The “Contender Naruto” collection from Mizuno is Naruto Shippuden’s first-ever official collaborative line of sneakers.

Hit ninja anime Naruto Shippuden may have concluded in 2017, but its popularity endures around the world. While the series has gifted us with a multitude of recognizable elements, from ninja hand signs to the unbeatable One Thousand Years of Death technique, perhaps no contribution can match the “Naruto run” of running at full speed with your arms stretched behind your back. Professional runners have actually disproved the theory that the Naruto run improves speed, but they might have to test it again while wearing Shippuden‘s first collaborative line of sneakers with Japanese sporting goods retailer Mizuno.

Naruto Shippuden x Mizuno’s “Contender Naruto” collection


The unisex “Contender Naruto” collection consists of three pairs of uniquely designed running sneakers that each pay homage to a member of Konohagakure’s Team 7, otherwise known as Team Kakashi: series protagonist Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno. The most immediate visual cue for each character is that each pair showcases the colors most commonly associated with that character’s respective clothing in Shippuden.

▼ Clockwise: Naruto (black, orange, and grey), Sakura (pink, white, and red), Sasuke (navy, purple, and grey)

A closer look around back reveals some important embroidered symbols that indicate each character’s family ties.

▼ Left to right: The circle that appears on the back of Sakura’s primary outift, Naruto’s Uzumaki clan whirlpool crest, Sasuke’s Uchiha clan fan crest

Upon even closer inspection, you’ll also notice a leaf symbol poking through on the sneaker tongues. This symbol appears on the forehead protectors of ninja hailing from Konohagakure, or the “Village Hidden in the Leaves.” In a nod to Sasuke’s departure from the village for a long portion of the series, his symbol has a slash through it, just like on his forehead protector.

▼ Konohagakure’s leaf symbol shown on the Naruto-themed shoes

Finally, here’s the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it homage. On the sides of all of the sneakers is Mizuno’s distinctive RunBird logo, composed of carefully selected fabric. Specifically, the fabric for the Naruto-themed sneakers is designed to look like toadskin (a nod to his training in the Land of Toads and toad-summoning jutsu), whereas Sasuke’s is snakeskin (a nod to his ties to Orochimaru and snake-summoning jutsu).

▼ The Mizuno logo in fabric replicating toadskin

“Contender Naruto” sneakers can be purchased at Mizuno’s online shop, a portion of Mizuno retail locations and distributors, and even Shonen Jump shops beginning on January 8. Each pair retails for 13,200 yen (US$114) and is available in sizes 23 through 28 centimeters (9.1 through 11 inches) in 0.5-centimeter increments, plus 29 centimeters. Stage your own “Naruto Run” celebration once your pair arrives!

Source, images: PR Times
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