Since writing the definitive recap of the five years of Nike’s Christmas Pack, this site has been inundated with traffic associated with searches for… why people in the United States say cheers instead of goodbye. And by “inundated,” I mean “a couple hundred visits at most per month.” But, like Shackleton, by endurance we conquer, and some Nike “Christmas” sneakers which weren’t part of Christmas packs had been released (and one re-released) and left unaddressed by me. So here we go.
LeBron 7 “Christmas”
From way back in 2009, we have the LeBron 7 “Christmas” colorway. It’s from the golden age of LeBron James’ signature models (7–10), and without green to go with the red, it has an “angry Christmas” feel to it. The black to red gradient in the “fuse” area ties it all together, but the main feeling it evokes is “stay away.” That doesn’t mean it’s not a good-looking shoe; this model straddles two eras: the late 2000s “fuse and Flywire” construction and 360° Air Max unit as well as the early/mid-2000s actual, real leather. Nike would move to fuse and “posite” only in the coming years before switching to Flyknit for the 15, 16, and 17. This sneaker came out one year prior to the formal Christmas packs, and the progression of the materials can definitely be seen as a ‘foot in both eras’ starting point. Its aged well, still looking like a modern design despite being literally ten years old at this point. The neat detail here is that the model released as a retro on 12/21/2019. Not so neat: the only explicitly “Christmas” detail is the sockliner.
There are worse Christmas sneakers, but there are also much better.
KD 9 “The Sauce”
Moving ahead seven years to 2016, one year after the last official Christmas Pack, Kevin Durant and Nike brought out this bundle of Flyknit and full-length, visible Zoom Air. The dedicated splash page still lives, and, for the record, there’s no explicit Christmas reference, but there’s “ugly Christmas sweater” print on the tongue, and it’s very clear “The Sauce” referenced is cranberry. It released in early December, so it’s definitely “holidays,” whether Thanksgiving or Christmas. Complicating matters is that Kevin Durant actually didn’t wear these on Christmas. He wore a white, purple (blue?), and gold PE (player edition) of the KD 9 instead of these. Boring.
Though these are after the golden age of KD sneakers (3–6, maybe 7 if you like straps), I have a soft spot for the 9s and 10s, and maroon is an underrated sneaker color, as is the bronze-colored swoosh, and the red Zoom Air strands(?) give an extra pop in the midsole. Sure, the clear (“icy”) rubber looks good, but in my experience, that’s just one, inevitable scuff waiting to happen. I’d like to say that “Ugly Christmas Sweater” wasn’t yet played out in 2016 (it was), but it is a fun detail that can actually be executed in Flyknit, unlike, say, “glossy metallic red” or “white birch bark” like seen during the “fuse” era. There’s just only so much one can do with Flyknit, though. (but the Kobe 9 Christmas certainly used it to the best of its abilities)
Christmas colors – ✔
Christmas story – Sure!
LeBron 14 “Out of Nowhere”
Look, these are in the “worn on Christmas” category, not “Christmas Sneaker” category. Beyond that, they’re from LeBron’s “mini dark age” of sneakers which consisted of the 13 and 14 from 2015–2017 (sue me, I like the 12s, the first of the three “Zoom Air hexagons are the future!” models). They’re not Christmas-y in the slightest, but they are MUCH better looking than almost any other colorway of the 14, especially with that bloodstripe separating the grey and black areas of the shoe. Nice. The neon (“volt”) hits are as understated as such things can be, and a “just black and grey” sneaker ends up anything but. But they’re not Christmas.
Two stars. But only because there’s nothing “Christmas” about them. I do think they’re very nice.
But, Dan, if these just happened to be worn on Christmas instead of designed for Christmas, wouldn’t that mean this article should be more complete, with lots more entries? Maybe. But this one showed up in a search for “LeBron Christmas Sneakers,” and I didn’t want to stop the article at just two models.
Speaking of articles, Nice Kicks has its own Christmas sneaker rundown for 2019, which is a bit broader than mine. They point out that the 2010 pack had a traffic light theme. Hmm.
Quick recap: Nikelebron.net has a great sneakerwheel-ish picture of all the models except the 13 (and the 14… which isn’t really a Christmas design).
LeBron 7 pictures from https://sneakerbardetroit.com/nike-lebron-7-christmas-2019-release-date/
KD 9 pictures from http://sneakerbardetroit.com/nike-kd-9-christmas-the-sauce-release-date/
LeBron 14 pictures from https://www.sneakerfiles.com/nike-lebron-14-out-of-nowhere-release-date/