New Balance is known for cooking up high-quality footwear for the most decorated athletes in the world, but up until recently, basketball sneakers were off the menu. It wasn’t until the signing of NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard in 2018 that the brand began to reassimilate into the hoops landscape.
The pairing proved to be a match made in heaven, with Kawhi’s stoic demeanor seamlessly matching the simple, understated aesthetics of the New Balance image. During his first season with the brand, Kawhi played in the innovative New Balance OMN1S – the first basketball model released by the brand since its return to basketball – and it wasn’t long until rumors of a signature sneaker began to circulate.
Those rumors were confirmed earlier this year when Kawhi took to the court in the All-Star Game sporting a brand-new silhouette. The eponymous New Balance Kawhi 1 had made its debut, boasting cutting-edge technology specifically designed for Kawhi’s positionless style of play. Among the laundry list of features are energy-returning FuelCell midsoles, full-length performance plates, and Kinetic Stitch–engineered uppers.
On the court, Kawhi Leonard is cold and calculated – ruthless, even – but on the sidelines, it’s a different story. The self-proclaimed “fun guy” recently enjoyed a candy-coated collaboration with “Jolly Ranchers” on his signature model, and he’s gearing up for another playful release this holiday season.
Dubbed “Kawhi Christmas,” this festive colorway takes inspiration from the mythical yeti, a cold-weather creature with an insatiable appitite and massive claws – sound familiar? This sneaker comes clad in a light-blue mesh upper with darker, synthetic “Frost Blue” overlays. That same hue appears on the heel counters, as well as on the abstract-patterned, side-panel underlays.
In the spirit of the season, tongues are decorated with yeti–inspired branding – which depicts a creature’s claw clutching a frost-ridden basketball. Additional branding includes a list of Kawhi’s NBA accolades on the tongues, “NB” branding on the heel counters, and Kawhi’s signature on the heel collars.
Moving down the sneaker, you’ll find light-silver FuelCell midsoles and icy, translucent “Frost Blue” outsoles. Lastly, padded insoles feature basketball-themed Christmas trees and “Santa Klaws” lettering in a nod to Kawhi’s moniker, “The Klaw.”
This Christmas-ready colorway of the New Balance Kawhi 1 is set to release December 15th on JimmyJazz.com for a retail price of $160 – don’t be late. Decorate these festive sneakers with must-have apparel from our Holiday Gift Guide.