Sneakers
From the ground up

This summer’s been the hottest on record, not only in terms of the mercury, but also when it comes to the sheer wealth of dope drops that some of our favorite brands have managed to squeeze in. That they’ve managed to do it within the space of three months is pretty impressive. So as September marks the official end of summer, we thought it appropriate to pause and reflect on what has been a heavy few months in terms of streetwear and call out some of our favorites.

As such, 2016 marks the inaugural Summer Crowns, presented by Highsnobiety in partnership with Old Spice. Over the coming days, we’ll present a shortlist of what our editorial team believes have been the best summer sneaker drops, the dopest collection intended for this season (that being Spring/Summer 2016 (SS16)), and with a final special round up to see who was the most stylish and influential person in the Highsnobiety world in summer ’16. And that’s where you come in. We want to know what you guys think by voting for your winner for the Highsnobiety x Old Spice Summer Crowns.

So first up, sneakers. Summer 2016 was a big season for the big brands, with Nike continuing to experiment, Jordan brand opening its archives and reviving an icon, all while Mr. West continued to cause mild levels of sneaker hysteria, and the Three Stripes collaborated with British street (read: skate) label of the moment, Palace, on a very casual pair of trainers.

Read on for our shortlist and remember to vote for your favorite using our voting tool at the bottom of this shortlist. Voting closing in 7 days, with the 2016 Summer Crown for sneakers awarded September 30.

adidas originals YEEZY 750 Boost “Grey/Gum”

I mean it’s fairly obvious, we know, but any sneaker round up of the summer couldn’t not include one of the latest silhouettes between the prolific Kanye West and adidas. Released right at the start of summer on June 11, the initial images suggested the semi-translucent gum sole could actually glow in the dark (because, who doesn’t want their sole units full of surprises). After we managed to get our hands on a pair, we could confirm this was actually true. The sneakers sold out in 60 seconds, Daniel ‘the real plug’ Son copped most of them, Allen Kuo managed to neatly stack his, while Brad Hall liked how they smelled.

adidas Palace Pro Primeknit

adidas continued its ever popular collaboration with British streetwear skate brand du jour, Palace, with these particularly vibey iterations of the two brand’s own silhouette: the Palace Pro Sneaker. The low top Primeknit debuted in May, but was shortly followed by a drop in “Petrol Green” and the no-nonsense-named “Bright Orange” – which it was – on June 4, thereby just scraping into the summer. According to Palace, the Primeknit was hand knitted by a German granny but we were unable to confirm. But either way, the casual look of these trainers was a great fit for both brands and they looked damn fine, too. A collab made in (British) streetwear heaven.

Air Jordan 1 “Banned”

The sneaker that began the Jordan hype, this summer, the Jordan brand took a trip into its storied past back down to the beginning and an icon, releasing the iconic “bred” sneaker – and it really is iconic – for summer 2016. First debuting in 1985, the basketball shoe has passed into basketball and sneaker folklore since its was first worn on the court due to its supposed banning by the NBA. The rules stated at the time that ‘player[s] must wear shoes that not only matched their uniforms, but matched the shoes worn by their teammates.’ This wasn’t the case but legend has it that the $5,000 fine leveled by the NBA to Jordan for every game was picked up by Nike. The origins are still shrouded in mystery, with even some people questioning if this was the actual sneaker that fell foul of the rule, and not in fact the Nike Air Ship. However, one thing we can be certain of is that this was the Jordan that started it all and seeing it back on our pages with a plush re-release should only be celebrated.

NikeLab Air Footscape Woven Multicolor

To be beautiful, you have to make a statement, and that statement can either be subtle or striking. However, the unique Air Footscape Woven sneaker from Nike’s experimental wing, NikeLab, somehow manages to deftly balance the two as well as stun us into submission. This summer, the trademark woven threads were switched up in muted multi-colors of gold, navy, purple, red and bronze, while the sneaker kept its signature asymmetrical lacing system. As if that wasn’t enough it dropped in a beautiful light bone colorway, but our personal favorite was the black.

adidas Ultra Boost Uncaged

Like any well-loved product or thing, it becomes uniquely tied to the person. So with that in mind it was probably quite surprising that we didn’t see sneakerheads customizing their adidas Ultra Boosts sooner, with customizing obviously inherent in streetwear, we generally see it less on footwear. That said, the insanely popular Ultra Boosts, some two years after their initial release, we finally released sans cage this summer, in a direct response to the DIY removal of the cage overlay sneakerheads were posting up online. Well, if you want something done properly, you may as well simply do it yourself. The first drop’s colorway came in a simple and refined “Core Black”, “Clear Grey” and a crimson edition. A simple, sleek modern classic.

The winners of the inaugural Highsnobiety 2016 Summer Crowns will be announced September 30.

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