What do you think about when you think about Naruto? Ramen? Maybe! But surely at the top of the list is the way Naruto and his pals run. Cue the inevitable running shoe collaboration. Again.
The way that Naruto characters run, leaning forward their arms at their outstretched behind them, is known as the “Naruto run.” The idea, it seems, that this is a more aerodynamic — and thus, faster — but more likely, it was probably an easier way for the artists to depict running. This explains why this style of running isn’t unique to Naruto and his buddies — yet, it remains closely connected to the series.
All this is why a Naruto sneaker collab makes perfect sense! According to PR Times (via SoraNews), Japanese athletic gear company Mizuno is releasing the Naruto Shippuden kicks in what it’s calling the “Contender Naruto” Collection.
There are three sneakers, with one for the three main characters: Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno. The shoes use each character’s colour combination and feature their emblems. So, on the back of the sneakers, there are Sakura’s circle, Naruto’s whirlpool, and Saksuke’s family crest.
Upon, closer inspection, you can see a leaf symbol on the tongues of the sneakers. As Oona McGee explains, this symbol is for ninja from Konohagakure.
Even more subtle is that the fabric on the Mizuno logo for the Naruto sneakers is supposed to look like toad skin, making it a reference to toad-summoning jutsu and the Land of Toads, where the character got his training. For the Sasuke-themed shoe, the Mizuno logo fabric is supposed to look like snakeskin, which is a reference to snake-summoning jutsu and Orochimaru.
As mentioned above, these are not the first Naruto branded sneakers. Kotaku reported in 2019 that Adidas made Naruto shoes, which ended up looking rather nice.
The latest sneaker collab went on sale this month in Japan for 13,200 yen (A$159) a pair.