Sneaker collaborations aren’t new territory for Reebok, whose extensive portfolio spans over different genres and fields of the entertainment industry, from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Ghostbusters to Despicable Me and Aliens. As 2021 ushers in the Lunar New Year, the brand will be turning to its expertise in partnerships to celebrate the occasion in style, with Kung Fu Panda serving as the thematic flavour.
A team-up between DreamWorks Animation and Universal Brand Development, the Reebok x Kung Fu Panda collection will go live on 8 January on Reebok’s official website before its wider retail release on 15 January. The key footwear models are set to feature elements from the animated franchise, borrowing the styles of the Furious Five and the protagonist Po to bring the following (as described by Reebok) –
- Instapump Fury “Dragon Warrior” (US$200, GZ8632): This tonal Instapump Fury execution embodies Po’s evolution from Panda to Dragon Warrior – a symbol of hard work and dedication. Prominent features include a furry suede upper with dragon graphic on top, a textile Pump bladder and pull tabs nodding to his iconic patchwork shorts, a collar lining that ties back to his belt and waistband, asymmetric Pump ball noodle and dragon graphics, a sock liner design paying homage to fortune cookies and Po’s journey to becoming a kung fu master, TPU shank at the outsole constructed with a bamboo finish representing Po’s fighting staff, and lucky number graphics at the heel as a nod to the year of each Kung Fu Panda film release. Also available in Versa Pump for kids.
- Club C “Calling All Zodiacs” (US$100, GZ8633): Similar to the “Master Your Own Style” iteration but with a more-subtle graphic execution, the Club C “Calling All Zodiacs” model celebrates the unique ideologies and mentalities of each of the film’s seven Kung Fu Masters: Po, Tigress, Monkey, Crane, Viper, Mantis and Shifu. Available in adult, grade school, preschool and toddler sizing.
- Zig Kinetica “Master of Tai Chi” (US$140, GZ8641): This thoughtful iteration of the energetic Zig Kinetica celebrates the Soul – a key theme for Lunar New Year – encouraging wearers to believe in themselves and to trust their inner spirit. This narrative is brought to life with an upper graphic execution paying homage to the golden spirit world that Po enters in the franchise’s third film, an all-over spiritual graphic on the sockliner, a cherry blossom heel graphic and a sublimated soul graphic across the all-textile upper. Available in adult, grade school, preschool and toddler sizing.
- Club C “Master Your Style” (US$110, GZ8634): This colour-blocked Club C execution brings together each of film’s six Kung Fu Masters’ unique wardrobes via a tapestry of materials and colours: the toe for Crane’s pants, the toe box for Po’s fur, the crosscheck for Tigress’s kimono, the heel for Po’s patchwork pants, the eye stays for each master’s fighting foot wrap, the tongue for Mantis’ exoskeleton, the heel tab for Monkey’s fur, the window box for Monkey’s wrist cuffs, the heel webbing for Viper’s scales and the collar lining for Po’s waistband. The shoe also features a custom Reebok Kanji logo at the heel. Available in adult sizing.
The collection also offers a full range of complementary apparel for non-sneakerheads, with a selection of hoodies, crew sweaters, tee shirts, and sweatpants honouring Po’s Dragon Warrior journey.
No celebration is complete without festivities, however. For an added touch of tradition and thematic synergy, the footwear will be packaged Lunar New Year-style, with the box’s red top symbolising the act of exchanging red packets during house visits, and the base’s graphic mash-up uniting the elements of the Kung Fu Panda series. The wrapping paper on the inside, meanwhile, is designed as a callback to Po’s apprenticeship at his father’s noodle shop.
The Kung Fu Panda team-up is, admittedly, a little unexpected, though it seems Reebok has done a pretty decent job in bringing together the franchise’s DNA and Lunar New Year traditions. It could have easily turned out worse, but thankfully, the sneaker aesthetic is more flair than fail here.