Nike LeBron 15
Nike needed to fix its signature sneaker for LeBron James. The line didn’t really take off until it was reimagined with the 7, which released to fanfare in 2010. The success continued with subsequent releases and the money kept rolling in. That was until the LeBron 11, where the price (some pairs were as expensive as $295) didn’t match the public’s desire for bulky basketball sneakers. The past few years have been rough for Nike Basketball, with Foot Locker admitting they couldn’t sell the shoes and the brand forced out of the head of its basketball category.
Adidas Yeezy Calabasas
Kanye West proved that people would buy anything with the Yeezy logo on it this year when he reworked the Adidas Power Phase, a workout sneaker from the ‘80s. He renamed it the Calabasas, an homage to not only where he lives, but also falling in tradition with Adidas’ history of dedicating sneakers to cities all around the globe.
Nike Zoom Fly SP
Nike set out to do the impossible once again: Create a pair of sneakers to help someone run a marathon in under two hours. Running on a special track in Monza, Italy, Eliud Kipchoge came within 25 seconds of breaking the two-hour mark. The sneaker he ran in, the Zoom Vaporfly Elite, was released in limited pairs at marathons in cities across the world. Nike made a takedown version of the shoe, the Zoom Fly SP, that became a cult favorite this year.
Tom Sachs x Nike MarsYard 2.0
When discussing Tom Sachs’ second go on the Nike MarsYard with a coworker, he said, “A lot of people don’t even know why they like that shoe.” That might be true. But there’s also a visceral reaction to something being good that’s undeniable. If you need a brushing up on this sneaker’s history, here’s the short of it: Artist Tom Sachs first got a crack at doing this sneaker back in 2012 and designed it from actual NASA vectran material. Unfortunately, that resulted in the shoe falling apart for some people who wore it.
Kaws x Air Jordan IV
The Kaws x Air Jordan IV collaboration has been written about so many times this year that there’s literally nothing else to say about it. Kaws did an Air Jordan, and it was really, really good. It had his artwork on the upper, his “XX” replaced “Nike” on the heeltab, they had glow-in-the-dark outsoles, and they were released in limited numbers, making them feel special.