It’s been a great year for sneakers and shoes, and we’re not even halfway through 2017. From Adidas to Under Armour, and the usual suspects at Nike, there are some incredible designs that have come out since January. Of course, this is all subjective and nothing is perfect, but we decided to take a shot at previewing our favorite shoes of the year.
To discuss some of the best, we brought in Sandy Dover, former writer for SLAM’s KICKS annuals, espnW, and Complex. Dover has an insider’s perspective on many of the latest brands and products, while personally working with the likes of Jordan, adidas, New Balance, Reebok, Brooks, and several other brands.
Who’d we miss? Who’s too high up? Who isn’t getting enough love? Feel free to chat us up in the comments.
1. adidas Yeezy Boost 350v2 Cream White
This incarnation of the Yeezy Boost is really what the shoe should be about — simplicity and luxury. The silhouette has largely been muddied up with a bunch of graphic patterns and swabs of colors with factory read-out language, but the Cream White colorway is the Yeezy Boost at its finest. Here’s the thing that’s underrated about it: it’s going to age beautifully. All-white everything’s ARE going to get tanned, it’s just natural. UV light, dust, wear from feet stomping in them make shoes what they are ultimately are — protection devices for our bodies, so why not make a luxurious sneaker that bests the elements with a cream hue? And who doesn’t love cream? – Dover
2. KAWS X Air Jordan IV
Who doesn’t like a clean, simple looking Jordan? This premium gray suede upper combined with the texturing and lightly colored translucent glow-in-the-dark outsole is one-of-a-kind. This shoe is incredibly versatile for a Jordan, you can wear it with many colors, many outfits, and not feel out-of-place with them on. The classic look with a vibrant and colorful outsole make it a great combination for the new wave of styling and outfits. – Maroney
3. Nike PG1
When I first saw the PG1, I was underwhelmed. It was shown in a silver-white bright light by Nike, and I honestly didn’t understand why it was being created. Paul George had, at least in my estimations, lost the limelight. A shoe for him, specifically? And one so plain? It appeared to be a Nike Cortez with a basketball sole. Wasn’t he a Team Kobe and Hyperdunk guy? Well, making good on their relationship with him, Nike made PG-13 a shoe just for him, and after a little bit of time, I was sold. We haven’t seen a signature Nike Basketball shoe be so aesthetically intuitive in a long time. Suede and leather, a true low with a strap (a Flywire strap!), and a big classic Swoosh. I haven’t played in the PG1, but my history with Nike performance products has informed my taste, and these look the part of world-beaters. – Dover
4. adidas NMD R1 Primeknit OG
NMD’s are surely going to be taking over the shoe world at some point (if they haven’t already). The comfortability coupled with the black on black base and red and blue accents make it a shoe that looks good with virtually anything. Sometimes running shoes look too much like a running shoe to be worn with everyday clothes, but NMDs are that exception. The great city sock feature along with the patterned white outsole make it look unique and fresh. In addition to this, the german and english writing on the back adds some more originality to the shoe. This is probably the cleanest version of the NMD we’ve seen, a must cop. – Maroney5. LeBron 14
The LeBron 14, I suspect, is going to be one of those Nike Basketball models that we all look-back on and see was better than we than the way we received, but I want to appreciate it now. The technology is all there — podular full-length Zoom Air, a full-body mesh bootie, Flywire, a strap, footbucket sole construction — beastly attributes of a hardwood hero sneaker. The aesthetics of the LeBron 14 are some of the most unique we’ve seen from his signature line; again, I reference the full-body bootie, but also the vertically-slanted tape seam inspired the Nike Air Presto Mid x ACRONYM. All in all, one of the best of the LeBron series. – Dover
6. adidas EQT Support 93/17
In the 93/17s, adidas has captivated many sneakerheads by meshing the primeknit upper with the BOOST midsole. Along with that, they’ve used their black and gray camouflage pattern which isn’t subtle, but neither overbearing. It’s a great combination of modernization and style flooded with small details that make it pop. If you think these are anything like the other EQTs, they aren’t. New midsole and upper, with a ton of small additions that make it stand out in a good way. The medial side of the shoe has a ton of additions like the white stripes and the big pink cage that changes to black as you move from the medial side to the lateral. It’s an impressive shoe with a ton of different materials, colors, and technology, yet it looks fairly simple, and that’s what makes this a great shoe. – Maroney
7. adidas UltraBOOST Mid × Ronnie Fieg
Basically an uncaged ultraboost, this shoe is phenomenally designed. The colors, dense primeknit and structure make it a unique ultraBOOST mid that’s created with so much zest and flavor. It may come across a little bulky in comparison to other nephews of the shoe, but overall this is a work of art that adidas and Ronnie Fieg have created. This shoe came out RIGHT before January, but we’ll just assume you copped after the New Year on the secondary market because these shoes sold out almost immediately both times they dropped. – Maroney
8. Under Armour Curry 3 Lux
I’ve said it many times on Twitter and hopefully I doth not protest too much, but the Curry 3 is a classic hooper, based merely on the styling alone, mid and low. Its refinement reminds of a luxury car being worked over in clay before casting, and its tech benefits for fit and performance are such that we’re seeing Under Armour’s very best come together all in one place for the almighty Stephen Curry. I spoke with Jason Mayden, former lead designer of the Jordan Brand for Nike, early after the Curry 3 was released and he actually said it reminded him a lot of the Air Jordan XX2, to which I rebutted him with its likeness being that of Mike Bibby’s former Jordan Jumpman Team Masterpiece.
Either way, the Curry 3, though due for another ribbing for its washed dad qualities, is, in my estimations, an instant classic for the brand and the series at large. – Dover
9. Nike Kyrie 3
I don’t know that anything will beat the Kyrie 2. Of course, I can’t verify that at all, because the future hasn’t been formed yet, but the Kyrie 3 is setting the table for hoop shoes should be for players of all kinds. What I love about the Kyrie 3 is that its design is centered about moving on the court, not just jumping off of it. The round forefoot anchors underfoot, the Zoom Air unit upfront, the synthetic textile support in the body of the upper for containment on quick, dynamic moves — all of the aforementioned give it the quality of upper-echelon footwear, because that’s what the Kyrie 3 is. – Dover
10. Nike KD9 Elite “Time To Shine”
Kevin Durant’s latest shoe is just another incredible one. Arguably one of the most underrated signature shoes and lines, the KD9 could be higher on this list but it’s lack of originality stuck out. The shoe is incredibly designed and has technology like the full length Zoom Air unit, intersecting lace loops and a FlyKnit forefoot. But its colorways and creative nature is a little less than the rest. We can certainly appreciate the shoe enough to put it on the top ten, but compared to previous KD designs, this one fell a little short. – Maroney
*Co-Authored By Sandy Dover*