Step Back | 2015 Sneaker Review
2015 was a big year in the sneaker industry. We witnessed re-releases, new signature lines, and first timers. Innovation was a huge part in 2015. Power laces, 3D printed soles, and many more technical advances that took the shoe game to a whole new level.
Kanye turned heads and emptied wallets with his new adidas yeezy line. Nike re-birthed some classics such as the Prestos. The long awaited Converse Chuck Taylor 2 finally came into play. Asics and Puma continued their stylish designs through endless collaborations. Nike flyknit and adidas boost has brought the rivalry to new heights with their new innovations.
The sneaker game is always changing for the better of comfort, style and performance. If 2015 was such a huge success for sneakers, we can only hope that 2016 brings even more heat.
IN NO SPECIFIC ORDER
Even though… it does say ‘IN NO SPECIFIC ORDER’ above, the adidas UltraBoost is the sneaker of 2015. The UltraBoost was the perfect blend of style and performance. When adidas first dropped the runner, it was a little slept on due to the fact that the original release date was along side the Yeezy 350. Kanye single handedly flipped the script when he debuted the all white UltraBoost. That’s when the all white silhouette became a must cop for sneaker heads. After that people came to realize how serious adidas was when it came to their boost technology. Each colorway holds its own when it comes to style and performance. All hail the best sneaker of 2015.
Afew X ASICS Gel Lyte III “KOI”
The “KOI” Gel Lyte III started off as a one of a kind display for Afew located in Düsseldorf, Germany. The demand grew for the shoe so Afew contacted Asics & discussed a retail model. Originally released in 2012, the re-release in 2015 to mark its 25th anniversary. The sneaker was well presented, coming in a traditional Japanese Bento Box which also comes with a special booklet that explains the story of the Japan Day Event. Extra laces also accompanied the shoes, wasabi and/or soy sauce were the options for extra laces.
Air Jordan 1 “Chicago”
The Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” is a true classic. So much history goes hand in hand with the sneaker. All the Stories backed by Jordan’s career. This was the first time the OG 1 was released other than that hideous patent leather pair that dropped back in ’01. The 2015 drop was pretty much the top Jordan drop this year. Jordan brand even removed the jumpman logo due to the fact that the logo wasn’t even designed at this stage of his career. This sneaker really is an item that all true Jordan fans can appreciate. A timeless classic.
Air Jordan X “OVO”
When the OVO X’s first came out nobody had any idea there would even be a collaboration between Drake and Jordan Brand. These first popped up out of nowhere when Drake hosted a pop-up shop in LA. So all the sneakerheads weren’t ready for the drop. About two years later Drizzy gives everybody a chance and announces a retail release for the creamy buttery X’s. That’s probably the best way to describe the OVO X’s. Creamy butter. Nice.
Eminem x Carhartt x Air Jordan IV
Paying homage to the Marshall Mathers LP that dropped back in 2000, The collaboration between Carhartt, Eminem and Jordan brand marks the 15th anniversary of the LP. Although only available through auctions, the AJ IV was a true sentiment to Eminem’s Michigan roots. The demand for the sneaker was so high that Eminem had to postpone the auction. And what makes the shoe even more noteworthy, a single pair was auctioned off for nearly thirty thousand dollars. Ten were sold. Racking up an incredible $227, 552 for charity. The auction was held to raise funds to benefit the Marshall Mathers Foundation. Well done Marshall, well done.
CNCPTS x New Balance 997 “Luxury Goods”
Everytime Concepts & New Balance collab with each other, the results are always good. This year following up the Rose 997. CNCPTS & New Balance brought out some premium materials for the 997. In full pig suede and premium leather accents, the vibrant orange upper directs the eye to the well thought out construction of the sneaker. The sneaker was even manufactured in Skowhegan, Maine at the New Balance manufacturing facility. Truly made in America.
Nike Air Max 2016
Dropped late in 2015, the Air Max 2016 is definitely a sleeper for the title as a top running shoe. The combination of a full air max bed, lightweight mesh, and Flywire cables keeps the latest Air Max a household name when it comes to runners. Who wouldn’t want runner that features multi surface traction, durability, comfort, flexibility and of course style? Don’t sleep on these.
Converse Chuck Taylor 2
Longest running shoe that is still a household name when it comes to casual sneakers. The Chuck Taylor line is nothing to f*ck with. They’ve been around since the early 1920’s & nearly everybody has owned a pair at least once in their lifetime. The Chuck Taylor 2 improved on areas where more comfort and durability were needed. Adding the Lunarlon insole played a massive role for the revival of the legendary sneaker. It’ll probably be another 100 years or so until we can see a Chuck Taylor 3.
adidas Yeezy 350 Boost
The Yeezys. The most sought-after shoe of 2015. People were trading, selling, bartering, and doing whatever they can to get their hands on a pair of 350’s. Released after the 750 boot, the 350 was the much more popular sneaker in the Yeezy line. Due to beloved boost sole, the sneaker not only provided the ultimate comfort experience, it was also a great looking shoe nonetheless. No matter what colorway it was, the Yeezy 350’s always sold out. And 6 more colorways look to be on its way in 2016. Yeezy season never ends.
Nike Footscape Magista Flyknit
It seems as if the Magista Flyknit changed the game of footwear design. The rise of cuffed pants and casual joggers complimented the Magista Flyknit oh so well. So well, that sneakerheads paired the Magistas with all their joggers and cuffed pants. All while providing the ulitmate comfort with the footscape sole and a sock like fit, the Magista Flyknit is definitely one of the top releases Nike had to offer in 2015.
Nike Cortez “Forrest Gump”
Reviving a classic is always a plus. The Cortez finally made its way back to the retail industry. The Forrest Gump Cortez is a one of a kind. Holding so much weight in history and what the shoe symbolized. There’s still people out there who get tired of seeing future models and no classics. There has definitely been excellent flipped colorways and silhouettes of the Cortez but the Forrest Gump is the cream of the crop. Not limited, retails at a reasonable price and just so damn stylish.
Asics Gel Lyte III “Made In Japan”
Vegetable Tanned Leather. Shout out to Asics tiger for doing their own thing and not following other trends that brands use. Such as snakeskin, elephant print, etc. Asics went full forced by using vegetable tanned leather and hand making all the finest details in Japan. Natural vegetable tan nume leather is the source of this fine Asics product. Although priced at $500 a pair, these Gel Lyte III’s definitely gave Hender Scheme a run for their money.
adidas x James Harden CrazyLight Boost “Triple White”
With the addition of James Harden to the adidas roster, there was a shift of popularity in the hoop scene between adidas and Nike. Its no surprise that another boost model made the list of top sneakers. But this silhouette was something else, the triple white colorway symbolized the birth of a new generation for adidas. With the Beard as the new top American hoop athlete for adidas, the ‘Triple White’ Crazylight Boost saw a limited release of only 100 pairs. Now we can only await Harden’s signature model which is primed to drop in 2017.
Just Don x Air Jordan 2
When you know people and have some serious connections, the opportunities are endless. Don C is a well connected person. Being the co-founder of RSVP Gallery and a personal confident of Kanye helps too. This silhouette of the Air Jordan 2 is ridiculously luxurious in every aspect. With a quilted royal blue leather accompanied by a soft Italian suede which is unheard of when it comes to sneakers. The shoes even came with a matching varsity jacket to provide the ultimate flex for anybody who got their hands on a pair.
Kendrick Lamar x Reebok Ventilator “Red & Blue”
Mr. K Dot himself, Kendrick Lamar had a huge year. Not only did he drop one of the greatest albums of all time, he did so on his terms. Everything he released had meaning, all content with so much purpose. Kendricks message of empowerment, inclusion and positivity was well heard. The collaboration with Reebok held a powerful message as well. Unity. That we can all overcome the odds if we worked together to achieve the same goal in life. Putting aside our differences, focusing on whats right for the world. And as the Ventilator also looked pretty damn good, that was just a bonus for this work of art.
Kith x Puma R698 “Sakura”
Anytime Ronnie Fieg steps in to design a sneaker be prepared for results that always surpass expectations. The Sakura collection was inspired by Ronnie’s trip to Tokyo which is his favorite city in the entire world. The main source of inspiration are the cherry blossoms in Tokyo. The Cherry Blossoms only occur once a year for about 7-10 days. When Fieg became a witness at the peak season of cherry blossoms he knew he immediately had to throw down some designs for a sneaker. The Puma R698 came to mind and the fact that this was the first time Ronnie designed on this silhouette made the sneaker even more memorable. It’s not often people can say they’re first design on a sneaker made a top sneaker of the year list.
Nike Kobe X Elite Low
Performance driven is a major key. The main source of inspiration for any Kobe sneaker is the performance. Year in and year out the Kobe signature line seems to out due its previous model. The Kobe X is the most worn and popular Nike basketball shoe being worn in the professionals and amateur leagues. Fusing flyknit into the Kobe system is the best thing that Nike has offered to Kobe. Although the Kobe XI’s just dropped, being that it is probably the last shoe Kobe will ever lace up in his professional career with Nike. Maybe the XI’s will make next years list.
Under Armour Curry 1 “MVP”
The Under Armour Curry 1 changed the basketball shoe game for good. When UA snatched Curry away from Nike back in ’13 nobody made of this news at all. Two years later Curry led the dubs to their first championship all while claiming the league MVP title. The “MVP” Curry 1 wasn’t just a staple for Curry but for Under Armour as well. It was a symbol that UA is on the right track to compete for basketball hierarchy.
Nike Air Max 0
Tinker Hatfield is a genius. One of the most iconic innovations Tinker is known for the the Air Max bubble unit. Air Max Day 2015 was huge due to the release of the Air Max 0. The fact that these are very limited to the consumer and its the 1 before the 1 makes the Air Max 0 a high demand in the sneaker industry.
Nike Kyrie 1 “Double Nickel”
The Kyrie 1 was a very popular sneaker for hoopers. All sorts of PE’s and ID’s were found everywhere when it came down to the all star PG’s signature line. Although the “Double Nickel” signified the birth of Kyrie. His ability to take over games and drop stupid numbers on opponents became the norm. A clean white silhouette with a red swoosh and two nickel sized emblems on the tongue just put this Kyrie silhouette to the top.
Air Jordan Maroon 6
The Air Jordan VI originally dropped back in’91 in five colorways. Of those five the maroon colorway was the only pair Michael did not wear during a professional game but only wore for promotional reasons. So Jordan brand decided to drop the Maroon VI’s this year with a little twist. Nike Air was sewed onto the heel which we all know sneakerheads love. Sewing the Nike Air logo on the heel is what kept this retro at the top of the list and it did so by sticking to its truest original form.
adidas Yeezy 750
With Kanye making the jump from the swoosh to the three stripes, everybody went ape shit. Sneakerheads, retailers, fashionistas, and everybody else who you can affiliate with Kanye. Although the 750’s were not as popular as the 350’s, they still made noise in the resell market. Numbers don’t lie. And with more colorways rumored to drop in the near future, maybe the 750’s will make a name for itself as a heavily sought-after sneaker for the more trendy folks.
adidas had one hell of a year. New developments and significant brand shifts within the company, the three stripes were ready to make a statement. The NMD fused timeless silhouettes with modern technology. A huge unveiling in New York in early December definitely grabbed everybody’s attention.
Nike Flyknit Racer Mulitcolor
Originally dropped in 2013 the Flyknit Racer saw a re-release in 2015 with the “Multicolor 2.0”. An ode to runners who really wanted to standout. The process of the release was handled much better to avoid bots & was aimed more towards the runner in mind. In order to get a pair for the early release, consumers must have previously participated in a Nike Run Club event in order to get an access code. Smart move Nike, well done.
Nike SockDart Rainbow
Originally dropped back in ’04 the Sock Dart did not thrive. The announcement of a return didn’t get people too hyped. But once Nike dropped the Sock Darts every single colorway was always sold out. One colorway stood out amongst them all. The Rainbow Sock Dart was dropped the day same sex marriage was finally legalized. It was a win for America and a win for the running community.
Supreme x Air Jordan V
The long anticipated collaboration between Jordan brand and Supreme was finally over. Glimpses of the AJV surfaced the internet and it stirred up mixed emotions. As the drop date drew nearer the hype began. Considering that Supreme went all out for the Supreme x Foamposites collaboration, it was a nice surprise to see how simple they kept the design. Simplicity and style. True Supreme fashion.
Nike Free Mercurial Superfly
Usually the world of sneakers is dominated by trainers and basketball. Nike took a different route with the Free Mercurial Superflys. Gaining inspiration from the soccer field, Cristiano Ronaldo’s signature soccer boot transferred over to the casual side. Once again mashing together the technology and comfortability to create a sock like fit changed the outlook on performance streetwear.
Nike Air Presto “Unholy Cumulus”
The Prestos have been sought-after for a long period of time. Many believed that 2015 would be the year of the Prestos. Unfortunately classic runners don’t exactly fly off the shelves once put out on retail. Nike still made noise when they dropped one of the more iconic colorways, the “Unholy Cumulus”. The white mesh and transparent colors made a perfect combination on a timeless classic. 2016 looks to bring in more Presto options including more drops and more options for all the NikeID-ers.