What do you get if you mix hypebeasts with consoomers? You get awful licensed merchandise. Licensed merchandise has always been around, but it’s exploded over the last decade with your favorite TV shows, movies, and video games plastered over every single product imaginable.
But do we really need licensed shoes as well? Most licensed shoes look extremely cheesy, and despite that fact, this trend just won’t go away. If these licensed shoes are here to stay, we might as well make fun of them. Here are the top 10 absolute worst licensed sneakers, shoes, and boots.
1. Baby Yoda Shoes
To capitalize on teenager memers with a bit too much disposable income, Disney partnered with Zazzle to create Baby Yoda shoes. If you’re somehow not familiar with Baby Yoda, the character became a meme after appearing in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. You can be sure that these shoes are good quality because they’re hand-made by the finest craftsmen… in Africa. No, seriously.
Disney’s official site claims the shoes retain “the look and feel of the espadrille while weaving in the local African flair through unique custom designs, indigenous African patterns, and the kanga fabric” and some of the proceeds go toward funding education in Africa. That’s a good cause, but I don’t think it’s worth it to be ridiculed for wearing these horrendous shoes in public — you’re better off buying a nice pair of shoes and donating to a charitable organization yourself.
2. Spongebob Boots
I would’ve thought these Spongebob Timberland boots looked lame even when I was a child and Spongebob was still cool. And in case you’re wondering: yes, these are boots for men.
What better way to trample on the legacy of the late Stephen Hillenburg than with these awful-looking Spongebob Timberland boots.
3. Ninja shoes
If you haven’t walked into a large retail store lately, let me fill you in: Ninja’s logo is on everything. If there’s a piece of children’s clothing, Ninja’s blue hair is on it.
Adidas couldn’t help but cash in on the Ninja cash cow by releasing the Adidas by Ninja “TIME IN” Nite Jogger sneakers.
— Ninja (@Ninja) December 18, 2019
I’d like to say that this business venture was a complete failure, but it’s actually the opposite — the shoes sold out shockingly fast. Now it makes sense why Ninja has so much merchandise in retail stores. There are plenty of whiny children with rich parents who are willing to buy dumb merch to make them happy.
4. Captain Marvel Craze
Captain Marvel was lackluster as far as Marvel movies go. The “girl power” message turned off some viewers and other viewers saw the film as propaganda for the military industrial complex. And Brie Larson isn’t exactly the most pleasant person ever. No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, you’ll find people who have issues with this film.
However, the film’s relative unpopularity among Marvel fans didn’t stop both Adidas and Vans from shamelessly capitalizing on the Marvel hype train.
— Jen Bartel (@heyjenbartel) March 5, 2019
But men who wanted to wear the Vans line of Captain Marvel shoes for some reason (seriously, why?) were upset because the shoes didn’t come in a size greater than 10.
Sorry y'all. I'm afraid that this particular design max'd out at 10 for the guys. But, I'll pass on the feedback (you're not the only ones)!
— Vans (@VANS_66) June 8, 2018
To be fair, this is an understandable mistake by Vans. They probably didn’t expect any self-respecting men to purchase a pair of Captain Marvel shoes. They greatly underestimated the brazenness of consoomers.
5. Star Wars
Star Wars is the king of merchandising, and its fan base is willing to gobble up any sort of Star Wars product or content imaginable, no matter how bad the movies have become.
If Star Wars is the king of merchandising, Adidas is the jester. They delivered another awful licensed product to close out 2019, the Speedfactory AM4 x Star Wars “The Force” sneaker.
— Sneaker Bar Detroit (@SBDetroit) December 19, 2019
This sneaker features snippets from Star Wars comics, and ironically enough, these snippets are probably from a comic that isn’t even canon anymore. After Disney adopted the franchise, they relegated 20 years of comics as non-canon. Were fans angry? Yeah, but that’s not going to stop them from consooming.
6. Pokemon Smart Shoes
We cannot talk about merchandising and licensed products without talking about Pokemon. But to be fair, Pokemon tends to be protective with their brand. This was not one of those instances because these Pokemon-themed licensed shoes from VIXOLE look pretty tacky.
The shoes feature a thin LED display built-in, and they boasted compatibility with Pokemon GO.
— Tech Insider (@techinsider) July 29, 2016
But it seems like the shoes were never released and VIXOLE’s website redirects to a 404. Additionally, the company’s Twitter hasn’t been updated since the Pokemon GO hype started to die down in 2016.
In 2018, the company gave an update to their 800+ backers on Indiegogo explaining their difficulties with mass production.
“Mass production is really different than making a few prototypes,” VIXOLE wrote. “Things that can possibly go wrong went wrong. We’ve made so many mistakes, which delayed the mass production again and again.”
The company hasn’t made a public statement since then.
7. Stranger Things
I haven’t watched Stranger Things and I have no plans to watch it any time soon, but I constantly see entertainment news articles about this show. And since every show in pop culture needs to have its own shoe design, it’s not surprising that Rebook released a pair of 1984 Reebok Ex-O-Fit Hi shoes, customized with Dustin’s drawings.
I guess this is as much of a Ghost Busters shoe as it is a Stranger Things shoe — the original shoes appeared on Stranger Things as a part of Dustin’s ghost busters outfit.
So if you ever wanted shoes from the 80s with a child’s doodles all over it, you’re in luck.
8. Pikachu Heels
Japanese shoe fashion label Esperanza released Pikachu-themes shoes exclusively for women (unless you’re a man and you’re into that kind of stuff).
These shoes feature 4-inch heels with Pikachu ears and a tail hanging from the back.
And to be honest, these high heels aren’t that bad, but I’m struggling to think of a good time and place to use them. You’re not going to want to wear Pikachu high heels to any sort of formal event, but you won’t want to wear heels to a casual event either.
9. The Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Collection
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is the most recent anime craze to penetrate the mainstream Western audience. It’s puzzling why so many Western viewers fell in love with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure — is it the references to music or the cross-dressing burly men in lingerie that Western viewers are attracted to.
If you’re not familiar with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, it’s an over-the-top action manga that’s currently being adapted into an anime, with the story and characters getting more ridiculous with each new season.
Considering the worldwide popularity of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, it was only a matter of time before the series had a line of shoes. If you want to get bullied at school for enjoying Asian cartoons, you can now pick up your pair of Jojo-inspired Vans Era Pro shoes.
10. The other Jojo
Jojo Siwa (not to be confused with the weeaboo Jojo) is the little girl equivalent of Ninja. If you walk into a retail store like Target or Walmart, you’re bound to see Jojo Siwa’s ponytail and five head somewhere. Who is Jojo Siwa, you ask? I’m not quite sure. I think she’s a YouTuber and was on a kid’s TV show once.
Jojo Siwa’s gimmick is that she has an overtly girly style, and as such, her shoes include bright colors, glitter, sequins, and bows. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being girly, but these shoes are pretty ugly even by little girl standards.