20 Years After ‘Kill Bill’, Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 Sneakers Are Making a Comeback

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Nearly 20 years ago, The Bride (Uma Thurman) showed up at a Tokyo restaurant to duke it out with Yakuza boss O-Ren Ishii. While the epic fight sequences from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. I produced instantly famous looks, from O-Ren’s snow-white kimono to her teen bodyguard Gogo’s schoolgirl uniform, no outfit has stood the test of time like The Bride’s yellow tracksuit with black stripes, and sneakers—the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66—to match. 

But the shoe’s cultural relevance predates the cult classic Tarantino film. The Bride’s entire outfit is a reference to the 1978 Bruce Lee film Game of Death. (While Thurman’s character solely wore the yellow kicks, Lee’s character also wears the red, white, and blue sneakers.) The tennis shoes make another appearance in another classic Lee film, Enter the Dragon, where they’re also worn by Jim Kelly. 

Nowadays the sporty Mexico 66s are no longer being used in bloody, no-holds-barred death matches (at least, that I know of). The sleek, tapered leather trainer with its interlocking stripes has become a favorite among models, actors, and celebrities alike. Bella Hadid wears them when making TikToks on set, Suki Waterhosue wears them to perform at festivals, and Kaia Gerber wears them at seemingly any chance she gets. 

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While The Bride’s mustard-yellow Onitsuka Tigers are the latest on the come up, the cult classic shoe has several colorways. Addison Rae favors the white body with blue and red stripes, while Hailey Bieber and have stepped out in black with white stripes. Some, like Hadid and Gerber, own several iterations of the shoe—though both have pledged allegiance to the Kill Bill yellows.

The Mexico 66 has come a long way on its road to coolness. In 2012, when Prince William visited Kate Middleton, who was being treated for severe morning sickness, at King George VII Hospital in London, TMZ declared his sneakers “sensible walking shoes,” and jested that he was already dressing like a dad. “No word if he’ll be driving a Royal minivan anytime soon,” they added. 

Below, check out the evolution of the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66. 

Jim Kelly deals a devastating elbow to his competitor’s face in Enter the Dragon. Check out that stance, surely aided by the grip on his Onitsuka Tigers.

©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

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