So we have gone past the halfway point of this calendar year and so it seems like a good time to gather thoughts on sneakers so far this year and make a top twenty.
Ten just wouldn’t be enough for the sheer volume that we have had so far. I am not going to discriminate between general or limited releases, it will be my true opinion. It is near impossible to chose an order; so there won’t be one. So without further ado…
Asics x Patta Gel Respector
This collaborative effort between Amsterdam’s Patta and Asics brought the Gel Respecter some deserved limelight after the Gel Lyte V and Gel Lyte III silhouettes have been the go-to Asics collaboration base. Great materials and great colours to boot.
Vans x Dover Street Market Sk8-Hi
Dover Street Market often snag a high profile collaboration and they collaborated with Vans again this year, a slight change on a timeless Vans silhouette and design; some squares changed to that recognisable Dover Street Market logo. Tasteful.
NikeLab Sock Dart Tech Fleece
Nike are really trying to bring the Sock Dart to the forefront of their footwear line with bringing it on to the Nike ID program and giving it many colourways. But this Tech Fleece version does away with the odd pattern on the upper in favour for simplicity. I expect we will see a Sock Dart collaboration soon.
Nike Air Jordan 2 Retro ‘Just Don’
This is the second time Don C has collaborated on the Jordan 2, this time going for a cream upper that exudes luxury. It is the It comes as a full package with a pin and cap. Should do for $650.
Adidas Ultra Boost Triple White (2.0)
Ok so this is the 2.0 version of the original triple white Ultra Boost, but with a perceived downgrade in pattern comes an upgrade in Continental rubber outsoles to protect that precious boost. This sneaker looks sure to become an icon and staple for a long time due hugely to its versatility.
Adidas NMD R1 Vapour Grey PK
I picked this colourway as I believe it is the best so far this year, but the NMD line as a whole deserves huge recognition. It really has captured the attention of everyone and it is hard to do that when the sneaker market is so varied. This Vaoupr Grey colourway brings together beautiful colour and great detail on the midsole plugs and heel tab.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 750
A shoe that needs little introduction. This silhouette is not new for 2016 but this colourway is nothing short of sensational, a stone grey suede upper paired up with a gum sole that glows in the dark. Instantly recognisable and sure to cost you a small fortune on resell gets this an easy place in the top twenty.
Asics x Ronnie Fieg Gel Lyte 3 ‘Super Green’
The final piece of the Homage puzzle. Ronnie Fieg and Asics have become inseparable and for good reason; the collaborations between the two catch the attention of the entire sneaker world. This pair is subtler than many others in the Homage set but that pop of green lets you know that this is not any normal Gel Lyte 3.
Converse x Fragment Design One Star
Fragment collaborations are usually very tasteful and this is no exception. Perhaps this collaborative effort provides even too little but who knows. A cream upper with minimal Fragment branding epitomises the mindset of “If you know, you know”.
Nike Air Presto Ultra Flyknit
Nike once again do their thing; take an old silhouette, give it a flyknit makeover and put the said sneaker in to the spotlight. This sneaker has had a mixed reception but it seems now like it is here to stay; it has made its way on to NikeID and was in the recent Olympic pack.
Nike Air Jordan 1 Low ‘No Swoosh’
This sneaker makes the top twenty because it is classy and subtle. The only branding is the tonal logo on the heel tab. Plus, just look at that tumbled leather. A premium sneaker at an affordable price point is a win-win situation.
Puma By Rihanna Creeper
Girls do not always get that much love in the sneaker market; some collaborations and limited releases may only start at size four or five which is simply too big for many. But this collaboration is solely for the girls and I for one wish it came in mens sizes; premium suede and a gum sole make a great combo. Hopefully we see larger sizes soon.
Nike x Supreme Air Max 98
These sneakers leaked months in advance but that did not stop the insane hype on launch. It was one of the first times I experience the Supreme website having issues with people ordering items that had gone out of stock. Four colourways of this fantastic Nike silhouette is sure to have restored a lot of faith in Nike footwear as they have been lazy as of late. Thanks Supreme.
Adidas NMD City Sock
The NMD R_1 re-wrote the sneaker for this year but then Adidas took it even further with the City Sock. No laces, full Primeknit upper and an NMD midsole combine to create a high-end look but at normal NMD price. It might be too futuristic for some, but it shows Adidas are not just there to catch the mass market. My favourite sneaker of the year so far.
Reebok x Gosha Rubchinskiy Phase 1 Pro
Gosha Rubchinskiy has gone from strength to strength this year and their S/S17 collection shows that they do not plan to go away anytime soon. The collaboration with Reebok symbolises the brand pretty well in some ways; muted colour scheme with an unmissable Gosha logo. Iconic sneaker silhouette and perhaps a fashion mainstay too.
Adidas x Ronnie Fieg Tubular Doom
Ronnie Fieg can do more than just paint Asics in pretty colours, for this collaboration with Adidas he re-wrote the new Tubular Doom silhouette. Ronnie Fieg clearly has the Midas touch as the Tubular Doom has enjoyed mixed response apart from this version which was snapped up fast and is popular on the resell market if you can even manage to find it.
Nike Air Jordan 4 ‘White Cement’
Some form of Jordan Retro has to make the top twenty and for me it is the Air Jordan 4 ‘White Cement’. Nike often ruins some silhouettes when they retro them but this version of the Air Jordan 4 ‘White Cement’ did not receive as much anger from consumers as some might expect. A perfect summer shoe and it is a Jordan 4 after all so what is not to like?
Puma x Ronnie Fieg x Colette Disc Blaze
Now I realise I may have too many Ronnie Fieg collaborations in this list but never mind, this time he teamed up with Puma and Parisian brand Colette. In a market full of laces, the Disc Blaze really does stand out and when coloured in a gradient of white, grey and signature Colette blue, it looks outstanding.
Y-3 Pure Boost ZG Knit
The penultimate sneaker on the list is one that has brought a huge amount of attention to Y-3 from people who might not usually be interested in the long-serving collaboration between Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas. Taking design cues from the Adidas x Palace Pro and Ultra boost, an extremely sleek silhouette is created. Plus, it has the killer combination of Primeknit and Boost which is what Adidas love doing right now.
Adidas EQT Support 93/16
Last but certainly not least is the Adidas EQT Support 93/16; an Adidas EQT Support upper on the Ultra Boost midsole and outsole. It is a great example of Adidas fusing old with new and this sneaker really was under appreciated on launch. Retro style and modern technology should have made this extremely popular but for some reason it wasn’t until it hit sales. But it showcases how versatile Adidas footwear can be and so for me really is one of the best sneakers of 2016.