1 Nike Special Field Air Force One
There's nothing better than a respectful sequel (see: The Force Awakens), and the Special Field Air Force One is just that. The Air Force One is Nike's most recognizable and iconic sneaker, so any edits made to it have to be well considered and executed even better. The SF-AF1 takes inspiration from military service members, adding new textures and materials while keeping the basics intact. It's a pitch perfect interpretation.
2 Puma x Rihanna Fenty Creeper
Other musicians get a lot of credit for bringing their "cool" to brands, but few have done it more clearly than Rihanna. Her Fenty Creepers singlehandedly brought the Puma Suede back to the forefront of popular fashion thanks to those folks who bought the standard when they couldn't get Rihanna's version. The Creeper takes the traditional upper and raises it another half an inch into something unique.
3 Adidas x Pharrell "Human Race" NMD Friends & Family
This was the year of the NMD. Even though the sneaker launched last year, it seems like this year adidas couldn't make enough of them. Pharrell created his own version that he released in a bevy of dope colorways with interesting embroidered messages, but the winner is this pair of burgundy sneakers with Japanese characters on them. Unfortunately for just about everyone in the world, these were a friends and family-only release, given to those close to Adidas or Pharrell himself. They were never made available to the public.
4 ASICS x Ronnie Fieg Gel Mai
It was largely Ronnie Fieg's commitment to Asics' Gel Lyte III that brought the sneaker back into the mainstream. At first the sneaker was considered too bold with the strange split tongue, but it eventually caught on the world over. The Asics Gel Mai is another archive sneaker that not everyone is going to understand right away, but Fieg's reintroduction of the sneaker paired with some of his fan favorites is a good start.
5 Nike HyperAdapt 1.0
The future is here. What was teased in Back to the Future: Part II back in 1989, auto-lacing sneakers, will finally be available widely to the public this year. The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 is the first sneaker by Nike that will be sold directly to consumers that uses a mechanism to automatically lace the sneakers on the wearer's feet. What's more than that: they're made to play in. These aren't delicate, sneaker shaped Rube Goldberg machines—they're practical athletic shoes. But they do come with a hefty price tag.
6 Adidas x Parley for the Oceans
Now more than ever we need to bring focus to saving our natural resources, and none are more important than our oceans. Adidas realizes this and teamed up with Parley for the Oceans to use some of Parley's Ocean Plastic and create a couple dozen pairs of this very unique shoe that uses recycled plastics fished from the ocean. Although these were given out through a social media campaign, Adidas later released a pair of Ultra Boosts made from the same materials, and has committed to releasing 1,000,000 more pairs in the coming year
7 Puma x UEG Court Play
Collaborations are supposed to push the boundaries, entering into territory that neither brand would get to on its own. When UEG partnered with Puma that's exactly what happened. UEG 7took classic Puma silhouettes and reshaped them with a futuristic perspective, while Puma's sensibilities tempered the UEG vision into black and white. The results were extraordinary and challenging looks that are certainly not for everybody but make space for future exploration in footwear.
8 Air Jordan x OVO 10 Black
No stranger to the sneaker world, Drake has taken his partnership with Jordan Brand and run with it to create a collection of collaborative sneakers. The best of the bunch is the black colorway of his "OVO" Jordan 10. It features black leather, black faux-stingray details, and an icy outsole with flecks of gold. These are long gone but you can still pick them up—at a premium—if you know where to look.
9 Vans x C2H4 x Pros Old Skool "Re-Blue Project"
Vans' Old Skool is a classic, but it's also not for everyone. This ultra luxe version of the skate shoe created as a three-way collaboration between Vans, C3H4, and Pros brings expectations to a whole new level. A veritable patchwork of denims, with the human touch of homemade construction and midsole painting, makes for a look that's on par with the increased price tag rarely seen on a pair of Vans.
10 Adidas x Wood Wood Ultra Boost
The Adidas Ultra Boost has been something of an "it" shoe for the last two years, inspiring every creative mind to create their own version of it. Wood Wood teamed up with the Three Stripes to create a women's version of the sneaker that eschews the traditional lacing system in a unique way that's definitely unlike anything you've ever seen.
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