Tonight, I am here to bring you all my Top 10 sneakers of the year. I have put a lot of thought into this list, so I hope you all like it!
10. Tie – Nike Dunk High “Mighty Crown”, Nike LeBron 8 V2 Low “Solar Red” & Nike Air Foamposite One “Royal”
Nike Dunk High "Mighty Crown", Nike LeBron 8 V2 Low "Solar Red" & Nike Air Foamposite One "Royal"
I couldn’t decide on one shoe for this spot, as I thought that all of these deserved it. The “Mighty Crown” Dunk High is a subtle, yet nice shoe, because of its intricate design and high quality. The “Solar Red” LeBron 8 V2 Low is both more flashy and comfortable than the Dunk, but it’s also more one-dimensional. Also, the “Royal” Foamposite One is a classic colorway that looks stunning, even in its 2011 form, but I’ve started to like the Foamposite model less over this year. Consider these my runner-ups, and the Top 9 my real list (All pictures via Nice Kicks).
9. Nike SB Dunk High “Statue of Liberty”
Nike SB Dunk High "Statue of Liberty"
At first, I thought that the “Statue of Liberty” SB Dunk High was cool, but not worth the effort or money. However, after a friend of mine got a pair and I saw him wear his pair a lot, I was sold. The shoe’s shades of green, mint, and off-white fit perfectly together. And its nod to one of NYC’s greatest monuments, the Statue of Liberty of course, is pretty cool too. While I think the quality of the leather used on the shoe could have been better, I can’t deny that the “Statue of Liberty” SB Dunk High is a winner.
8. Air Jordan I Retro “Banned”
Air Jordan I Retro "Banned"
While I passed on the “Banned” Air Jordan I when it came out because I already had a black and red shoe in the “DJ AM” Dunk High, I really regret that decision now. The “Banned” I is an absolutely classic sneaker. The combination of black and red is amazing to me, and that duo is executed beautifully on this shoe. In addition, the ode to when the “Bred” I was originally banned from the NBA in 1985, with the notes on the lining and box, is pretty special. I could easily buy a pair of “Bred” I’s from the DMP Pack, but that Nike Air on the tongue tab of the “Banned” I just looks right.
7. Nike Zoom Kobe VI “Barcelona Away”
Nike Zoom Kobe VI "Barcelona"
I picked the “Barcelona Away” Kobe VI because of its flash. I’ve only seen the shoe once in real life, but when I did, my eyes were immediately drawn to and stuck on it. And while there were some other notable mango-like-colored sneakers in 2011, the “Barcelona Away” Kobe VI takes the cake for the best because of how perfectly the black used on the shoe’s midsole and lining contrasts the mango shade. Boy do I wish that this shoe released in the US…
6. Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel Saga “Mazarine Blue”
Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel Saga "Mazarine Blue"
Since I first saw the “Mazarine Blue” Gel Saga at the end in Adam Zenou’s Kith Opening Party video, I’ve been hooked. I love that shade of purplish-blue, kind of like daybreak, used on the shoe. Paired with a black midsole and blue accents, the all-mazarine upper on the “Mazarine Blue” Gel Saga makes the shoe looks ill-er than anything else I’ve seen this year.
5. Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel Lyte III “Mint Leaf”
Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel Lyte III "Mint Leaf"
The “Mint Leaf” Gel Lyte III is truly stunning. Its mint mesh split-tongue and toe box shine radiantly when hit by light. The mint high-grade nubuck on the shoe also looks very clean. Not to mention that the Gel Lyte III silhouette is very comfortable and has become one of my favorites. I even like the story behind this beautiful colorway, that Ronnie Fieg based it off of mint leaves from his grandmother’s garden in Israel. When I first saw people wear the “Mint Leaf” Gel Lyte III at the release at David Z, I was not 100% sold. But, after I missed out there and thought about the shoe a little more, I knew that I could not totally miss out on it.
4. Concepts x New Balance 999 “Kennedy”
Concepts x New Balance 999 "Kennedy"
As I alluded to in the Sole Camp x Young Guns “Kennedy” post, I’ve never really been a fan of New Balances. That is, until I fell in love with the “Kennedy” 999. When the shoe released back in April, I totally slept on it. However, when I saw someone wearing them at the “Mint Leaf” release in July, I started to regret not paying to attention to them before. Frank the Butcher executed the theme of JFK’s love for sailing perfectly on the “Kennedy”, through ripstop nylon (used in yacht sails), sand-colored suede, very nautical lining, and white mesh on the toe (as a reference to the bags used to catch fish). Heck, the sneaker even came with a white mesh bag! The “Kennedy” also is up a notch in my mind because of the lush suedes used on it and how comfortable the 999 model itself is. I still can’t believe that I’m putting a New Balance shoe on the top half of my list, but boy, does the “Kennedy” 999 deserve it!
3. Air Jordan XI Retro “Concord”
Air Jordan XI Retro "Concord"
I’ve been waiting for the “Concord” XI to re-release since I started learning about Jordans. The shoe’s combination of crisp white mesh and shiny black patent has always caught my attention. However, I could not convince myself to buy a previously-released pair, with a yellowed sole that I did not make yellow (from wear and time). So, I forced myself to wait. And now, after waiting 2+ years and going out early on the morning of 12/23/11, I finally have the “Concord” XI!
2. adidas Originals JS Bear
adidas Originals JS Bear
The JS Bear, especially in the tan colorway, is nothing short of awesome. I kind-of wanted the shoe after seeing some pictures of it online, but when I had the chance to see it in real life, I was sold. The teddy bear head and light fur upper on the JS Bear make the shoe look so cute and me feel like a kid again when I wear it. I also love how the head and arms shake when I walk in the shoe, as if my shoes were living creatures. Overall, Jeremy Scott’s animal-sneaker designs are amazing, but none of them stick out at me like the tan JS Bear does.
1. Nike MAG 2011
Nike MAG 2011
To be honest, I have never seen Back to the Future 2. Regardless, I think the Nike MAG 2011 is the best sneaker that was released in 2011. I have always been a fan of futuristic-looking models (the Yeezy is my favorite shoe ever), and the MAG takes that to a whole new level. The really high cut, teal-speckled panels, and lights all work really well together in my opinion. Like many of you (I’m sure), I wish I could’ve obtained a pair!
That’s all folks! I would love to know what you all have to say about my list. What did you not expect that ended up on my list, and vice versa?