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From Qasa highs to Jordan lows, the best kicks that dropped this year.
From Esquire US.
It's not even close. The upcoming collaboration between Acronym and Nike on the Air Presto is poised to be the dopest release of the year. These are going to be hard to get, but don't let that stop you from adding a truly unique shoe to your rotation.
A sleeper that turned into a must-buy, the Y-3 Pure Boost ZG offered an unprecedented combination of comfort and high-end style that set a very high watermark for any other releases this year. These are sold out everywhere now, but while they were available they burned with glory.
Don C. followed up his original blockbuster Jordan collab with the same silhouette in a different color. Beige sneakers are going hard this year, offering a neutral base to let the texture pop and any color combination sing. These are long gone, but should whet your appetite for more to come.
Although not officially announced quite yet, this leaked teaser shows Vans and Supreme coming together to reinterpret a classic look that has come back hard. Keep your eyes open and fingers crossed that this isn't just a cruel joke.
The Maison Martin Margiela Future is easily one of the most edgy sneakers on the market, but the recently introduced low version makes it far more accessible. Throw some gold foil on it and you have a true showstopper.
This year the star of Nike's BeTrue Collection (released annually for Pride Month) is a clean take on the Air Max Zero. Tinker Hatfeild's first attempt at the now-iconic Air Max line is done in classic white with an understated rainbow in the air bubble to show your solidarity or pride.
When Y-3 released the Qasa High for the first time in 2014, sneakerheads went nuts. Bringing it back this season in a tonal grey colorway highlights the paneling and textures, lifting the model into a whole new realm.
One of Ronnie Fieg's signature moves is bringing a contrasting toe to a silhouette he's working on. But making the toe on these Puma Discs out of the Collette blue is a whole new level of clean. These sneakers just released and are already gone. Pour one out for the heartbreak.
John Geiger has helped tons of sneaker enthusiasts think differently about the pairs in their closet and even guided their hand with new ideas. But the upcoming 001 represents his first shot at designing a sneaker from the sole up. A release date and price have yet to be announced, but even if you're not feeling it, Geiger's first sneaker is bound to start a lot of conversation and break a lot of hearts.
Drink it in. This is one of the most unique shoes you're ever going to see. The German designer Patrick Mohr is always looking for new ways to challenge our expectations of style, and does so in a manner that ends up being way more wearable than it might seem at first glance. These aren't for everyone, but they're certainly helping us rethink our own style boundaries.
The Air Jordan VIII "Trophy" is half of a dual pack, but this is by far the better pair. White leather on the complex upper of the Jordan VIII highlights the unique panelling, while hits of gold add just the right amount of glitz. Look for these to release on June 25.
Since Hedi's takeover of YSL, Saint Laurent has become one of the most interesting sneaker stories in the high-fashion world. He's gone now, but the shoes created under his leadership show deference to sneaker history while still delivering the elegance and quality synonymous with the brand. This black and olive colourway offers a look that is too rare in sneaker circles.
Jordan's "True Blues" have been breaking necks for decades. This is one of those colorways that sneaker enthusiasts drool for and with a planned release date of Black Friday 2016, be warned that you won't be the only one trying to hunt down a pair.
If you're looking for a pair with a message, the "Lost Ones" Puma Blaze of Glory that Long Island sneaker shop Rise put together to remember those who we've lost to the AIDS epidemic is about as powerful as you can get. And it doesn't hurt that they look amazing.
DJ Clark Kent and Russ Bengtson are two of the most recognisable names to anyone who is deep into sneakers. Their influential "Quickstrike" series has been a hotbed of thinking about sneakers and sneaker culture. It was long overdue for them to create a sneaker for their community, resulting in these beauties for Adidas.
Easily one of the most highly anticipated sneaker releases of the last couple years, the retro Air Jordan White Cement IV harkens back to the roots of sneaker culture and offers an incredible look with just the right dose of history.
Margiela looked to classic German Army Trainers when the brand created its "Replica" sneaker, and since the first drop it's been reinterpreted season after season. This year that means a series of "submerged" versions that bring multiple tones and textures into one shoe, and this colourway with its rich tones is definitely the most eye-catching.
In the last couple years Common Projects has taken over the simple-sneaker wave for anyone looking to bump up his game, but it's the BBall High that truly references the history that it's now become a part of. Paying homage to the most iconic sneaker of all time, the BBall High can take you places the Air Force 1 can't.
The NMD burst onto the scene this year with a fervour that makes it almost impossible to buy in any colourway. Restocks happen all the time; they're random and unpredictable. There are a dozen or so colourways, but this one with a hint of pink and peach is particularly clean and worth looking out for.
Releasing back in May, The Air Jordan 1 Low "Swooshless" combined a more refined style with the shoe that launched a thousand dreams. Few sneakers have been as influential as the Air Jordan 1 and this entirely new version of it brings that style to a whole new group of people.
One of the most limited releases of the year, Concepts' "Boston Marathon" 998 is the perfect summer sneaker. A clean white-and-grey base lets the rich red and blue tones sing. It's just the right amount of patriotism the commemorate the Marathon's recent history while also celebrating its total influence.
Sometimes called "Bronze" sometimes "Copper," the latest metallic Stan Smiths from the ongoing collaboration with Raf Simons make a statement. Good enough to practically use as a mirror, these will reflect anything (if that's what you're into) and are a welcome break from the typical gold or silver.
Few sneakers can boast the kind of cultural history that the Adidas Samoa can, but with a creative reinterpretation by Oyster Holdings, this typical casual soccer shoe got elevated to a whole new strata, pulling in textures and colours that turn heads.
The Air Max 1 launched an entire line that changed sneakers forever. In this "Royal" update, Nike has broken the sneaker down to its most crucial elements and elevated them with luxury materials and classic cobbling inspiration.
The question of which shoe really launched the entire culture surrounding sneaker collection is under contention, but many in the know would blame the Air Force 1. Nike's luxury update of the mid-top sneaker uses beautiful leather for something truly special. The Vachetta Tan colourway develops in colour as it ages but it's sold out. If you're heartbroken over it, there are other colours still available.
This under-the-radar collaboration with Japanese brand GraphersRock proves that sometimes more actually is more. The tiny details all over the shoe add a whole new element to a '70s-inspired colour scheme. These are hard to find in the US and one of the rarest Pumas in recent years. Get them while you still can.
Famous for pushing boundaries, Concepts grabbed attention and dominated the conversation at the beginning of the year with this Nike collaboration, which brought thermal imaging to a running sneaker. With one simple design element, a shoe that's normally found on the track made itself known on the street.
The AJKOs were largely overlooked when Jordan first started producing them around 30 years ago, but the different materials offer a fresh take for anyone who wants to make a statement. The "Timeless Canvas" colourway is super clean and reminiscent of linen, making it an excellent choice for an easy summer shoe.
Greats has totally changed the way we think about retail for quality sneakers, but just because the brand is shifting the industry doesn't mean it's not paying attention to design. The Royale Court is a significantly sized shoe with real heft that shows off the quality and craftsmanship of its Italian manufacturing.
When the Tubular Doom was introduced this year it looked more like a freestanding sculpture than a shoe, but it turns out it's supremely wearable. Adidas has already gone hard into offering a series of amazing colourways—and it doesn't look like the brand will be slowing down any time soon.
Green is a notoriously challenging colour to apply to footwear, so when you see it done successfully you've got to grab it. The Common Projects Achilles Low is the perfect canvas to play with colour so this mint rendition is a no-brainer.
Another heartbreaker in beige, the "Sand Layer" Gel Lyte Vs are the result of a collaboration between ASICS and Japanese retailer MonkeyTime. Suede, leather, and neoprene flow together seamlessly in a stylish take on the retro running sneaker.
Balenciaga has been a major influencer in the high-end sneaker game for years, but the recently released Race Shoes signal a new direction for the historic brand. They reference the current obsession with running shoes while pulling in Balenciaga's signature aesthetic.
Valentino's Rockrunner has become synonymous with intense colour combinations and eye-grabbing patterns. This season's all black version offers the same fit and silhouette with a more understated style. These are quickly disappearing from the shelves thanks to their versatility.
A little more complex than its style cousins at Y-3, the Cell leather mid-top is for the dude who likes a lot of bells and whistles. A full-foot air bubble, elastics, and a ski-boot-like closure take confidence to wear—but if you can do it, it's worth it.
Adidas has really cornered the market on stylish tech shoes, and the City Sock is the company's latest foray. This sneaker is not for everyone, but will grab attention wherever it goes (and features unparalleled comfort).
Bottega Veneta's name is inextricably connected with woven leathers—so it stands to reason that the brand should have a shoe like the Intercciato Slip-On. Although not forbidden, most men would find it difficult to rock one of the iconic BV bags, so here's the perfect way to prove you know what's good while staying true to your style.
Santoni's leather low-top uses simple panelling and woven elements to create a clean look that shows off the upper. But what makes the sneaker unique is its sole—deep grooves cut into the ivory foam, so you know you're hitting the pavement in something different.
These are the shoes that Ellen Ripley wore when she went HAM on Ridley Scott's Xenomorphs, saving the world from intergalactic horror. They came back with vengeance this year, like Ripley in Alien: Resurrection—but when they sold out no one heard your screams.
Tod's style bleeds classic gentleman, but 2016 is the perfect time to update that look. Staying true to its roots, the company's suede sneakers are elegantly styled with a respectful and strong nod to retro running influences.
Alessandro Michele has brought a whole new energy to Gucci, and that shows on these embroidered Ace sneakers. They're true to the aesthetic that Gucci has been working with for the better part of a decade, featuring imaginative embroidered gilding that's playful and unexpected.
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