Think of your favorite pair of shoes. Whether you copped the latest Nike drop or you just dropped some serious cash on a luxurious pair of Balenciaga kicks, you’ve probably got that one perfect pair of shoes that feel uniquely and totally you. For video game fans, the sneaker world is one in which it’s actually easy to find shoes that not only communicate your hobbies to the world, but are able to do so in a fashionable manner that might even match what you’re wearing. Imagine that!
Not all video game-inspired shoes are made equal, of course. There are some decidedly garish examples that even the most hardcore fan would skip out on wearing. You don’t want to be made fun of when you step out in a fresh fit, though, so if you’re planning on showing some serious love for the game, you might want to throw on one of these colorways.
Whether you want to represent retro gaming or pull up with shoes inspired by more modern greats, there’s undoubtedly a pair for you that you’ll want to track down in this list.
There may be few things less annoying to a gamer than glitches, but the Puma RS-0 Error line makes them oh-so sweet. Using a neon color palette with hot pink, purple, and teal, this eye-catching sneaker mimicked the glitching pixels of a game on its last leg as well as screen patterns all over its tongue and midsole. The pixelated graphics adorning the shoe give it a distinct retro flavor, while not screaming into the void about the classics of yesteryear. It’s the perfect mix of tactful and playful, and will no doubt turn heads if you go out with these bad boys on.
The iconic PlayStation 2 is one of the most well-loved gaming consoles of all time. The Nike Air Force 1 PlayStation edition is extremely rare, and originally was only given out to friends, family, and contest winners. In 2018, it debuted at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition in Los Angeles, but was only available in limited quantities. The striking PlayStation symbols adorn a holographic jelly swoosh and heel tab and even extend to the translucent outsole. Pair that drip with the matte and gloss premium and patent leather on the shoe, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Few video games are as classic and iconic as Tetris. The puzzler gets everyone up and into the game whenever it makes an appearance. No one can resist the allure of arranging those colored blocks to create a perfectly flat, symmetrical wall of shapes. Everyone knows the shapes, too – the L-block, the line, you know them all. They’re emblazoned on the Puma x Tetris RS 9.8 shoes for a tasteful nod to one of the most recognizable titles of all time. Using the iconic Tetris colors, it proclaims to the world that you support the GOAT when it comes to mind-bending puzzle games. Period.
Vans has its fair share of interesting designs, and it’s no stranger to bringing retro gaming to life with its most popular shoe lines. But one of the most famous (and hottest) lines from the skate shoe manufacturer is the Nintendo SK8-HI Controller line. All over the high-top sneakers are classic Nintendo Entertainment System controllers. You’ve got the NES controllers on the print, canvas, and suede uppers, along with padded collars for good measure. The 8-bit “Game Over!” printed on the soles is the cherry on top. Plus, it all comes packaged in a classic NES box. What more could you want to rep one of the greatest gaming eras of all time?
Nike always knows what it’s doing when it comes to gaming and amazing shoes. Case in point: the Nike Blazer Mid ’77 “Have A Good Game.” You get a digital Swoosh along with a gradient sole, removable backtab, and a glow-in-the-dark motif that calls attention to the shoe’s overall branding. Everything, from the rainbow-hued sole to the details on the lower heels screams “retro gamer” in ways that you’d never be embarrassed to rock. Nike continues to elevate the sneaker game when it comes to gamer culture, and this pair is surely no different. Good look snagging a pair when they’re available, though.
Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for 13 years for publications like Variety, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, GameSpot, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.