Runners love to commemorate their racing accomplishments. (Can you think of a group of people that takes the cliché “been there, done that, got the T-shirt” more literally than runners do?) Shoe companies eventually caught on, and have increasingly started memorializing big races on shoes, as well—often with fun and wildly creative designs on these limited-edition treatments of their current lines.
The trend appears to have started way back in 1996, when adidas, which has sponsored the Boston Marathon since 1992, released the SL96 shoe with a Boston Athletic Association logo and a blue and gold colorway. Other companies eventually followed suit, and these days you can find them for sale at marathon expos and online ahead of the race for the Boston, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles marathons. Only a race’s official sponsors can display the race’s logo, but that doesn’t stop every other shoe brand from getting truly creative and reflecting the spirit of the race, the city or the region on the insides, outsides and outsoles of its shoes.
Here’s a sampling of 2017’s special-edition releases ahead of the Boston Marathon.