given a fresh twist with patent leather. They don’t fetch the same sort of outrageous prices that some of the other CNY releases do but they’re just as special. 

3. Jordan 12 Retro ‘Chinese New Year’

This 2019 Jordan 1 CNY drop is perhaps one of the more subtle of the bunch but it’s a classic in its own right. The colourway is crisp, featuring a black and red leather upper with metallic gold accents. The CNY detailing on the tongue and insole adds a subtle touch of Chinese culture while the leather upper elevates the shoe to something premium.

4. Nike Kyrie 4 ‘Chinese New Year’

In 2018, it was the Kyrie 4 that became a canvas to celebrate CNY, using bold, shiny red on the upper alongside intricate embroidery. Florals adorn the side and heel of the shoe using black, red, white and gold to highlight Chinese culture. It’s all topped off by a black embroidered Swoosh on the side which sits perfectly atop the rich red.

5. Nike Air Max 1 ‘Chinese New Year Longevity’

Born in 2020, the Air Max 1 got a colourful makeover for CNY, one of the most experimental holiday drops yet. The shoe features vibrant, colourful collages that nod to Chinese heritage from florals to dragons with a mudguard embossed with Chinese characters. It’s all topped off by an acid-wash denim toe box. 

6. Jordan 5 Retro Low ‘Chinese New Year’

The 2016 Jordan 5 drop features a red and black colourway, with metallic gold accents on the branding and midsole. The shoe was a nod to the Chinese heritage and featured unique details such as a 3M reflective tongue and Chinese characters on the heel tab. The classic Jumpman embroidery on the heel ties the shoe back to its Jordan roots. 

7. Jordan 13 Retro ‘Chinese New Year’

Released back in 2020 this Air Jordan 13 Retro CNY release is still a sought-after one. It also sports a different colourway than a lot of the other releases on this list. It features a Chinese coin-inspired design that trades in pastels from a soft pink finish on the outsole to the green holographic cat eye. The patterning on the white upper is particularly noteworthy elevating a silhouette that’s already eye-catching.

8. Nike Air Foamposite One ‘Lunar New Year’

The Nike Air Foamposite was the silhouette for the Lunar New Year back in 2018 featuring a Foam shell covered in fireworks and floral graphics. The metallic, glossy artwork that the shoe steps outside of the typical monochromatic Foamposite model. It’s all pulled together by the impressive icy translucent outsole which aptly compliments the busy upper.

9. Jordan 1 Low ‘Year Of The Rabbit’

Limited to just 5000 pairs, this year’s Year of the Rabbit drop takes the Air Jordan 1 Retro Low OG as its canvas. Using neutral tones and furry, textured layers, it’s clear that the rabbit is the inspiration for this release. Suede and leather dominate the upper while the sock liner is made of terry towelling. The oversized, furry laces are one of the most impressive features of this release. 

10. Nike Dunk High ‘Year Of The Pig’

What better way to celebrate the Year of the Pig than by covering a shoe completely in pink? That’s exactly what Nike did with the Dunk High back in 2007 and it proves to be a massive hit. Featuring entirely different shades of pink across its suede upper, there is also an embossed ankle panel sporting a Chinese design with an artwork of a pig. Nabbing a pair of these is a pretty rare achievement these days.

11. Jordan XX9 ‘Year of the Goat’

The Year of the Goat was celebrated in 2015 with this hypnotic Jordan release. The XX9 uses a full woven upper which is a first for a basketball shoe and uses it to display a graphic that looks like an abstract, painted canvas. The midsole continues the graphic motif of metallic blue which is undercut by a translucent blue on the outsole. 

12. Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Year of the Monkey’

The Nike Air Force 1 ‘Year of the Monkey’ is one of the more subtle releases for the holiday but it still has some decadent features. The white shoe is given a lift by pecan overlays, nodding to the monkey with the Swoosh and the monkey illustration on the side. It’s actually difficult to come across this 2003 release these days even if you’re scouring resellers. 

13. Nike Zoom KD 4 ‘Year of The Dragon’

Kevin Durant’s fourth signature basketball shoe was the basis of the ‘Year of the Dragon’ release. Moving away from something typically fiery, it’s an icy blue shoe with pops of orange and patterning on the lace strap, tongue and sock liner. A dragon also weaves through the KD logo on the heel of the shoe making sure you knew exactly what animal was dominating the year. 

14. New Balance 991 Made in England ‘Chinese New Year – Year Of The Ox’

Unlike Nike, New Balance keeps it pretty classic when celebrating CNY. The 991 celebrated the Year of the Ox by nodding to the animal through colour rather than patterns or graphics. The suede and mesh upper are a collision of tones of brown from the dark toe box to the light mesh underlays. There is actually no physical mention of the Ox on the shoe but those who know, know. 

15. Nike Kobe 8 EXT ‘Year of the Snake’

You can’t celebrate the Year of the Snake without using snakeskin and that’s exactly what the Kobe 8 EXT does. It’s a luxurious-looking shoe, using a metallic black snakeskin pattern on the upper, overlayed with a textured black Swoosh. You’ll also find Kobe’s personal logo on the heel in rough suede.

16. Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Year Of The Dragon’

Nike celebrated the Year of the Rabbit in 2012 with a sleek black-and-white colourway that featured subtle patterning. The black upper and white sole is complimented by textured, shiny black Swoosh and near-disguised Chinese illustrations on the panelling. A touch of colour is delivered through the bright graphic on the tongue tag. 

17. Air Jordan 7 Retro ‘Year Of The Rabbit’

The 2011 Year of the Rabbit release saw the Jordan 7 Retro take on a silver, gold, red and white theme. The colours nod to China’s national colours while the gold laces and embroidery nod to the country’s penchant for gold. True red accents on the cushioned midsole and throat make the otherwise understated shoe pop.

18. Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Year of the Dog’

In 2018, Nike reimagined the Nike Air Force 1 for the Year of the Dog bringing texture and patterns to a silhouette that’s often classic and simple. There are two key features here – the sketch-like patterned underlays and the furry panel mimicking the animal it’s celebrating. It’s all delivered through a white motif, interrupted only briefly for some black pattern work. These shoes fetch one of the largest resale prices of any of the shoes on the list.

19. Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Year of the Dog’

Back in 2005, Nike celebrated the Year of the Dog with a vibrant release. Using the AF1 as its silhouette, it pairs oranges, reds and blues with bold patterning on the underlays and panels. It also features the furry panel that the 2018 release sported too, only adding to the coordinated chaos that this delivers. It’s an exciting release that still fetches impressive resale prices all these years later.

20. Jordan Spizike ‘Year of the Dragon’

The Jordan Spizike pays tribute to Spike Lee’s 1980s Air Jordan commercials by taking different elements from legacy Jordan silhouettes. In 2012, it became a vessel for CNY celebrations, blending University Blue and Italy Blue across the shoe with pops of Vivid Orange. It barely makes mention of the Dragon but its presence is felt through the translucent orange sole and the lave-like, embellished patterning.
Nike Celebrates Anniversary Release of Popular Sneakers

Alternatives to Best Lunar New Year Sneakers of All Time

What are the best Lunar New Year Nike sneakers?

The Nike Air Max 1 ‘Chinese New Year Longevity’ are the best lunar new year sneakers from Nike in our opinion. They come in at a fair price, the colour blocking is great, and the cultural references are classy and accurate.

What are the best Lunar New Year New Balance sneakers?

New Balance is relatively new to the Lunar New Year sneaker release calendar, however, the recent New Balance 991 Made in England ‘Year Of The Ox’ silhouette is excellent. We love the suede and mesh upper are a collision of tones of brown from the dark toe box to the light mesh underlays.

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