Hot on the heels of their “pretty cool but also very weird” Adidas 40th Anniversary Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back sneaker collection, Adidas is dropping another Star Wars-branded line. This time, they’re jumping into the universe of the hit Disney+ show — and best post-George Lucas Star Wars product — The Mandalorian. While the Empire Strikes Back collection was hit or miss overall, the pairs that were actually dope (the Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker shoes immediately come to mind) were full of all sorts of small, character-specific details that made sneakerheads and Star Wars nerds alike froth with excitement.
The Mandalorian collection is not quite as detailed, but it’s a significantly more consistent offering — a collection of mostly earth-toned colorways across silhouettes like the Adidas Boost, Superstar, Gazelle, and Top Ten Hi. In celebration of the kick-off of The Mandalorian season 2, we’ve ranked all nine sneakers from worst to best. Let’s dive in!
9. Gazelle Darksaber
Giancarlo Esposito is a fantastic actor. His portrayal of Gus Fring in Breaking Bad has solidified him as one of the greatest TV villains of all time. This, however, has tricked too many people thinking that Giancarlo makes a good villain, in general. What made Gus Fring terrifying was that underneath his bookish exterior, he was a quiet storm of evil. In The Mandalorian, he’s just about the only actor who could look nerdy holding the ultra-cool Darksaber. It doesn’t quite work, in this shoe writer’s opinion.
Annnnyyyyyway, Giancarlo plays the big bad in The Mandalorian, Moff Gideon, and this Adidas Gazelle is designed with his character — and the mandalorian-made blade he wields — in mind. The Gazelle Darksaber features an all suede upper in a mix of core black, silver metallic, and grey which matches Moff Gideon’s suit, with a glowing set of three stripes that are meant to recall the cracked light of the Darksaber.
We’re ranking it last because it’s just a little too nerdy for its own good.
8. Nizza Beskar Steel
The Beskar Steel utilizes Adidas’ Nizza high platform sneaker silhouette and pays homage to the no-named Mandalorian Armorer in the series’ first season. Like the Armorer, the Nizza is dressed in a luxurious mix of brown, raw dessert, and maroon, with a rugged canvas upper, furry suede three stripes and heel stripe, and a gaudy golden tongue label with premium leather accents. This is easily the flashiest sneaker in the whole set but Adidas’ decision to use the Nizza here is a puzzling one.
If you wanted to go this flashy, why not choose a sleeker silhouette? The Nizza feels miscast here. We love the concept, just not the execution.
7. Top Ten Hi The Child Youth
One of the most effective silhouettes in Adidas’ entire Star Wars-branded output is the Top Ten Hi. It’s on the Boba Fetts, the Chewbaccas, and now Baby Yoda is getting the classic b-ball treatment. Themed around Baby Yoda’s floating pod, this youth-sized colorway features a spring-ready mix of cream white, pale nude, and glory mint over a mixed leather and suede upper with Baby Yoda branding on the tongue. If you’re a Mandalorian-head and you’re cursing at us right now for calling Baby Yoda “Baby Yoda” and not, “The Child”… deal with it!
He’ll always be Baby Yoda to us.
We really like this colorway but the fact that it’s exclusively youth-sized means it’s not particularly accessible.
6. NMD_R1 The Mandalorian Youth
The NMD_R1 is Adidas’ other frequently appearing silhouette in the brand’s Star Wars offerings — repping Lando Calrissian, the Storm Troopers, and now The Mandalorian himself. The NMD_R1 Mandalorian is the collection’s only other youth-sized sneaker and while altogether it’s a fine design, it just doesn’t really reflect the character it’s named for in our opinion. Aside from the silver stripe, this design’s mix of brown, pale nude, and maroon doesn’t do much to reflect the Mandalorian’s color palette of silver and blue chrome. Instead, it captures the desert-like earthy tones of the show itself.
Still, this colorway atop a blacked-out Boost midsole is a pretty solid look and one we wish Adidas would’ve sized up.
5. NMD_R1 The Mandalorian
We’re not too burned up about Adidas making the previous sneaker youth-exclusive because the Men’s-sized NMD_R1 Mandalorian is a significant step up. Featuring a sleek all-over armor print over a stretchy textile upper, The Mandalorian sports a colorway of core black and silver metallic — with a simple brown Boost midsole with speckled detailing and Mandalorian helmet branding on the tongue. The sneaker’s unique armor print is a pretty cool look and this graphic-laden textile upper is one we think Adidas should adopt into some of their other Primeknit designs.
A Yeezy with Mando-inspired armor print? Let’s make it happen, we know Ye is a huge Star Wars nerd anyway.
4. The Child Superstar
If Adidas’ The Child Superstar didn’t have Baby Yoda branding, it would be one of the hottest colorways of Adidas Superstar to drop all year. This colorway of linen green, core black, and cream white is simply beautiful. Make more sneakers utilizing linen green Adidas, why are you robbing your other sneakers of this eye-catching tone?!
The Child Superstar is the collection’s prettiest pair, with a full-grain leather upper that looks like it’s meant to be viewed through a display case, making this the most collector’s worthy of the whole set. Adidas seems to realize that, they made this one exclusive to members of their Creators Club, which if you’re interested, is totally free to sign up for.
3. ZX 2K Boost Mudhorn
Making a sneaker based on a creature that appears in a minor but semi-significant scene in the series’ first season was a weird decision but Adidas did it, and they made it look pretty dope in the process. Utilizing the retro-futuristic ’80s by-way-of 2030 ZX 2K silhouette, the Mudhorn features a mesh upper with floating no-sew overlays in a mix of cloud white, glory mint, and core black atop a speckled print midsole with Mudhorn signet branding on the tongue. The design on the Mudhorn just comes together so perfectly, it doesn’t feel forced and best of all it stands up on its own as a design completely disconnected to the series that inspired it, making it one of the collection’s most functional and wearable pieces.
This one hits the heights of Adidas’ other Star Wars collection.
2. NMD_R1 The Child Find Your Way
Yet another NMD_R1 in the collection, The Child Find Your Way, which I think we can all agree is the worst named sneaker in the whole collection, is pretty damn clean. Featuring a delicious mix of cream white and pale nude with clear mint three stripes, this women’s runner features a tactile and lightweight knit textile upper atop a Boost midsole with EVA plugs for an ultra-wearable and stylish pair of running shoes that just happens to be Star Wars themed.
The best sneakers in this collection are the pairs that don’t look like heavily branded Disney sneakers and if this pair didn’t feature the cheesy “Find Your Way” branding on the tongue, we might think it was something out of Beyonce’s IVY PARK collection.
1. Top Ten Hi The Child
In a way, it’s fitting that the Top Ten Hi has become the best silhouette for Star Wars-branded Adidas. The basketball silhouette is a product of the late ’70s and early ’80s, just like Star Wars, and its mix of retro design lines and futuristic sleekness is reflective of what you might find in a galaxy far far away. Much of Star Wars’ most iconic inventions are repurposed junk from the ’70s. Old camera flashes became lightsabers, trash cans became droids, so why can’t ’70s high top basketball sneakers be the footwear of choice for X-Wing pilots in the rebel fleet?
The Top Ten Hi The Child features a fire mix of blue, cream white and linen green (there’s that linen green again) over a mixed leather and suede upper with speckled galaxy-esque laces and Baby Yoda branding on the tongue. While the Boba Fetts may be the fan-favorite this year, the Top Ten Hi The Child is Adidas’ best Star Wars-branded sneaker of all time.