The last 12 months have been great for sneakers with plenty of weekly sneaker releases filling up the calendar. As fitting, we look back on the memorable drops of 2019.
The country’s sneaker culture is thriving and flourishing as years pass by, especially with Manila Sneaker Expo 9 also wrapping up things up for Pinoy sneakerheads last December 8. Over 365 days, we’ve seen plenty of collaborations and re-imaginations of numerous sneakers in terms of materials, silhouettes, and technology. So, to end the year with a bang, here’s a list of the top 10 best sneakers for 2019.
Nike Adapt BB
This sneaker really pushed the boundaries in terms of innovation. For years, Nike has been pushing the sneaker game in terms of technology. You really can’t talk about the best sneakers of the year without the Nike Adapt BB, the first self-lacing basketball sneakers. What’s good about the BB’s is that you can actually play basketball using it. Just ask Jayson Tatum about it.
adidas x Reebok InstapumpFury BOOST
Collaborative work for sneakers has been a rare occurrence in the past, but it is now the selling point for brands to push their products to consumers. Reebok and adidas’ Instapump Fury BOOST gained the attraction it deserved and became one of the most talked-about brand-to-brand collaboration this year as two of the world’s biggest sneaker brands joined forces and combined their most-famous tech in Pump fit system and BOOST cushioning to come up with a one of a kind sneaker.
PUMA Palace Guard OG
Yes, our sleeper pick for the year. A nod to the Detroit Pistons, the Palace Guard OG is one of those low-key head-turner sneakers that you must own. True, that the pair do not scream hype but its retro look and style is a real killer that stands the test of time. PUMA retained its original materials with some added modification for comfortability and stability.
Nike SB x Air Jordan 1 “LA to Chicago”
The shoe has been significant to both basketball and skateboard culture since its original release in 1985. The SB x Air Jordan 1 “LA to Chicago” is a great nod to the city that made his Airness, Michael Jordan, and to one of the greatest skate crew, if not the one, to ever ride in Bones Brigade. Featuring a wear-away detailing in Los Angeles Lakers’ purple and gold colorway for the outer layer, which will give way to a Chicago Bulls-esque colorway for its base layer after wearing the sneakers over time. This in-brand collaboration is one of the most exciting takes they made to the Air Jordan 1 to date.
New Balance x AimèLeon Dore 997
Aimè Leon Dore killed it with this collaboration with New Balance. Highly known for their masterful use of colors and pristine design approach, their take on the 997 is a thing of beauty that reflects Aimè Leon Dore’s vision as a brand. The versatility and elegance of this sneaker make it deserving of the spot.
Cactus Plant Flea Market x NikeVaporMax
Cynthia Lu’s spin on the Nike VaporMax is really a standout. This is one of those collaborations that lives up to the idea of a true partnership. Lu took the VaporMax to a whole new level by associating hype in her work by having an eclectic approach in reworking the VaporMax. Her rework of the pair is unique by having a green Nike Swoosh made from garden wiring alongside with their signature double-eyed smiley face graphic on the heel of the shoe. Also, the friends-and-family edition of the pair featured a light-up neon tubing for the entire bottom of the shoe.
Air Jordan IV Retro “Bred”
Fact: You cannot go wrong with history. This year’s re-release of the Jordan IV “Bred” was special following its re-launch back in 2012, which featured the Jumpman logo on the heel. The shoe, which Michael Jordan wore for “The Shot” against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989 NBA Playoffs was really back when Jordan brand decided to bring back its OG-style Nike Air branding for the colorway for the first time in two decades.
CLOT x Nike Air Force 1
There’s plenty to choose from when it comes to the interpretation of the AF1s. There’s Virgil Abloh’s Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 “MCA” and Jeff Staple x SBTG limited edition custom Nike Air Force 1 “Pigeon Fury” to name a few. What separates the CLOT Air Force 1 from the others is its finesse in detailing. CLOT’s multi-layered rendition of the AF1 is just really luxurious inside and out. It really reflects the brand’s message, “letting the world know that beauty can be found both on the outside and inside.”
Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 “Cactus Jack”
What a year it has been for Travis Scott. Anyone can argue that his Air Jordan 1 can be named as the sneaker of the year. La Flame took the sneaker game by storm after bringing the heat with an earth-toned Air Jordan 1 that has a backward Swoosh and a hidden stash pocket. It seems that this Houston-born rapper can’t do wrong after also having his take on the Air Jordan 1 Low, Air Jordan VI and Air Force One Low, which all garnered hype. It’s his magnum opus with all the collaborations he did with Nike up to this date.
sacaix Nike LDV Waffle
What’s impressive about the sacai x Nike LDV Waffle is that it’s aesthetically pleasing and unique. Also, it’s the first of its kind by combining Nike’s classic running shoes in LDV and the Waffle Racer. With having two tongues, two midsoles, two Swooshes and even two sets of laces, sacai redefined what collaborations should be. And adding vibrant colors of red and blue for its colorway puts the cherry on top.