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  • Writer's pictureBeems

The Top 10 Sneakers of 2022

It's the last month of the year and we wanted to take a quick look at what we think our the top 10 sneakers of 2023 so far. This year brought a change in the sneaker industry as most of the industry went from high priced GR releases to "hype" releases sitting in the mall. We also had to worry about our sneakers getting to us properly. But the last six months have seemed to turn the sneaker industry back around with a mixture of releases and multiple restocks. It's only right that we talk about what some of the most exciting releases have been thus far. Okay, before we get into the nitty gritty, Keep in mind that this is only opinion based with the factors of price, quality, story an accessibility all factored in. The list starts off with the Joe Fresh Good New Balance 9060 collaboration.

New Balance follows a pretty reliable formula when it comes to its shoes. Keep the models simple, only adding slight modifications to make things better as the years go on. Very rarely do we see drastic updates to sneakers or new iterations that make people feel strong emotions. The 9060 breaks that mold. Its upper is similar to that of the brand’s 990 lineage, although it has more daring lines and a pointier toe. But the sole unit is where the 9060 has made its own waves.

Instead of thick, sturdy tooling like many New Balance shoes, the 9060 has podular units, which culminate on and protrude from the heel. The sneaker launched through a two-shoe collaboration with Joe Freshgoods via Instagram’s new footwear release platform. There were major glitches with the initial drop, which caused Instagram to re-release the shoes. The 9060 is now starting to get the general release treatment, and while it’s not yet known how the shoe will be received in the future, it’s definitely a sneaker of the moment.

The Nina Chanel Abney x Air Jordan 2 — speculated to drop on July 8 and accompanied by an apparel capsule — ditches the model's signature ankle ridge detail and softens the midsole, leaning away from retro Jordan 2's athletic edge and focusing more on the shoe's luxe aesthetic like the Jordan 2 Deconstructed.

The color choices are also quite noteworthy. Abney, a fellow Chicago native, channels the Air Jordan 2 "Chicago Home" colorway with her high-top sneakers boasting red, white, and grey – taking things back home for her collab, much like the OG home game shoe does.

As another easter egg, Abney redesigned the shoe's hangtag to feature artwork inspired by a famous shot of Michael Jordan leaping in the air during the 1987 Hall of Fame game against the Lakers.

As its moniker suggests, the Tom Sachs x NikeCraft General Purpose Shoe ‘Studio’ showcases a design rooted in everyday wear — a marked departure from the creative partners’ Mars Yard project, which was presented as a sneaker built for space-traveling scientists. The understated GPS sports an off-white knit upper with a printed white Swoosh and tonal suede overlays at the forefoot and heel. A pair of oversized pull tabs in royal blue offer contrasting bursts of color. The sneaker rests on a three-piece molded cupsole, featuring gum rubber sidewalls, a cushioned EVA core, and a durable waffle-traction rubber outsole.

The Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG ‘Chicago Lost & Found’ brings back the iconic silhouette that started it all. Featuring the high-cut shape of the original 1985 release, the leather upper combines a white base with a black signature Swoosh and scarlet overlays at the forefoot and heel. Cracked black leather appears on the padded collar, while a vintage pre-yellowed finish is applied to the white rubber midsole. The vintage ‘80s aesthetic extends to the special packaging, highlighted by a damaged box plastered with sale stickers and topped with a mismatched replacement lid. An accompanying sales invoice is emblematic of a time when the Air Jordan 1 lingered on the shelves of mom and pop stores, eventually making their way into the hands of lucky customers at a steep discount.

The Salehe Bembury x Crocs Pollex Clog ‘Urchin’ launched in May 2022 as part of a three-piece pack. This pair features a pale shade of lavender throughout the molded foam upper, highlighted by wavy concave ridges inspired by Bembury’s fingerprints. The textured lines extend to the outsole for multi-directional traction. Ventilation ports are placed in high-heat areas throughout the vamp for improved breathability, while a removable heel strap delivers a secure fit.

The Concepts x Nike Air Max 1 SP 'Heavy' Heavy” showcases a mixed-material upper inspired by the counterculture of the late ‘60s. The Boston-based retailer updates the sneaker with a blue tie-dye denim upper and a cowhide forefoot overlay, the latter nodding to the Bethel, New York, dairy farm that hosted the Woodstock music festival. Reflecting the fashion of the times, brown corduroy lines the interior, a tiger camo print is applied to the mudguard, and different bandana prints distinguish the collar and heel overlay. Woven tongue tags display dual Nike and Concepts branding, while mismatched Swooshes are filled in with florals or stripes. A unique mud splatter graphic on the midsole draws inspiration from a concert in the park.

The Nike Kobe 6 Protro 'Mambacita Sweet Sixteen' pays tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi. Black snake scales on the upper reference Bryant's Black Mamba alter ego. Notes of white appear on the Swoosh, tongue logo and leather back panels. The heel mold swaps out the traditional Kobe signature for the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation crest, with "Kobe" and "Gigi" inscribed on the left and right shoe, respectively. A gilded "2" on the lateral window represents Gigi's AAU uniform number. The insoles further honor Gigi with a design that features angel wings, a halo, the nickname "Mambacita" and another "2."

The A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 4 Retro ‘Violet Ore’ delivers an elevated take on the legacy silhouette. The Atlanta-based retailer dresses the mid-top in a muted purple nubuck upper, accented with tonal quarter panel netting and a decorative chrome rivet embedded in the lateral collar. Woven Flight tongue tags display mismatched Jumpman and A Ma Maniére branding, while molded black heel tabs feature a raised Nike Air logo. Inscribed across the interior side of each heel tab is the phrase ‘It’s not about the shoes … it’s about where you’re going.’ Quilted textile lines the collar and insole for a comfortable fit. The sneaker rides on a cream-colored polyurethane midsole with visible Air-sole cushioning in the heel.

The Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low OG ‘Reverse Mocha’ delivers a twist on the original ‘Mocha’ AJ1 Low from 2019. The upper combines a brown suede base with ivory leather overlays and the Houston rapper’s signature reverse Swoosh on the lateral side, featuring oversized dimensions and a neutral cream finish. Contrasting scarlet accents distinguish a pair of woven Nike Air tongue tags, as well as mismatched Cactus Jack and retro Wings logos embroidered on each heel tab. A vintage off-white rubber midsole is bolstered with encapsulated Nike Air cushioning in the heel and a brown rubber outsole underfoot.

The Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Brooklyn’ brings back the same color blocking and details featured on previous AF1 collaborations, including the 2019 ‘MCA’ release in University Blue and the 2021 ‘Lemonade’ colorway in University Gold. This pair makes use of a bright green leather upper with exposed foam construction on the low-cut collar and tongue. Silver foil Swooshes are outlined in black zigzag stitching, with the medial-side check obscuring Off-White’s signature Helvetica text branding. The sneaker rides on a matching green rubber cupsole, highlighted by ‘AIR’ stamped on the lateral sidewall.


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