As you might expect, there are a lot of water cooler conversations about sneakers at Highsnobiety.
Just as much as our readers, Highsnobiety‘s editorial staff pays close attention to the laundry list of hyped sneakers that drop each and every weekend. A wide variety of tastes are represented between our New York and Berlin offices, and in fact, we’re not all wearing YEEZYs and Virgil Abloh x Nikes, like you might expect. In fact, very few of us do.
With that, we’ve rounded up an honest selection of kicks, to give you some idea of what Highsnobiety staff are actually rocking on their feet. Check out the list below, and feel free to roast us in the comments.
Ian Servantes – Social Media Editor, New York
“I don’t know if I’m getting old, or if catching Ls through a wide variety of ever-evolving sneaker drops has taken its toll, but this has been the year I’ve started to gain a greater appreciation for general releases. And no GR sneaker has stood out as much as the adidas Originals AF 1.3 PK in black. Inspired by Germany’s elite tactical police unit, the GSG9, the boot is surprisingly comfortable whether you’re on a hike or just on the city streets. And as thin and cozy as the Primeknit upper is, it’s absurdly warm and waterproof (although I wouldn’t recommend it for the snow or in literal freezing temperatures). Sure, other sneakers may look cooler, but this one is perfect for living a real life and forgetting what’s even on your feet.”
Naina Kamath, Social Media Editor, Berlin
“Slicker than an oil spill” is the only way to describe these babies. Despite owning a pair of ovaries, I’m not one to opt for the traditional “girly” pink or purple sneakers. These, however, are the exception: they change color when you move your foot around and for someone as easily pleased as me, they’re A+ kick game. It’s also important to note that no amount of unwanted liquid in clubs and/or inclement weather causes them any damage – sh*t slips right off.”
Fabian Gorsler, Staff Writer, Berlin
“The adidas Nemeziz Tango 17+ is a triple black, football-inspired, sock-like sneaker that makes me feel like an urban ninja when I wear them. They’re the definition of “when you have a ninja battle at 3 but need to score a bicycle kick at 4.” The Nemeziz fuses both my passions in football and sneakers which is why they’re my favorite shoe of the year by a pretty wide margin.”
George Ocampo, Creative Services, New York
“Those that know me know the KAWS x Jordan IV just has my name all over it. Jordan IVs are my most-worn silhouette, the buttery grey suede is eye-catching but will still look good with wear, the stitching and heel tabs are amazingly quiet details, and in case that wasn’t enough, THEY GLOW IN THE DARK. I also hold a bit of extra sentiment for these after a freezing cold shoot with my homies at the KAWS court (shouts to Dus, Seb & Dana). Though we got there at the crack of dawn hoping for an empty court, we still had to work around a handful of committed locals practicing Qigong, but it all worked out. Sneakers have always been important to me not just because of the product itself, but also the people and experiences that deepen their meaning to me, making this pair just a little more special.”
Nigel Minani, Commerce Content Curator, Berlin
“The NikeLab x Arthur Huang Air Max 1 Royal is the single best sneaker release this year, in my opinion. It’s the first worthy update of the Air Max 1 silhouette since its introduction, and the first time Nike has used Flyknit properly to update an already existing silhouette. The leather is smooth as hell, and the details are just crazy (peep the red bottom insole, if you have a pair). Arthur Huang even designed a special box made from recycled plastic for this very special 30th-anniversary pair. On one hand I am very happy that basically everyone slept on them and I could easily score two pairs for retail, only one week after the initial release, but on the other hand I’m mad that it didn’t get the attention and recognition it deserves.”
Graeme Campbell, Senior Staff Writer, Berlin
“When Gary Warnett featured on our Highsnobiety Conversations podcast earlier this year, he spoke of how “clean” in sneakerhead parlance has really come to mean “boring” and “safe.” Well, these joints are about the opposite of “clean” as one can get, and so it comes as no surprise that Gary was involved with the project.
The shoe was inspired by a trip Skepta took to Morocco, which also informed the visuals for his debut Mains collection. Before these dropped, the Air Max 97 felt slightly washed and overplayed, but how could you not fall in love with that jacquard pattern and iridescent colorway? In an age where unimaginative sneaker collabs are ten-a-penny, this design is pure, balls-out maximalism, and the type that draws attention to your feet. If they’re still not loud enough for you, you could always pair them up with a Craig Green x Moncler inflatable outer shell.”
Alec Leach, Digital Fashion Editor, Berlin
“The chunky sneakers that were so hyped this year might have looked like they were rooted in practicality, but most of the time they were flashy, window-dressed creations that you couldn’t wear to a club, let alone anything actually strenuous. Salomon killed it this year – their Boris Bidjan Saberi collab especially – and the Snowcross were my creps of the year partly because they looked banging, but mainly cos you could actually run up a mountain in them.”
Lia McGarrigle, Staff Writer, Berlin
“My sneaker rotation consists entirely of black and white basics, but I still tend to reach for my Old Skools more than others because their neat silhouette goes with everything (as A$AP Rocky has proved time and time again).
While Old Skools might not be the most obvious choice for sneaker of the year (if we’re being honest, they were more like the sneaker of summer ’16), I think it speaks to the shoe’s longevity that it can survive being the ‘it sneaker’ for teens everywhere.”
Brian Farmer, North American Managing Editor, New York
“Nike’s OG Flyknit Trainer (2012) is still, in my opinion, the best Flyknit release we’ve seen. Now discontinued, I look forward to wearing these for years to come, and I’m of course looking forward to the sneaker’s inevitable return. It’s the perfect example of a modern Nike shoe, even five years on. While that may not seem like a long time, in 2017 it certainly is. Look around, every single brand now has a knit shoe – and that all started with the GOAT, the OG Flyknit Trainer. ”
Noah Thomas, Social Video Host, New York
“These McQueen Tech Runners match beautifully with pretty much everything in my closet. This collaborative effort between the illustrious house Alexander McQueen and the classic athletic heritage of PUMA seems to bring out such an open minded understanding of vibe and direction from both collaborators. Ive dressed them up and down, pairing them with well tailored trousers and super baggy track pants. They are the perfect pair of chunky shoes that no one else seems to have.”
Bryan Luna, Contributing Photographer, New York
“The Air Max 97 is a classic silhouette, and the speed red accents from Undefeated really appealed to me. The play on the Gucci colorway is also fun, and the shoes are cozy.”
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As this year winds down we’ve recapped its highlights to bring you the best of 2017 in fashion, sneakers, music, movies and more.