I remember writing this post a year ago and it felt like the sneaker game could not get any crazier. Well, guess what, it has. Sneakers that are widely available are now being camped out for, just showing how much bigger this market has gotten and how many more people have gotten involved. It feels like after its 2015 launch, Kanye West’s YEEZY line has still very much dominated the market, along with adidas’ NMD having also been one of the most celebrated shoes of the past 12 months. Nike has followed up with an actually working Air Mag and the Hyper Adapt, next to some other exciting innovative highlights.
We continue to see collaborations on a weekly basis. I remember our weekly weekend sneaker release post having 7-10 shoes in it. Now having more than 20 releases each week has almost become the norm. Where this is heading I don’t know. How sneaker fans can afford this many releases I also don’t know. But for now I do not see this market slowing down in any way. Let’s see what 2017 has in it for us. We are ready!
Before heading into 2017, we continue with our tradition of highlighting our personal top 10 sneakers of the year. The difference here with your usual top sneaker list is, that it is not about showing off the most hyped pairs of sneakers of the past 12 months, but to rather show the shoes that we actually wore most, the shoes that we picked out of our closets the most in the last year. A true top 10 so to speak! Here we go.
10. UNITED ARROWS & SONS x adidas Originals Master
The good people from UNITED ARROWS & SONS sent these over and I fell in love with them right away. Perfect shape, simple details, yet different. The Japanese always impress with their eye for details, while always paying tribute to a brand and its design heritage in the right way. Bravo!
9. BAPE x UNDFTD x adidas Campus 80s
This one released along with the same sneaker in a black version. I got myself both at the time of the release and wore the black version at the time for a few months. Just this summer I got this fresh out of the box and it has the perfect amount of details on a very clean version of the Campus 80s.
8. New Balance 990 Black
As you know, I like light sneakers, but sometimes you just need something else and this 990 became a favorite for me this year. Really clean, super comfortable and the perfect shoe to go with a nice pair of dark wool pants.
7. adidas Gazelle
A favorite of mine in the adidas archive. The Neighborhood Japan collaboration from a decade ago is still one of my favorite sneakers of all time. Here a nice premium version in a light grey.
6. ACRONYM x Nike Air Presto Mid
We’ve written about ACRONYM since the first day of Highsnobiety and have always been fans of the highly technical, yet minimal design of the Berlin based brand. Their Air Force 1 was interesting, the Nike Air Presto Mid is genius. Just an all-round beautiful design with incredible details, comfort and in general the perfect translation of the outerwear brand into a sneaker.
5. Converse Chuck Taylor 70s
Last year the COMME des GARCONS version was in my top 10. I have to admit, while I still love that one, the CdG PLAY logo is for my taste a little too big on the latest version and therefore I opted this year for the logo-less version of the sneaker. I cannot imagine a more beautiful Converse sneaker. Canvas, comfortable, no distractions and light-colored.
4. New Balance 990 Grey
The 990 continued to be one of my go to sneakers in 2016. As you might have noticed, I am pretty loyal to the classics. The chunky design and especially the extreme comfort keep bringing me back to this iconic New Balance sneaker.
3. Highsnobiety x adidas UltraBoost
One of my favorite collaborative projects that we have worked on to date, I am still excited like a little kid when I wear our own UltraBoost. To be honest, we got lucky with the timing. When we started working on this one, the UltraBoost was not nearly as popular, but we knew it was an instant winner. Style, design and comfort in perfect balance and I love the Primeknit Wool upper and leather cage. A truly timeless sneaker for me.
2. Maison Margiela Replica Trainer
As you must have noticed from my posts from the previous years, I love light colored sneakers. As such the classic Margiela military trainer is one of my favorites of all time. Much like with the Common Projects BBall, I love the combination of the light leather upper and the gum sole here.
1. Common Projects BBall
The classic white version of the BBall was my number one sneaker of 2015. This year it remained as my number one, but a different version of it. I love the combination of the off-white nubuck leather and the gum outer sole. I picked these up at the Dover Street Market New York sale and it was the best deal I ever made. Clean, yet with a twist. Just perfect.
What’s your favorite sneaker of the year? Head over to our Crowns Best Sneaker of 2016 poll to cast your vote.
- Photography: Dominik Schulte / Highsnobiety.com