From the ground up

After Pete Williams and David Fischer, Jeff Carvalho is up third with his top sneaker rotation for 2013. As with all our “best of the year” sneaker lists, rather than getting caught up in what shoes were the most popular, the most groundbreaking or the most scarce in 2013, this list is all about the pairs Jeff enjoyed wearing most. See all 10 picks below.

ETQ Midtop Navy ETQ Amsterdam had a banner year in 2013. They came onto the scene with a strong alternative to heavy-priced Common Projects trainer offering, but did it their way using deep colors on Nubuck leathers. We worked through their Low  Top 2 in green for some time and have a backup pair in all-black and grey ready to go, but, for the moment, their Midtop Navy is giving us a helluva ride. ETQ is my pick for 2013’s “Best Emerging Footwear Brand” award (if we had one).
A.P.C. x Nike Dunk High & Nike Air Maxim 1 I’m a sucker for all-things A.P.C. x Nike. Season after season, they provide subtle yet effective takes on Nike trainers. This all-black affair that dropped near summertime is still a favorite in the winter. Easily the most rigid-fit Nike I’ve ever stepped into and far from the easiest trainer to pull off.
adidas by Raf Simons Ozweego 1 Quite possibly one of the ugliest shoe on first look, but after a while, even I have to admit to falling in love with them. Haters will hate, certainly, but step into a pair before kicking these to the side as a fad-laden attempt at a cross trainer. I flip-flopped on these for a while in the office, but when I finally broke down and took them for a walk my opinion changed. You can change your opinion on things, folks. It’s okay.
Tourne De Transmission by SWEAR Pony Hair “Rapture” Low Top The name is a mouthful but what else do you expect from England’s Tdt? One of the surprise hits of 2013, the Rapture low-top saw very limited distribution in North America but through friendly hands, I, and others, landed pairs stateside. There were few trainers like it when they first landed on the market: the black pony-hair and high leather sidewalls were forward.  Certainly one of the year’s best.
Nike Air Max EM 180 “Sunset” Part of the Nike Air Max  “Sunset Pack” that also featured the  1, 90, 95, and 97, the Nike Air Max Em 180 was the standout hit from this series alongside the 1 and 90 (the 95 and 97 simply did not work for my tastes). I put them on in May and really did not take them off until around October. One of the rare bright, color-heavy trainers I wore in 2013.

Top 10 Sneakers I Wore in 2013 - Jeff Carvalho

Nike Air Max 180 Size? “Urban Safari” No other retailer did as much to push the legacy of the Air Max line as Size?. With doors across the UK (as well as Paris, France) Size? messaged to the masses their unique viewpoint and colorways on the legendary line. By far, my favorite of the heap was the Air Max 180 in Storm Grey/Poison Green/Hyper Blue/Digital Pink, part of their “Urban Safari” mission. My friends on Instagram loved it too.

New Balance 998 “American Renegade – Made in the U.S.A. On a cold day in September, I needed to add a hint of color to an overall black look for a meeting.  I turned to the glorious NB 998 in red, part of the NB “American Renegade” pack. They are hands down the most comfortable trainer I put on in 2013 as well as being one of the most versatile. The ride is nice, the look is clean and best of all, they’re widely available to all and far from limited. I like.
Nike Solarsoft Moccasin I bought these on Zappos for $62. They were the best money I spent all year. The Solarsoft Mocassin is an underrated player that would have had its shining moment had the Rosche Run not taken all of the in-line retail glory. Worn sock-less, the Solarsoft was a great summer addition that worked on the hottest of days, but not so well in wet weather. Their construction could have been better (mine have yet to distress, though others say they wear fast), but for the price, they’re made for beating.
adidas Originals by Ransom Army Trail Runner Woah! This Ransom-edition adidas trail runner may be a carryover from 2012 but it deserves shine. While not all the silhouettes from the Ransom collection worked for me, these did. So much so, that I wore them more in 2013 than in 2012. That’s fine of course since dates don’t really fucking matter.. The Army green hits on the toe box and heel counter did the trick.
adidas Snowboarding Jake Blauvelt Boot Rider Jake Blauvelt needed an off-mountain shoe to keep his toes dry while being a common man. Thankfully for us, adidas did him the solid of coming up with this hybrid hike/mountaineering/high-top that not only keeps the feet warm in winter, but also ride like a normal trainer. This, my friends, is the hidden gem in winter sneaker wear; I have a pair on as I type this.

Managing Director N.A.

Jeff Carvalho is Managing Director for Highsnobiety N.A. in New York City. He holds a journalism degree from Northeastern University.

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