The Most Iconic Trainers In Movie History

We talk a lot about the most stylish films in existence, but rarely do we ever bring up the besttrainers in movie history. From Michael J Fox’s Nikes in Back to the Future Part II to Uma Thurman’s Onitsuka Tiger in Kill Bill, this is the ultimate list for fans of both movies and footwear.

Aliens (1986) Most sneakers that you see on the big screen can be bought without any dramas. But when Sigourney Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley was ready to beat the living shit out of some extraterrestrial monstrosity Aliens, she wore a pair of Reebok Alien Stompers that were specially made for the film. Trainer fans loved them so much that they actually dropped, so even if you can’t act like Ripley and you can’t fight like Ripley, at least you can dress like Ripley, which is good enough.

Back to the Future Part II (1989) Ask anyone what the greatest trainer in movie history is, and they’ll probably bring up the Nike Mag from Back To The Future Part 2. Designed by TINKER HATFIELD (the sole-provider behind other Swoosh icons like the Air Max 1 and the Air Jordan 3). Again, these were produced just for the film. But in 2011, NIKE decided to make them a retail reality, and they quickly became some of the priciest on the planet. To put that into context, a size 12 will set you back around £60k.

Batman (1989) Tim Burton’s Batman has got one thing that no other Batman film has: great sneakers. Every single other version of the caped crusader wears a pair of big and rugged boots as part of their suit, but Michael Keaton rocked a heavily-modified version of the Nike Air Trainer 3 instead. It’s difficult to see at first, but if you squint your eyes, you’ll actually see the “Nike Air” logo around the heel.

Do the Right Thing (1989) Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing released in ’89 and was an instant hit with early sneakerheads (and everyone else, to be honest). In the film, Lee – who has an unrivalled collection himself – shone the spotlight on the Air Jordan 4. You might (and you should) recognise the line “He stepped on my brand new white Jordans!,” which is uttered by Buggin Out, who scuffs his ‘White Cements.’

Forrest Gump (1994) Not only did Tom Hanks score his second Oscar for Best Actor (he won his first just the year before), it was also a major moment for the NIKE CORTEZ. Designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman in 1972, this was the company’s first track shoe ever. Hanks’ character receives the OG ‘White’ colourway from his love Jenny, and with so much running done in the movie (3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours, to be exact), it’s safe to say that she chose well.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) A cinematic great, Kill Bill: Volume 1 is QUENTIN TARANTINO’S fourth film. Starring Uma Thurman as Widely-regarded as one of the greatest pieces of cinema of all-time about a nameless woman seeking revenge on her former hit squad, the film also has another major star: the ONITSUKA TIGER TAI CHI sneaker. This bright yellow design matches Thurman’s yellow suit, which is in itself a nod to BRUCE LEE’S jumpsuit that he wore in his final film, Game of Death. Oh, and they have “Fuck U” moulded onto the bottom of the soles, too.

Space Jam (1996)

In Michael Jordan’s big screen blockbuster, we are given a glimpse of the Air Jordan 11 ‘Space Jam’ in the final scene of the film. Featuring a ballistic mesh base, glossy patent overlays, and an icy blue sole, this exact pair re-released in 2016 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Joe Pytka-directed movie.

Like Mike (2002)

While you might think of Like Mike for Bow Wow’s surprise casting, it deserves remembering as a culturally iconic film thanks to its inclusion of the Nike Blazer. Finding Michael Jordan’s old pair, Bow Wow’s character Calvin becomes an epic basketball player. These white trainers with a blue Swoosh were a unique take on one of Nike’s oldest designs, which first saw the light of day in 1973 and were worn by basketball legend George Gervin, aka, “the Iceman.”

Lost in Translation (2003) Widely-regarded as one of the greatest pieces of cinema of all-time, Lost In Translationa lso happens to have one of the best trainers in movie history. In a scene with Bill Murray’s character Bob Harris, he’s seen in a waiting area wearing the HTM x Nike Air Woven – one of the rarest shoe collabs ever. Short for Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield, and Mark Parker (the designers and CEO of Nike), these were three of the brightest minds in the footwear industry at the time.

The Terminator (1984) When Kyle Reese faces Terminator, before doing so he needs to be kitted out in, well… clothes. To get them, he robs a department store and leaves with a pair of Nike Vandals. Launched back in the early ’80s when leg warmers were a national craze, the Vandal came complete with a removable ankle strap on the high-top version and adopted a very similar silhouette to that of the Air Force 1.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Although a relatively recent release especially when compared to some of the other movies in this article, The Wolf of Wall Street was filled to the brim with iconic moments, and lest we forget when a drug-filled Jordan has a run-in with his Lambo. During the scene, which sees Leo essentially wreck a supercar worth $118,000 (when it went on sale in 1985), we are given a flash of a pair of Nike Cortezin a white and black colour combo.

Trainspotting (1996)

Based on Irvine Welsh’s novel, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting is set among working men’s clubs and council estates in Edingburgh. Mark Renton, played masterfully by Ewan and his junkie pals embody ’90s grunge, with his own look consisting of a skin-head, torn cropped tees,  drainpipe jeans and the ADIDAS SAMBA SUPER. They were also often spotted on the terraces of big football matches alongside other sneakers like the GAZELLE making it one of the best trainers in movie history.