Top 10 Sneakers 2017
Top 10 Sneakers Of 2017

This year has certainly been one to remember when it comes to the sneaker industry. We’ve seen collaborations command the market, the deconstructed battle the bulky, and highly-coveted, culturally-significant pairs returned after lengthy hiatuses. And while secondary resell markets continued to flourish, 2017 also found means to bring the sneaker community together once again, through specialty pop-ups, massive conventions and inventive ways to shop. 2018 has a lot to live up to; luckily sneakers are poised to continue their reign over men’s fashion for years to come.

These are the top 10 sneakers of 2017, in no particular order.

1. Virgil Abloh x Air Jordan 1 “THE TEN”

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
Through his “THE TEN” collection with Nike, Off-White™’s Virgil Abloh found yet another avenue to bring DIY fashion to a mainstream audience, and no model was more in-demand within this collaborative capsule than his deconstructed Air Jordan 1. All it took was a little bit of curiosity, an X-Acto knife and the iconic AJ1 “Chicago,” and Abloh was able to reinvigorate the yesteryear spirit of customized footwear. It was arguably the biggest release of the year, and not only for its novel design approach, but its ability to remind people of Nike’s influence and innovation. “What we’re talking about here is larger than sneakers, it’s larger than design culture,” said Abloh in an exclusive Nike interview. “It’s nothing short of state-of-the-art design. These 10 shoes have broken barriers in performance and style. To me, they are on the same level as a sculpture of David or the Mona Lisa. You can debate it all you want, but they mean something. And that’s what’s important.”

2. NikeCraft Mars Yard Shoe 2.0

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
Back in 2012, Tom Sachs and Nike created the special NikeCraft Mars Yard for NASA mechanical engineer, Tommaso Rivellini, and after five years of wear-testing, it made a long-awaited return in 2017. Appropriately dubbed the NikeCraft Mars Yard 2.0, the Martian-inspired sneaker relaunched with a few material upgrades and accompanying interactive “Space Camp,” where patrons were expected to complete an hour-long obstacle course, testing both mind and body, before getting a chance to purchase the newly-coveted sneakers. It not only took patrons through a typical day in Tom’s studio, but it also encouraged them to keep and wear their prize, rather than resell it to the uninitiated, like many “sneakerheads” do today. Sachs went as far as adding a special message on the box that read “These shoes are only valid if worn, and worn to death by you.”

3. KAWS x Air Jordan 4

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
Arguably the most in-demand artist of our time, KAWS linked with Jordan Brand earlier this year to apply his signature aesthetic to the Air Jordan 4 silhouette. The result was surprisingly understated, considering the artist’s penchant for vibrant hues, as the pair sported a premium grey suede upper with tonal KAWS hallmarks embroidered throughout and a playful glow-in-the-dark outsole. The simple, wearable design served as the icing on the cake of a rare KAWS sneaker collaboration.

4. Nike Air Vapormax

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
This year’s Air Max Day not only celebrated the 30th anniversary of the iconic footwear technology but it also built onto its legacy with the release of the Nike Air Vapormax. This sneaker, with its wraparound visible Air sole and Flyknit upper, quickly became the model of choice for the ever-growing trend of elevated sportswear, giving Nike its unspoken answer to adidas’s BOOST. Even as the market continues to see less and less practical innovation for its consumers, the Vapormax’s disruptive design inspired athletes and footwear enthusiasts alike to weartest the natural evolution of Air. Throughout 2017, it seemed everyone wanted to give the silhouette a go, even the likes of CLOT, Virgil Abloh, COMME des GARÇONS and others wanted in on the fun.

5. YEEZY BOOST 700 “Wave Runner”

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
Momentarily moving away from his 350 silhouette, Kanye West officially joined the bulky dad sneaker trend with the YEEZY BOOST 700 “Wave Runner.” The silhouette made its debut during the YEEZY Season 5 presentation and was then seen on the feet of its namesake, Kim Kardashian-West, Tremaine Emory and more influential names in culture prior to its launch. This, as it always does, drove fans of the line mad as they anxiously awaited release details, and thus the hype ballooned until it finally dropped, in maybe the most sparsely-distributed release yet from the brand. While West’s choice to close out 2017 with the “Wave Runner” was unexpected, it did offer a glimpse at what he has up his sleeve, as the YEEZY 500 “Desert Rat” unveil followed shortly after.

6. Balenciaga Triple-S Trainer

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
While many fashion pundits and enthusiasts anticipated the demise of “normcore” and “dadwear” in 2017, Balenciaga resurrected our fascination with post-hipster trends via its ultra-clunky, dad-tinged Triple-S Trainer. The exaggerated sneaker quickly became the mascot of the bulky sneaker fad with its runway unveil at the French fashion house’s Fall/Winter 2017 showing in January. From there, the Triple-S was given a number of refreshing colorway makeovers, while it became the fashion week sneaker of choice for influential celebrities like A$AP Rocky, Migos, Future, Luka Sabbat and many others. The sneaker generated so much buzz this year that Zara didn’t waste much time in producing its own riff of the shoe.

7. Chanel x Pharrell Williams x adidas Originals Hu NMD TR

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
Having longstanding partnerships with both Chanel and adidas, Pharrell Williams, a mastermind of collaboration, brought the two unlikely brands together to release a special edition of his Hu NMD sneaker in November. The partnership didn’t stop there however, as the black and white model dropped exclusively at colette, marking one of the final collabs for the famed boutique before shuttering its doors for good. Not only did the sneaker’s amalgamation of brands and exclusivity make it one of 2017’s most coveted, but so did its $1,000 USD price tag. So much so that it’s fetching upwards of $12,000 USD on the resale market.

8. A-COLD-WALL* x NikeLab Air Force 1 High

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
With its unveil at A-COLD-WALL*’s inaugural runway showing in January, Samuel Ross’s bespoke take on the Air Force 1 High brought 2017’s fascination with deconstruct-to-reconstruct front and center. The limited-edition “experiment,” as Ross put it, showcases a selection of premium quality materials and textures while paying tribute to Nike’s influence on design and culture by emphasizing the silhouette’s distinct parts. “A-COLD-WALL* and Nike individually offer unique, innovative, and curated products that celebrate design culture as much as street culture,” said Ross in an exclusive interview. “It’s a tangible conversation, which is more about dissecting rather than adding.”

9. Tyler, The Creator x Converse One Star “GOLF le FLEUR”

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
After a few years of partnering with Vans, Tyler, The Creator expounded on a successful 2017 with the launch of a new collaborative line and signature sneaker with Converse. Dubbed the GOLF le FLEUR, the quirky musician placed a lively spin on the One Star silhouette, using a selection of bright colorways and flower motifs in true GOLFWANG fashion. With this drop, the ever-evolving creative breathed new life into a rather understated silhouette that’s seen countless collaborations in the past. Only thing left for him to do now is snag a Grammy Award for Flower Boy.

10. Nike SB Dunk Low TRD QS “Black Pigeon”

Top 10 Sneakers 2017
This year, Nike SB aimed to revitalize itself through the launch of the jeffstaple-designed Dunk Low “Black Pigeon.” This model revisits one of the brand’s more infamous moments in its near 20-year history, when in 2005 the original “Pigeon” Dunk release forced the NYPD to shut down the campout just before its official launch, due to a limited supply and mass hysteria. Now, more than ten years later, jeffstaple gave his beloved creation a trendy black makeover. This all culminated to a one-day Reed Space-inspired pop-up hosted by Extra Butter, where once again, sneakerheads came out in droves. Cops didn’t crash this party however, showcasing perfectly just how far the sneaker community has grown over the past decade.

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