2022 will be remembered for many things, but in terms of sneakers, it will go down in history as the year that a series of instant and future grails dropped. While sneaker culture may not be as prevalent as it once was, a changing of designers has brought other brands like New Balance and Salomon into a space previously dominated by Yeezy and Jordan.
While trends come and go, we are a far cry from where we were when the year began, and the culture of sneakers itself has changed, due to some momentous happenings over the last year. Virgil Abloh’s untimely passing, Ye’s dramatic fall from grace, and other such events have changed the landscape of the sneaker industry and the culture itself. These figureheads, who shaped streetwear culture in recent years are now being replaced by new culture drivers, all of whom are ready to make their mark. It is safe to say that 2022 may be remembered as the year sneaker culture changed. It may not be the end of what came before, but it’s the beginning of something new. According to YUNG‘s editors, these are five of the best sneakers released this year.
Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1
Before his passing, trailblazing designer Virgil Abloh bridged the gap between streetwear and high fashion, bringing together Louis Vuitton and streetwear giant Nike. The result was an expansion collection of the Air Force 1, created using the refined techniques and materials of the famed Parisian Fashion house. The Louis Vuitton Nike Air Force 1 stands as a celebration of Abloh, one of the most influential voices fashion has ever seen.
Travis Scott x Jordan 1 Low Reverse Mocha
Let’s be honest, in the world of streetwear, there is nothing like the high of a great Jordan. Last year proved that maxim and the brand was on fire, but the Travis Scott collab may be the shoe that set Jordan apart from its competitors.
Gucci x Adidas Gazelle
Gucci and Adidas released a collaboration like no other, the instantly iconic Gucci x Adidas Gazelle. The shoe was first introduced in 1966 and helped define Adidas as a leading sneaker brand. This collab has brought the 60-year-old shoe back into the zeitgeist, with colourways that vary from traditional Gazelle shades to those clearly filled with Gucci DNA.
Adidas x Ravi Superstar
Sneaker culture always told stories of the wider world through sports and streetwear, and no other shoe has told a story like the collaborative Adidas x Ravi Superstar. The shoe’s design was inspired by the history and heritage of one of Dubai’s most iconic homegrown restaurants, Ravi.
New Balance x Joe Freshgoods 993
In the world of streetwear and sneakers, there is nothing as good as an iconic coming together. The New Balance x Joe Freshgoods collab is one such celebration. The Chicago-based designer has made his mark on the world of streetwear with his colour blocked New Balance 992 and 990v3. The shoes come in a colour palette of pink, green and blue, and while the effect may be subtle, they’re also some of his best thus far.