Over the past 12 years, Russell Westbrook has served up some of the best sneaker moments both on and off the court. Since bursting onto the NBA stage in 2008, Westbrook has cemented himself as one of the greatest player’s in the league. In that time, Westbrook has won countless awards, ranging from MVPs to being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. As you would probably expect, both his sneakers and ability do the talking on the court.
For just over a decade, Russell Westbrook has been making headlines with his sneakers. From his formative years playing in adidas to eventually signing with Jordan Brand, Westbrook’s shoe game is hard to beat. Having been given a signature shoe in 2018, Westbrook has only stepped up his sneaker prominence. With the NBA just starting back up again, we thought it was about time we looked at some of Russell Westbrook’s best sneaker moments.
As you can probably imagine, there is an awful lot to choose from. Being a signature Jordan Brand athlete has its perks, with free sneakers being one of them. Without further delay, let’s take a closer look at some of Russell Westbrook top shoes.
Off-White™ x Air Jordan 1 “UNC”
It is difficult to imagine what the world of sneakers would look like if Virgil Abloh didn’t team up with Nike. There were a few standout models from Off-White™ and Nike’s “The Ten” collection, but the Air Jordan 1 was arguably the best. Following on from the “Chicago” and “NRG” versions in 2017 and 2018 respectively, sneakerheads were given a third colourway of the Off-White™ x Air Jordan 1, leading back to Michael Jordan’s alma mater: the University of North Carolina (UNC).
Featuring the same features that made the other two colourways such a hit, the Off-White™ x Air Jordan 1 “UNC” quickly became the shoe of the year. The deconstructed upper used exposed foam at the ankle as well as a white mesh base and contrasting UNC blue overlays. Familiar details like the writing on the medial side, shoelaces and zip tie made this an instant hit. Russell Westbrook’s Jordan Brand connections meant he got his pair way before they made it to retail. Alright for some, huh?
Air Jordan V “Tokyo”
This may be one of the weirdest outfits that Russell Westbrook has ever put on but don’t let that take away from his kicks. Pictured above wearing a brown blazer, white shirt and formal tie, the contrasting camouflage pants and Air Jordan 5s are hard to process. In the words of Russell Westbrook’s signature shoe “why not?” You certainly have to be a character to pull this look off, but you’ve got to be an even bigger sneakerhead to cop these AJ5s.
Released back in 2011, the Air Jordan 5 “Tokyo” is one of the most coveted sneakers on the planet. When Jordan Brand opened its Tokyo flagship, it made these Jordan 5s to commemorate the occasion. Constructed in bright yellow premium suede, the sneaker features black accents as well as the traditional 3M tongue. However, it is the detail on the heel that really makes these so sought after. A special “23” is designed to look like a traditional Japanese character, giving these AJ5s some real personality.
Air Jordan VI “Gatorade”
Any serious sneakerhead will know that Michael Jordan’s move to Gatorade helped the company achieve widespread success. Having signed with the drinks company in 1991, a deal that saw him pulled away from Coca-Cola, the “Be Like Mike” ad campaign was one of the most memorable in sports history. During the 2018 holiday season, Jordan Brand decided that it was time to pay homage to Gatorade, making a special edition Air Jordan 6.
The “Gatorade” Air Jordan 6 is a subtle remix on the “Carmine” Air Jordan 6 that MJ wore in those ’90s commercials. A white leather base is contrasted by orange and green colour pops on the midsection, ankle and collar. Subtle details include the use of a green Jumpman on the tongue, as well as a green lace lock. As you can probably imagine, the combination of the story and a brand new colourway made the Gatorade 6s a roaring success. Westbrook’s Jordan outfit is even matched with the hoodie that went in the collection too!
Air Jordan 1 “Legends of the Summer”
You’ll have to excuse the quality of the photo here but iPhone cameras weren’t as good as they are now back in 2014. In 2013, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake embarked on the Legends of the Summer tour, hitting multiple cities across the US. As an ardent Jordan collector, Timberlake had a few exclusives made for when he hit the stage. Not one to keep them all to himself, Timberlake organised scavenger hunts for his Air Jordan 1s that came with a set of tickets. Only a lucky few people got their hands on them with exact pairs unknown.
Two different versions of the Air Jordan 1 “LOTS” sneaker were made, one of which Russell Westbrook can be seen wearing. This premium take on the Air Jordan 1 features a combination of suede, leather and faux snakeskin. The bright red AJ1 uses a glossy snakeskin on the heel, as well as a glossy line across the midsole. On the tongue, a white Jumpman patch can be seen, replacing the traditional “Nike Air.” This is one pair that you’ll most likely never see in public so get used to seeing them on a screen!
Levi’s x Air Jordan 4 “Blue Denim”
Did someone say denim? This is probably one of the craziest outfits that Russell Westbrook has worn, but there is some slight method in the madness. As many of you will know, Levi’s and Jordan Brand teamed up in 2019 to create one a number of denim-clad Air Jordan 4s. Featuring the denim that Levi’s is world-famous for, the AJ4s was a seriously popular sneaker and even dropped in three colourways: Blue, White and Black. That’s right, denim Jordans.
Seen wearing the blue denim pair from the Levi’s x Air Jordan 4 collab, Russell Westbrook decided to match his whole outfit with his shoes; literally. A tongue tag reminiscent of the labels found in the back of Levi’s jeans replaces the traditional “Flight” version on regular AJ4s. Furthermore, a crisp white midsole is contrasted with a gum sole, making for one of the only denim sneakers we would ever consider wearing. Wearing denim sneakers is tough but hey, in for a penny, in for a pound, right?
Off-White™ x Nike Blazer OG
Virgil Abloh and Nike have cooked up some of the rarest sneakers on the planet for the past three years. Since the introduction of “The Ten” in 2017, the two have always kept things fresh with their designs. Abloh, who’s love of deconstructionism can be seen throughout his collabs, has become one of the most respected designers in the world. Whilst there have been three Off-White™ x Nike Blazer collaborations, the OG is still the best.
Taking a simple combination of suede, canvas and nylon, Virgil Abloh’s take on the Nike Blazer is brilliant. Large, oversized Swooshes extend across the midsection and merge into the midsole. Text features across the medial side and shoelaces, whilst the heel tab bears the style code. A zip tie comes attached to the laces and the lace options of white, black, orange and green all work perfectly. This is a serious sneaker for any collector. Fortunately, Russell Westbrook is just that.
Air Jordan X “MVP PE”
In 2017, Russell Westbrook was named the Most Valuable Player in the NBA. Although it may have taken nine years to get his hands on the title, it was easy to see why he won. After Kevin Durant left the OKC Thunder, it was up to Westbrook to step up. He would lead the team to the playoffs, carrying them for almost the entire season and missing out on making it to the finals. It was arguably one of the defining years of Westbrook’s career as he broke multiple records both personal and in the league.
To celebrate, Jordan Brand made a number of exclusives for Russell Westbrook to commemorate the occasion. Seen above in this bright orange Air Jordan 10, Westbrook’s PE was quick to catch eyes on and off the court. Constructed using suede and leather, the sneakers feature contrasting blue detailing reminiscent of the OKC Thunder uniform. With these likely being one of the only pairs on the planet, we had to include them on this list.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Russell Westbrook knows only too well the cultural importance of the Vans Sk8-Hi. First debuted in 1978, the Sk8-Hi was quick to capitalise on the booming popularity of skate culture in California. With its high top cut, durable suede and canvas construction and grippy sole unit, it was the perfect sneaker to skate in.
Over the past 52 years, the Sk8-Hi has transformed from a skate shoe into an icon in the world of footwear. Russell Westbrook has always shown love for Vans, rocking a number of pairs over the years. Pictured above in the simple OG colourway of the Sk8-Hi, it doesn’t get much simpler than this. Whilst you may be wondering, why is a Jordan Brand athlete wearing Vans? It doesn’t matter.
Off-White™ x Air Jordan 1 NRG
When rumours began circulating that Virgil Abloh and Nike were teaming up for more sneakers after The Ten, people got excited. Whilst there was no images online, reports suggested that another Air Jordan 1 was on the way. Unveiled during the Off-White™ Paris Fashion Week show, the simple white take was a subtle update to the hyped sneaker. As a member of the Jordan Brand family, it didn’t take long for Russell Westbrook to get his pair.
Constructed in a plain white suede and mesh, the Off-White™ x Air Jordan 1 NRG is a masterpiece. The deconstructed sneaker features exposed foam on the ankle as well as a semi-attached Swoosh. Familiar details such as text on the medial side and shoelaces is matched on the midsole. As the second Off-White™ x Air Jordan 1 to release, this is a great sneaker. In fact, this was supposed to be the first pair to release but Virgil Abloh decided on the “Chicago” colourway later in the design process. Cool, right?
Jordan Why Not Zer0.1
Although this may not be the most hyped shoe on this list, it is one of the best moments for Russell Westbrook. Getting your own signature shoe is the mark of greatness for any NBA player. In 2018, Westbrook finally got that opportunity with Jordan Brand, debuting the Why Not Zer0.1. The sneaker was the first Russell Westbrook signature shoe, playing on his experience’s growing up. So much so that he was inspired by his childhood bedroom. In Jordan Brand’s words:
“Continuing the tradition of personal storytelling through colourways, the Why Not Zer0.1 was inspired by Westbrook’s bedroom walls, which were heavily plastered with posters of sport icons when he was growing up. The pastiche of images on each shoe is made up of images of Michael Jordan and Westbrook.”
It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
So, guys, that concludes this round up of Russell Westbrook’s best shoes! We hope that you enjoyed it and saw some pairs that you might not expect. As one of the most important athletes for Jordan Brand, Westbrook will always have an affinity for Jordan sneakers. With Westbrook’s sneakers only getting better as time goes by, we can’t wait to see what he’s got in store for us. As the upcoming NBA season approaches, we already know Westbrook’s going to come with heat!