We all like a little flair in our characters. You don’t want to spend an entire game staring at a bland character. The thing is, it takes a lot to make a character design great. Not just a great detailed outfit, but something that looks practical in-game, fun and instantly recognizable.
For some characters, you don’t even need a full outfit for the design to work. Sure, it’s easier to pull off an entire outfit made up of multiple pieces, but sometimes all you need is one little thing. Something like shoes! They protect your feet and the best ones can make a character or a game instantly known.
seven The Legend of Zelda — Pegasus Boots
The Legend of Zelda is a household name in gaming, forming many of the industry’s oldest standards. The Zelda series has always been famous for its puzzles and temples which are great (and some a little more infamous), even if the gadgets that make them up are just as important.
Everyone knows the grappling hook, the bombs and the boomerang, essential tools in many of Link’s adventures. However, sometimes there’s a passage you just can’t get through, and that’s where the Pegasus Boots come in! Known as Hover Boots in Ocarina of Time, they appear in many entries to save Link from the dark abyss of a dungeon, complete with tiny wings that keep him afloat.
6 Rachet & Clank — Gravity Boots
Classics of the Playstation generation, the Ratchet and Clank series are much-loved, colorful and destructive in such a whimsical way. Every game is full of weapons that shoot magma to transform your enemies, but there’s no shortage of tactical gadgets either.
Ratchet and Clank is very fond of environmental puzzles, taking you through areas and defying gravity. One of the most iconic of these is the Gravity Boots. There are a whole bunch of different boots in the wide series with similar effects, but the Gravity Boots, which allow you to walk on any supported surface from a variety of wild angles, are perhaps the best known.
5 Pokémon — Running Shoes
Did you know that Pokemon is the biggest media franchise in the world? It’s kind of weird to think about when you’re only looking at the mainline games, but Pokemon is in just about every aspect of life. It was actually quite difficult to search for “Pokémon shoes” for this article, for example. But Pokemon has iconic shoes!
Do you remember when you were a child and you came really wanted to go for a run but your parents said you didn’t have your running shoes? Any player of Pokemon 2D games knows this well. You can’t have a real Pokemon adventure without first running shoes to help you speed through tall grass.
4 Jet Set Radio — Skates
Before becoming Twitter’s main character and a die-hard Family Guy fan, Hideki Naganuma was the famed composer behind Jet Set Radio, a game that popularized cel-shaded gaming. It had such beautiful artistic expression, and so few games since have come close to the exact vibe it had.
Jet Set Radio’s gameplay is inspired by the graffiti culture of the late 1990s, scoring points and battling rival gangs while gliding on your rollerblades. They’re definitely not your average shoe type, but they’re not your average game either, and an exception can be made for such a cool experience.
3 Bayonetta – Gun Heels
There is a lot to be said for Bayonetta. There’s the thrilling and stylish combat, the upbeat jazz music, and the humorous touch of angels being the game’s true antagonists. Bayonetta commits sacrilege on a daily basis, to be honest. That said, the most iconic part of it all is the witch herself, her intense design to be precise.
Although she has two wonderful and different styles between each game, there are still common elements. The butterfly-winged glasses, the clothes made from her own hair, and of course, the high heels made from guns. While her heels would remain intact with the guns removed, it’s quite convenient (foot?) that she doesn’t even have to remove them to easily fire them.
2 Sora — Clown Shoes
Kingdom Hearts is a series that, on paper, doesn’t seem like it was ever meant to be made, or at least lasted this long. Yet here we are, 20 years later, and it’s still there. The worlds of Disney and Final Fantasy are in no rush to end, and that’s a good thing, too, because there’s nowhere else for Nomura to craft such wonderfully weird characters.
Kingdom Hearts’ beloved protagonist, Sora, is an adorable little idiot. He’s not the brightest in brains, but his heart really shines. He’s an electric personality, with a style to match. He’s been through quite a few redesigns across games, and even in concept, but the one thing he’s never lost are his clown shoes. They are just too big for him.
1 Sonic — His sneakers
Sonic is a bit of a funny character in gaming. Created to compete with Mario, his games have never achieved the same success and 3D games are far from universally loved. Yet all the same, Sonic is a much more beloved character than Mario, and just as recognizable, despite wearing about 99% less clothing.
Sonic’s been through a bunch of different looks across all the media he’s been in, but he’s never lost the one item of clothing he’s always had: his sneakers. Red shoes with white stripes and that little flash of Ring Yellow complete it. If there was one character that would be instantly recognized just by his feet, it would be Sonic. Which is a bit uncomfortable to write.
NEXT: The Most Iconic RPG Outfits