nyc marathon shoes

The New York City Marathon isn't just a chance for some of the best runners to showcase their talents in one of the greatest cities in the world, it's also a chance for running footwear brands to flex their creative muscles by paying tribute to the host city with custom NYC-inspired sneakers.

Over the years, brands have gone all out (some more than others) in their efforts to best represent New York City with a shoe, and the results have been quite impressive. Now, with the 2013 edition of the iconic race just days away, we take a look back at some of the best NYC Marathon edition running shoes of all time.

Gurvinder Singh Gandu is a New York City-based writer and wear-tester for Sneaker Report, and contributor to Complex Media. Follow him on Twitter @GurvinderSG for the latest in performance footwear and gear.

RELATED: 10 Reasons to Never Run a Marathon, Ever
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Skechers GoMeb NYC

Skechers GoMeb NYC

Year: 2013

Surprised to see a Skechers shoe on this list? Well don't be. For the past couple of years, American long distance runner Meb Keflezighi has been competing in a pair of Skeckers GoRun Speed running shoes, and this year at the New York City Marathon will be no different. For his latest marathon, Skechers has rolled out a limited edition GoMeb racing flat that is a slight update to last year's GoRun Speed model. Along with a custom last built specifically for Meb's narrow feet, the shoe features gold, gray and black color palette designed to match his race day kit.

New Balance 990v2 NYC

New Balance 990v3 NYC

Year: 2012

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, last year's New York City Marathon never happened. But that didn't stop New Balance from releasing a Red/Gold silhouette of the 990v3 inspired by the Big Apple. And despite not having the same custom look as some of the other NYC edition running shoes, the 990v3 NYC was still an instant hit with the Sneaker Report crew at last year's expo.

adiads city marathon pt New York

adidas City Marathon PT "New York"

Year: 2013

This shoe may look like it's from the '80s (and technically that's when it was designed), but in reality it was released just this year as part of adidas' City Marathon collection. Along with its classic design and high tech features like Dellinger Web technology, which softens the blow of each step/stride and then springboards you forward, the adidas City Marathon PT "New York" pays homage to NYC's gritty yet timeless vibe.

Asics Gel Kayano 20 NYC

Asics Gel-Kayano 20 NYC

Year: 2013

If we didn't know any better we'd think the Gel-Kayano 20 NYC was actually inspired by the Seattle Marathon given that it bares resemblance to Seahawks colors, but this shoe is in fact designed for the great five borough race. Great effort by Asics, but would have liked to see some more NYC-themed detailing across the shoe aside from the tiny ING New York City Marathon logo. Regardless, this one will fit right in with the bright lights of Times Square.

adidas adizero boston 3 nyc

adidas adizero Boston 3 "NYC"

Year: 2011

Ahead of the 2011 New York City Marathon, adidas rolled out the NYC Marathon Pack inspired by nine-time marathon champion Grete Waitz. And while the pack featured three different Three Stripes models, the adiZero Boston 3 NYC was the most notable thanks to its unique upper print, which featured various marathon times.

Nike Lunarglide 3 City Pack

Nike LunarGlide+ 3 City Pack

Year: 2011

Some of the greatest cities in the world were honored with their own custom version of the Nike LunarGlide+ 3 in 2011, and this included perhaps the greatest city of them all: New York. The LunarGlide+ 3 NYC featured a clean black base color with a yellow Lunarlon sole for a pop of color. The shoe also featured a light blue printed tongue designed by Brooklyn-based artist Mike Perry, with "NYC" etched on it for a personalized look.

Asics Gel Nimbus 15 NYC

Asics Gel-Nimbus 15 NYC

Year: 2013

Along with the Gel-Kayano 20 NYC, the Gel-Nimbus 15 NYC is the second shoe rolled out by Asics ahead of the 2013 New York City Marathon. And while they're both good-looking shoes, the Gel-Nimbus NYC, in particular, has more of a classic NYC vibe. The shoe feautures a similar color scheme as its Gel-Kayano counterpart, except it's not quite as loud. The shoe also features "NYC" printed on one side of the heel counter and "2013" on the other.

adidas Primeknit New York Marathon

adidas Primeknit "New York Marathon"

Year: 2012

The Primeknit never made it to the states, but that didn't stop adidas from releasing a special "New York Marathon" version of the knitted shoe in 2012. While it lacked the usual NYC detailing, the shoe featured a slick Black/Blue color combo that worked on all levels. Even Lady Liberty would be down to rock these all day long. We're sure of it.

New Balance 890v4 NYC

New Balance 890v4 NYC

Year: 2013

Manhattan generally gets most of the love when it comes to New York City Marathon themed running shoes, but for the 890v4 NYC, New Balance turned to the borough of Brooklyn for some inspiration. The shoe features a graffiti-type print inspired by Brooklyn art, and features a silhouette of the NYC skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge along the collar and toe cap. The 890v4 NYC also features the names of Brookyn's most popular neighborhoods etched along the lacing.

Asics GT-2000 NYC

Asics GT-2000 NYC

Year: 2012

A limited edition "NYC" run of the popular GT-2000 was spotted at last year's marathon expo, and while the race never happened, Asics found a way to somewhat ease the pain by creating such a dope shoe.

New Balance 860 Taxi Edition

New Balance 860 Taxi Edition

Year: 2011

Nothing screams New York City louder than yellow taxi cabs. So for the 2011 NYC Marathon, New Balance rolled out a yellow checkered homage to the city that's always on the go and never sleeps. The NB 860 Taxi Edition gets full marks for creativity and originality. Well done NB, well done.

New Balance 990v3 NYC

New Balance 990v3 NYC

Year: 2013

Remember that all-red 990v3 New Balance dropped ahead of last year's marathon? Well this year the brand went with a slightly different look for the 990v3 NYC, ditching the Red and Gold for a Blue/Orange color scheme that any Knicks fan would approve of.

Asics Gel Kayano 19 NYC

Asics Gel-Kayano 19 NYC

Year: 2012

Of all the NYC-themed Asics Gel-Kayano's, the 19 is by far our favorite, and the one that embodies the big city the most.

New Balance 860v3 NYC

New Balance 860v3 NYC

Year: 2012

When it comes to honoring the New York City Marathon with special edition footwear, New Balance is probably the one brand that goes all out in hopes of representing the city and its people. Time and time again NB has created some impressive NYC-themed masterpieces, none of which are better than last year's 860v3 NYC.

Saucony Kinvara 4 NYC Viziglo

Saucony Kinvara 4 Viziglo NYC

Year: 2013

Nothing screams bright lights, big city quite like the Saucony Kinvara 4 Viziglo NYC. Even though the Kinvara 4 has only been out for a couple of months, Saucony didn't waste any time giving the shoe the Gotham treatment with a special reflective Viziglo upper complete with "New York" printed all over it.

Gurvinder Singh Gandu is a New York City-based writer and wear-tester for Sneaker Report, and contributor to Complex Media. Follow him on Twitter @GurvinderSG for the latest in performance footwear and gear.

RELATED: 10 Reasons to Never Run a Marathon, Ever
RELATED: GALLERY: The 15 Best Sneakers from the NYC Marathon Expo