It’s that time of the year where we draw up year-end lists reflecting on the best of best that released in the past 12 months. This year, 2017 has been one of the best years in sneakers in recent memory. With adidas (Originals) catching up with Nike’s dominance from a cultural stand point (obviously not from a numbers point of view). This years highlights include Virgil Abloh’s “The Ten” collaboration with Nike, adidas Consortium’s Sneaker Exchange series, PUMA x The Weeknd, Kanye West and adidas Originals’ continued relationship, and to name but a few New Balance, ASICS Tiger and Reebok Classics.
So my list is a Top 10 of the best drops from 2017, starting from 10 let’s count them down –
10. ASICS Tiger GEL LYTE III Beams x Mita Sneakers “Souvenir Jacket”
BEAMS Japan and mita sneakers teamed up again to release their latest ASICS Gel Lyte III Souvenir Jacket in Navy Blue inspired by a Japanese souvenir jacket. Runners have become a staple in any sneakerheads rotation, and ASICS Gel Lyte III’s are the go-to choice for most heads. These sneakers come constructed in a premium suede upper with satin material on the toe box and panels completed with embroidered detailing on the tongues and heels. Also adding for a nice contrast are White tiger stripes on the sides.
9. Nike Air Max 97 ‘Skepta’
With Nike celebrating 20 years of the Air Max 97, it was safe to say that we were going to see a lot of retros and collaborations of the iconic sneaker. Personally out of all the 97 drops this year, these Nike Air Max 97 ‘Skepta’s were by far my favourites from all the releases (with the OG ‘Silver Bullet’ coming in very close). The storytelling, design and detailing made so much sense, added that they are dope sneakers too. The collaboration is inspired from Skepta’s home of Morocco, as well as the palette of the 1999 Air Tuned Max. The upper features an iridescent, polyutherane-coated, copper/rose gold hue in leather mixed with black mesh and an HF weld of the Swoosh logo, instead of the traditional embroidery. Other details include the SK logo in the shape of a British plug, while a black air bubble sole completes the sleek design altogether.
8. Air Jordan 4 ‘KAWS’
The long-awaited collaboration between Jordan Brand and KAWS finally graced us for 2017. While some might say the sneaker was somewhat underwhelming, for me it makes my 2017 Top 10. Simply because AJ4’s are one of my favourite Jordans of all time and KAWS is one of the most important contemporary pop-artists of our generation, this collaboration made so much sense. The KAWS x Air Jordan 4 features a full Cool Grey premium suede upper that has some texturing to it for a unique look. Other details include co-branded heel tabs, a nubuck/suede midsole, waxed laces, and an icy translucent glow-in-the-dark outsole with KAWS graphics. The F&F versions are worth an honourable mention.
7. Nike Air VaporMax ‘Be True 2017’
The Nike Air VaporMax debuted this year during the Nike Air Max Day celebrations. It’s a new silhouette which takes Nike’s visible-air innovation to new heights. Througout the year we’ve seen different iterations of the sneaker such as the NIKELAB Air VaporMax x CLOT collaboration and the “Day and Night” Collection, but the Nike Air VaporMax ‘Be True 2017’ version was the stand-out for me. Inspired by the LGBT community by pairing two prominent symbols of pride, the Rainbow Flag and Pink Triangle. The sneaker features its signature Flyknit upper and Flywire cables covered in deep royal blue, which is then highlighted with a rainbow-inspired VaporMax sole.
6. Nike x Tom Sachs Mars Yard 2.0
After releasing in 2012 in limited quantities, Nike & Tom Sachs revisit their collaboration with a release for 2017. Over the years, the Mars Yard 2.0 shoe became a status symbol for those “in the know,” but was nearly impossible to find in deadstock condition due to the limited first release. This year the Nike x Tom Sachs Mars Yard 2.0 launched at an obstacle course-inspired event in New York City, the 2.0 was selectively seeded to those in the industry, and not made publicly available – eventually receiving a wider release a month later. (other sneaker brands take note) From a design point-of-view on the upper, the Mars Yard 2.0 replaces the original Vectran with a polyester warp-knit tricot mesh (a more breathable material that induces fewer internal hotspots — not sexy, but honest). The shoe’s red donning straps are now adhered with a stronger X box stitch. On the outsole, the tread of the SFB, originally protruding for use in the desert-like Mars Yard, has been inverted for more appropriate wear in urban environments. Finally, the Mars Yard 2.0 comes with two insoles, mesh and cork (which is optimal for sockless wear).
5. N.E.R.D x adidas Hu NMD TR
Out of all the NMD’s that dropped this year these are the ones. The sneakers first appeared back at the start of September, as Pharrell stepped out in a pair at the YO’HOOD 2017 event. The N.E.R.D. x Hu NMD sneakers come with a tonal black upper, as well as the words “Y.O.U.” and “N.E.R.D.” down each shoe in reflective silver lettering. The heel tab features the group’s Shepard Fairey-designed brain logo in the same silver detailing. The special edition HU NMD TR helps celebrate the group’s return to the music scene in fine fashion. Also this was a Complex-Con only release which makes them extremely hard-to-find.
4. adidas Originals YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 ‘Zebra’
Having slated as a limited-release the adidas YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 ‘Zebra’ saw a significant re-stocked. Personally I think this is the best colourway of the V2’s and definitely the most hyped. Compared to the model’s history of tonal renditions, this particular pair bears a Zebra-like pattern to distinguish itself from the line. Furthermore, it’s suggested that the sneaker features a distinctive aesthetic when exposed under UV lighting to further exemplify its dynamic profile in various lighting conditions. Rendered in classic shades of black and white, in addition to accents of red for its signature “SPLY-350” branding on the side panels, the silhouette is topped off with a heel pull tab and crisp white full-length boost sole unit.
3. Nike Air Force 1 ‘A-COLD-WALL*’
One of my favourite iterations of the AF1 – Samuel Ross, the founder of A-COLD-WALL*, views the Nike Air Force 1 as a benchmark shoe for London, saying the silhouette is among a tight selection that defines the early 2000s aesthetic. An initial version of the Nike AF1 A-COLD-WALL* debuted in January, punctuating Ross’ inaugural London Fashion Week Presentation. The Nike Air Force 1 A-COLD-WALL* highlights the shoe’s individual components through subtle shifts in colour from Grey to White by reversing leathers, disguising the Swoosh (leaving just its stitch) and removing the majority of the lace eyelets.
2. Virgil Abloh x Nike Inc. ‘The Ten’ Air Presto
As part of Virgil Abloh’s x Nike Inc. “The Ten” pack, this Nike Air Presto has stood out as one of the hottest sneakers of the year. Part of the “REVEALING” pack it features a de-constructed upper, Off-White/Nike branding, “AIR” accents and the main highlight of the shoe: the Red Off-White zip-tie. This Sneaker has constantly found its away to the top of the Sneaker release lists and the resell and demand for this pair has sky-rocketed significantly, compared to other Off-White/Nike Sneakers. Since mock-ups of this model were released in early 2017, Hypebeast’s and Sneakerhead’s have been dying to get a chance to purchase this Extremely Rare Sneaker. The Presto will never release again and is Unimaginably Rare. With this Sneaker, it is safe to say, you are looking at one of the best Sneakers of 2017!
1. Virgil Abloh x Nike Inc. ‘The Ten’ Air Jordan 1
Undoubtedly, undisputedly the hottest sneaker of 2017. Where do I begin… Everything we’ve come to know about release is simply flawless. From the design, to the initial influencer seeding – let’s all just admit the rollout was perfect. The shoe features “AIR” typography on the midsole, as well as an orange hit on the heel, which seems to imitate a price sticker. The lateral Swoosh also appears to be pinned onto the upper instead of fully stitched. Might I add that Jordan 1’s are my favourite sneakers of all time, so having these as No. 1 is fitting. There it is, the Virgil Abloh x Nike Inc. ‘The Ten’ Air Jordan 1 officially 2017 Sneaker of the Year!