Over the past year we’ve seen the sneaker scene continue to evolve at break-neck pace. The current quantity of releases alone is daunting, yet we see sell out after sell out. Especially on adidas’ most forward styles, something entirely unimaginable only a couple years back. Having watched and documented the dominant “hype” culture shift from Nike Dunks a decade ago through Asics, Flyknits and Jordans to YEEZY Boosts today, it’s always interesting to see how our personal choices here at Highsnobiety evolve alongside the market.
Though I do love a good bit of hype – I wore plenty of Dunk SBs, wear Pirate Black YEEZYs today (which HS Founder David Fischer cannot believe) and am still a sucker for a cool collab – the classics from the likes of Vans, Nike and Jordan have remained lifelong favorites. As we head into 2017, we continue the tradition of highlighting our personal top 10 sneakers of the year. The following are the shoes I enjoyed wearing most in 2016.
10. Reebok Classic Leather “Perfect Split”
I wore a good amount of Reebok footwear in 2016 with the Classic Leather, Club C and Workout all in solid rotation. The navy PALACE joints were my favorite in a slew of strong Club C releases (alongside Beauty & Youth and size? editions) but the Reebok shoe I kept going back to was the black, white and gum runner from the Kendrick Lamar-backed “Perfect Split” release. Clean and under-the-radar, they proved to be a perfect day-to-day beater.
9. WTAPS x Vans Vault Authentic “Bones”
I wrote about the OG WTAPS “Bones” Sk8-Hi release from Vans Syndicate as “the one that got away” in my Top 10 Sk8-His of all time, so it goes without saying I was beyond stoked when they re-released this year and I was able to grab a pair. However, I haven’t worn them yet. That said, the olive canvas “Bones” Authentics were great too and I ended up wearing them all summer. Long Live WTAPS.
8. Nike Air Presto Ultra Flyknit
Until I got ahold of the Flyknit Presto I could never really get into any “sock” style sneaker. I honestly can’t even say why, but these ones worked for me and – in electric blue – were a bright departure from the usual black/white/grey/navy palette that dominates my footwear. Thank you Nike for bringing back the Presto in a big way in 2016.
7. Nike Air Max 95 HTM iD
2016 felt like a strong year for mid-90s Air Maxes (with returns of the 96, 97 and even 98!) but the premium HTM Air Max Day iD options were what drew me in most. Specifically Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Air Max 95 palette. Inspired in part by 2015’s Stussy AM95, I did these up “with Hiroshi” in tonal grey with a gum sole. They came out fantastic and I wore them a ton.
6. Stussy x Converse One Star 74
Stussy and Converse snuck in with one of my favorite releases right before year end. Although the blue fragment One Star was already in heavy rotation early on in 2016 (Lunarlon insoles keep them wearable day in and day out) the black suede 8-Ball pair from Stussy solidified the One Star’s place in my Top 10. A modern take on a classic that works really, really well.
5. Highsnobiety x adidas Consortium Ultra Boost
The OG adidas Ultra Boost was my favorite new shoe of 2015 and our Highsnobiety version became my go-to for comfort in 2016. The grey wool knit goes with pretty much anything and the leather cage gives the pair a nice premium touch. And of course, I’m proud to represent for the team with the HS tongue hit.
4. Raised by Wolves x OTH Vans Vault Sk8-HI MTE
Yes, this is the second collab on this list that I helped put together… but I love the Sk8-Hi, so to have my hand in the design of a pair was truly a dream come true. With weatherproof materials, taped zippers, gussets and a lugged sole, the RBW MTE is something that was made for any weather; rain, shine or snow. As such, I beat the hell of of these. They’re still going strong but luckily I have an extra pair. Thank you Vans & OTH.
3. Air Jordan IV “White/Cement”
I know it’s a bit boring/obvious to include retro Jordans in a top sneaker list yet I simply can’t stay away from classic 1s and 4s. Admittedly I didn’t pick up any Jordan 1s this year (though there were a few bangers) but the OG ’89 Cement IVs with the Nike Air on the back are absolutely timeless. Jordan forever.
2. adidas Originals NMD_R1 “Pitch Black”
The adidas NMD was, in my view, the biggest footwear success story of 2016, quickly becoming one of the most sought-after styles on the market and sustaining the demand all year long. To be fair, it’s a great shoe and it’s exciting to see a modern release cause such a frenzy. Extreme rarity aside, this black to the floor Primeknit edition is the best one yet. Honored to have received a pair.
1. Acronym x NikeLab Air Presto Mid
This is the one. Honestly one the single MUST-HAVE release this year for me, not to mention one of the more exciting roll-outs of 2016. Everything about the Acronym Presto had me truly hyped and the product did not disappoint. Comfortable, functional, works with everything (and actually my first ever ACR piece!) Really couldn’t take these off. Bravo Errolson. Now to grab the other colors…
For more of our favorite sneakers be sure to check out Highsnobiety Founder David Fischer’s selection as well.