Let's face it: When it comes to nationalism, we Filipinos tend to be pretty indulgent—if not conceited. The fact that Francis M Clothing kiosks still exist is evidence enough. We're suckers for anything with our name on it, including clothes and accessories that exude "Pinoy Pride."
Sports brands know this; hence the release of several Pinoy-inspired kicks in the past, each a tribute to our beloved motherland. They knew we'd all fall head over heels for them. But hey, that's who we are—and it's not as if they're aesthetically unpleasant in the first place. In fact, more than being nationalistic novelty items, they actually look pretty good!
Here, we picked the best of 'em...
ZOOM KOBE 8 'PHILIPPINES' PACK
While there had already been Philippines-inspired colorways before it, the Kobe 8 PH Pack was a big shout out to local basketball. To celebrate the opening of UAAP Season 76, Nike launched a pack of four Kobe 8 colorways (red, silver, blue, and green), each with a jagged graphic printed on the sole.
Image via Kicksdeals.com
While there isn't an outright ascription on the design of the shoe dedicated to the Philippines, all four colorways caused a stir when sneakerheads in the States thought that the pack would remain a Philippine-exclusive release. It eventually landed stateside, though, resulting in many happy American Kobe fans.
ZOOM KOBE 9 EM 'PHILIPPINES'
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more elaborate sneaker tribute to our country than the Zoom Kobe 9 'Philippines.' Back in May last year, Nike dropped a Kobe 9 that we were all sure to go crazy for. It wasn't just the fact that this was a Kobe shoe—it was also littered with references to local stuff, from liga games to jeepneys.
Image via Sneakernews.com
The blue-and-red color scheme takes cues from brightly painted town courts while the pattern on the engineered mesh was inspired by the banig. Chrome accents on the shoe take inspiration from the metal monstrosities that we call public transportation (jeeps) and its most famous design element, the outsole, contains a tsinelas graphic. All these make this particular shoe a collector's item for every Filipino sneakerhead.
AIR FORCE 1 HIGH LE 'DOIN' IT IN THE PARK'
From the front, this shoe may look like a fairly ordinary pair of white-on-white uptowns, but they're actually a commemorative piece. Back in 2012, Bobbito Garcia, a renowned DJ progenitor of sneaker culture (who, ironically, is Puerto Rican, not Filipino), came out with a documentary called Doin' It in The Park. The film celebrated the basketball scene in New York City, and inevitably touched on sneaker culture as well.
Image via Doinitinthepark.com
To commemorate his documentary, Bobbito teamed up with Nike Philippines to create a classic white Air Force One High with an off-white swoosh and a clear gel outsole. But it's most important identifying mark is the three-stars-and-a-sun heel emblem. It's a subtle touch that sets the shoe apart from the louder flag-waving sneakers on this list.
GROSBY 'BLACK SUPERMAN'
Image via Lazada.com.ph
Grosby played such a big role in the PBA in the '80s that the Australian brand decided to put out a signature sneaker for Billy Ray Bates, a legendary import who played for the Crispa Redmanizers and Ginebra San Miguel. While Grosby is an Australian brand and Billy Ray Bates is an American import, the connection was made in the Philippines, making the "Black Superman" the first signature shoe in the PBA.
HYPERDUNK 2009 'PHILIPPINES'
Image via Freshnessmag.com
Here's a pair a lot of people might recognize: the Hyperdunk 2009 in stark blue, red, and yellow. Back in '09, it hit almost every major retailer and outlet in Metro Manila, and were on people's feet in no time. Aside from its performance aspect, the colors (which took no discretion in expressing Filipino pride) made these shoes a hit locally.
HYPERIZE 2009 ASIA PACK: PHILIPPINES
In 2009, Nike also released the Hyperize's Asia pack, which consisted of four pairs to celebrate four different countries: Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and the Philippines; as well as a gold championship colorway.
Image via Freshnessmag.com
The Hong Kong colorway was done up in black and white to commemorate their MacPherson Stadium. China's was done in white and silver, with streaks to symbolize the Beijing Olympics Bird's Nest Stadium. Taiwan's was white and blue to match their team's on-court uniforms, and ours (unsurprisingly) was red, blue, white, and yellow. The reference is obvious, but the overall look was much more subtle than the one on the Hyperdunk of the same year.
AIR FORCE 1 'INSIDE OUT PRIORITY'
Known to many as the "Jose Rizal" Air Force Ones (and to some clueless members of international sneaker communities as the "Philippino" Air Force Ones), the "Inside Out Priority" uptowns are the granddaddy of Filipino-themed sneakers.
Image via Hoo.ph
Released in 2006 and famously worn by Francis Magalona, these are about as collectible as it gets for anyone on the lookout for #PinoyPride kicks. Plus, the super-premium suede upper and the brown leather outsole make it even more unique. It's the kind of shoe you'd clear some closet space for.
EVERY MANNY PACQUIAO SHOE EVER
Pacquiao is the most famous Filipino in the world, and the fact that he's a Nike-endorsed athlete means signature shoes for years. Almost every year since he signed on, Pac-Man got to put his name on a pair of kicks—and each of them necessarily referenced the Philippines.
GIF via Sneakernews.com
Among the more noteworthy Pacquiao shoes are the Trainer SC and the Trainer 1 'Lights Out.' The SCs showed perhaps the most aesthetically impressive use of our flag's colors, while the 'Lights Out' had some pretty sick glow-in-the-dark haribon detailing.