With all of the thousands of shoe releases that come out in one year, it can be tough to keep up every weekend from various brands. For this post, I let a good friend of mine, Nick Soyer, go ahead and do a guest post with his ‘Top 50 Kicks of 2014’. With 2015 now upon us, lets take a look back at some of the top 50 shoes from 2014. Like any subjective list, this is all Nick’s opinion but I hope you enjoy it none-the-less.
Make sure to check out Nick on twitter at @OswaldSoy and on Instagram at @sneaksoy and hit him up with a follow! (Nick ranked his top 50 from 1-50). How do you think he did ranking the top shoes of 2014? Let your opinion be known in the comments below.
- New Balance 997
I sort’ve cheated when it comes to my #1 as I would’ve clogged my top 50 with so many 997 it would have felt repetitive. So I’m putting them all at #1. The 997 was just reintroduced in its original form at the beginning of 2014 and has provided steady and stunning colorways all year long. It’s the perfect running shoe, Made in USA, more cushioning than I can even desire, and multiple high-quality materials on each pair from pigskin suede to leather lining to 3M hits when you least expect them. These are just a flat-out phenomenal pair of shoes
If I had to rank the 997 colorways, I’d have to go with : 1. PR (black) 2. GY (grey) 3. DBR(dark brown) 4. Concepts “Rose” and 5. NV (navy)
- Air Jordan XI low “Concord”
Three Jordan’s in my top 5 in the year that I really started to move away from basketball shoes and more into runners? While the market may be oversaturated with new colorways and retro releases every weekend, Jordan continues to slip us a few classics. The Concord XI is one of my favorite three shoes of all-time and a low top version that MJ wore to celebrate his first championship back from retirement? Well, I guess that warrants a place at #2. Iconic.
- Lance Mountain x NikeSB x Jordan 1 High
A Jordan 1 for the skaters that embraced the shoe back in 1985. The paint-scraping-away effect to reveal asymmetric colorways underneath is awesome, especially since it’s the classic Black/Red and Black/Royal colorways. These are one of the coolest shoes from Nike SB or Jordan Brand in a long time.
- Ronnie Fieg x Filling Pieces Quilted RF Mid Pack
Filling Pieces came on strong in 2014 and the quilted pack collaboration with Kith were their best offerings of the year. Top notch leathers, quilted upper, clean and classic colorways. Not even my bitterness towards Aaron can stop me from putting these top 5. I could wear each pair from this pack and never really another pair of shoes for about any occasion.
- Air Jordan Retro VI Black/Infrared
MJ won his first championship wearing these shoes. That’s about all I really have to say. Classics. Jordan’s best Black Friday release to date.
- Nike Kobe IX Elite Low HTM
A pack of four black and white based Kobe IX lows, the HTM models featured a multi-colored flyknit pattern on the medial side that is different on every pair. Seriously though, white and multi-colored flyknit upper on a gum bottom with speckled carbon fiber? HTM continues to be killer.
- J. Crew x New Balance 998 “Independence Day”
Another 998 that is just clean and extremely well executed. Made in the USA so you know the quality is there, and the USA is well represented through the red and blue colorway done by J. Crew just in time for the July 4th festivities this past year.
- Afew x Kangaroos Coil R-1 “Peanut Butter”
This is about as good of leather as you can get on a running sneaker. New Balance tried with its Horween 998 this year but this collab between Germany’s Afew and Kangaroos makes me drool. Guesis it’s the peanut butter influence. We need Kangaroos to start bringing some of these ultra-premium releases over to the United States.
- Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel Lyte V “Sage”
I really should move these down the list after I had my order for this GLV cancelled from the “Kithmas” restock. Kith customer service is awful and I’m salty about not getting a pair, but the combination of materials and a new colorway that somehow tip-toes between feminine and perfect lands the Sage in my top 10. Damn you Aaron.
- Nike Air Yeezy II “Red October”
Like it or not, this shoe is the most influential sneaker in the past 5 years. Kanye’s last shoe with Nike. Let your inner hypebeast come out and embrace the Red October’s. Just do it.
- Hender Scheme MIP-10
They’re not Jordan IV’s. They’re better. Hender Scheme has become notorious for taking (whether you think it’s a violation of copyright or not) classic styles and doing them in the highest-quality leathers, all handmade atop a leather midsole. These aren’t your dad’s Jordan IV’s.
- Hanon x Diadora N9000 “Saturday Special”
If you like high-quality materials on your sneakers… Well you need a pair of Saturday Specials. I wasn’t sold on the colorway at first but the burgundy and light blue combination is as flames as the Hanon logo. I wish the United States could have gotten a wider taste of this release.
- Offspring x Saucony Shadow 6000
The best Saucony collaboration of the year, both colorways perfectly blend the neutral grey and navy bases with just the right amount of pop with the pink dots in the logo, and the suede on these is as buttery as any release this year. These just hit on every level, Offspring nailed this collab.
- Air Jordan Future
I really liked what Jordan Brand did by taking a causal woven upper and putting it on the iconic Jordan XI midsole/outsole. The result is one excellent relaxing shoe with basketball roots and a little bit of a luxury feel. The black/clear sole colorway done exclusively for the Jordan Brand Classic is incredible with gold strands running through the middle of the weave. Must be nice to be good at hoops.
- Nike Air Command Force “Billy Hoyle”
Made famous on the court by David Robinson in 1990 and on the big-screen by Woody Harrelson in “White Men Can’t Jump”, I have a soft spot for an original high-top worn by one of my all-time favorite movie characters. I can’t dunk anymore but it’s alright cause Billy can’t jump either.
- Nike Air Tech Challenge “Open Pack”
More retro fever, this time in a classic Andre Agassi model done in premium materials and colorway significant to each major tennis championship. All-around awesome pack.
- Anteater x Saucony Jazz Original “Sea & Sand”
One of the simplest collaborations of 2014, Saucony went to Russia to team up with Anteater to bring back the Jazz Original model with baby’s-butt-soft suede on the toebox and a blue nylon upper. The colors contrast perfectly, just like an ocean and beach after which they were modeled.
- Adidas ZX Flux Prism
The ZX flux became a hit in 2014, almost like Adidas’s answer to Nike’s Roshe Run. Much like the Roshe lends itself to taking on some exotic patterns, this ZX Flux manages to be colorful and loud while still being refined in a way that allows it to be wearable on an everyday basis. Instant classic material.
19.Premier x Saucony Shadow 6000 “Life on Mars”
Saucony and space themes seemed to go hand-in-hand this year. Michigan’s Premier crushed it with this pair of Shadow 6000 that bring the red planet into sneaker for. The red toe on the grey/black/red pair is stunning, just like the suede used on this collab.
- Capsule x New Balance MT580 “Canadian Tuxedo”
I needed some denim shoes in my life and Capsule brought the heat with their spin on the MT580. Drawing from their Canadian roots to feature a “Canadian tuxedo” all-denim upper on a “maple syrup” outsole with wool-inspired laces, these scream Canada and I love when a shop can really relay themselves through a single shoe.
- Air Jordan XI “Legend Blue”
I’ll always call these Columbias. Call them what you want, but they’ll still be called a classic. More NBA nostalgia as Mike first debuted these in the 1996 All-Star game. White patent leather? Sheesh. Tinker, Mike and Nike were ahead of their time with these beauties.
- Concepts x Brooks Chariot “Merlot”
Brooks? What are those? I barely knew Brooks had a backlog of classic running styles until Concepts decked out the Chariot model in a suede with colors of grapes and wine with the light blue overlay to give this shoe a little character. Concepts continued to kill it with their runner collabs.
- Fragment x Air Jordan 1
I tried to cop and failed but even that bitterness can’t stop me from appreciating this original-vibe but new-colorway version of the AJ1, done up in premium materials in conjunction with Japan’s Fragment design.
- Highs & Lows x Le Coq Sportif R1000
French sneaker brand, Australian retailer, American fan. Girls lust for the red bottoms we associate with Louboutin but sneakerheads everywhere fell in love with the red toe on in this limited runner. Another release that I wish would have made it to the United States as these are hot.
- Ronnie Fieg x Clarks Kildare
I’m a little frustrated with Ronnie Fieg right now (we’ll get to that later) but this new Clarks model he created is awesome. With a bit of a Wallabees-meet-sneakers vibe yet still set on a crepe sole, Ronnie finally gave us another taste of the salmon toe colorway first seen on the classic Gel Lyte III. These scream casual Friday in the best way possible.
- Offspring x Asics Gel Lyte V
At first I thought I hated this GLV collaboration, but after I saw some of the details it was a wrap. The nappy tan suede, smooth purple nubuck, and most of all the asymmetric tiger stripes featuring pink outlined in white on the lateral side and white outlined in pink of the medial. I wish I would have realized early enough to get a pair for retail.
- Nike KD VII NSW Lifestyle
I never liked any of the “lifestyle” iterations of Nike’s most popular signature basketball shoes (Kobe, Lebron, & KD) up until the KD VII NSW Lifestyle. The first release in the hazelnut colorway had a distinctly moccasin feel but this all-red pair really highlighted the design with the most popular colorway from 2014. Count me in on this all-red shoe.
- Puma Suede Angora
More luxury materials, this time from Puma on their most classic Suede model. Each pair was handcrafted in Japan and it shows in the detail and craftsmanship on this pair. Quality comes at a price though, as these retailed for just under 5x as much as a standard pair of Puma Suede.
- Overkill x Kangaroos Coil R-1 “Wine Pack”
A collaboration that many didn’t even know about, Kangaroos came together with German retailer Overkill to release an extremely limited run of these exceptional leather Coil R-1. Good luck finding a pair as just over 50 were released and only in Germany. Talk about quality materials.
- Air Jordan Retro 1 “Jeter”
Derek Jeter was my favorite athlete when I was a kid, all the way back to when I played t-ball at the YMCA and my team was the Yankees and I fought over getting the #2. A solid Jordan 1 with the famous Yankee pinstripes, these hold as much sentimental value for the Captain as they do for their clean looks.
- Patta x Diadora N9000 “9”
Diadora burst into the running market in 2014 thanks in large part (well, thanks entirely) to its collaboration releases with shops like 24 Kilates, Hanon, and Patta. The Italian brand stuck to its roots with this quality offering inspired by the famous #9’s that have played for the home soccer club, AC Milan.
- Nike Air Max 93 Retro “Menthol”
Just another original colorway from a classic Nike runner. Less heralded than its older brothers the Air Max 1 and Air Max 90, the Air Max 93 still comes correct in classic colorways like this menthol-blue version.
- New Balance 998 “Pool Blue”
Just a simple, well-done, ultra-smooth 998 that showcases buttery soft suede and 3m hits in one of New Balance’s most classic silhouettes.
- Supreme x Nike Air Force 1 High
Call me a hypebeast, but three clean and simple AF1 high colorways topped off with bold lettering on the heel is New York City. It’s Supreme. These are dope plain and simple.
- Nike Huarache Light “Ultramarine”
Huarache’s made a comeback this year thanks in large part to the Huarache Run, but this original Air Huarache Light colorway also snuck its way back over the summer. Ultramarine is hot but these didn’t manage to make it across the pond unfortunately as size? and other UK retailers were the only ones to get them in stock.
- Adidas Stan Smith Consortium
Adidas brought the Stan Smith back to the forefront of the market this year, started by these four high-end Consortium releases featuring premium leather, reptile, ostrich, & cracked leather. A first-class twist to an ultimate tennis court classic.
- Extra Butter x Saucony Shadow Master “Space Snack”
Part of the “Space Race” pack from Extra Butter, these neopolitan, dehydrogenated-ice cream-inspired Shadow Master’s were the best offering in 2014 from a shop that consistently nails execution of their collaboration themes. I think I’m hungry now.
- Nike Footscape Woven Motion “University Blue”
An under-the-radar spring release, the Footscape woven has always been a bit of a cult-like classic. This offering used light blue as a base for the rainbow weave that managed to catch your eye without being too flamboyant. And they look even better on foot.
- Nike Air Flight Huarache
I like retro basketball sneakers. And although I can’t say I got to watch the Fab Five in person, black socks, baggy shorts, and Flight Huaraches were all gifts from the fabled Michigan freshman. Can’t beat the original “Lyon blue and bold berry” colorway.
- Bodega x Gel Lyte V “Wet Pack”
Gel Lyte V collaborations ruled the sneaker landscape in 2014 and this beefed up pack from Bodega brought a little more versatility to the arsenal. Goretex provides a material perfectly suited for rainy days, these are the antidote to every sneakerhead’s venom – rainy days.
- New Balance P740 Worthy
New Balance jumped into the retro basketball sneaker segment by digging in the vault back to 1985 for the signature sneaker of former #1 pick James Worthy. I loved pretty much every colorway in these, from the simple and classic white and black offering to the all purple suede with yellow satin lining “Purple Reign” iteration from Packer Shoes.
- Fragment x Nike Roshe Run LD-1000 SP
Fragment closed 2014 with another sneaker you’ll see a little further up the list, but this modernized take on the original Nike Cortez model was a perfect combination between classic upper styling and the new beloved Roshe midsole.
- Air Jordan Retro 1 KO “Rivalry Pack”
Representing the NCAA champions from 1983 and 1984, the AJKO rivalry pack brought together two classic university colorways on the canvas brother to the infamous Air Jordan 1.
- Nike Mercurial Superfly HTM
The whole world had World Cup fever this summer from Brazil, and Nike piggy-backed on that excitement to create a street-ready sneaker based on the design of their World Cup soccer boots. Too bad these were tough to get like most HTM releases.
- Wings & Horns x New Balance 580
A simple and premium collaboration between Canadian retailer Wings & Horns and New Balance provides an all-black upper mixing leather and suede. Sometimes less is more and in this case that holds true.
- Concepts x Asics Gel Lyte V “Pistachio”
2014 was the year of the collaboration. This pair from Concepts and Asics followed up the release of the “Ember” GLV and was even more limited, leading to some overrated hype but with the tan/green/purple combo highlighted by purple 3m stripes on the medial, this collab was well-executed.
- Nike N7 Free Inneva Woven
Most people only know the Free Inneva for being worn by Kanye when first debuted in back in 2012, but this offering as part of this year’s N7 collection was one of the best iterations yet. A grey-to-black fade within the woven pattern complimented with a gold heel counter give these a place in my top 50 of 2014.
- Nike Air Max Lunar1 Burnished
The Lunar1 made a splash this year with some original colorways and a lighter, softer midsole, but it was this premium offering with the burnished leather uppers that really caught my eye. Too bad they weren’t more widely available in the United States.
- Converse CONS Aero Jam
Larry Johnson, 1994, Charlotte Hornets, Grandmama. Finally a true retro to one of the coolest 90s basketball sneakers.
- Saucony Grid 9000 Premium “Three Dots Pack”
Saucony had an extremely strong year and it all got started with the Three Dots pack. Buttery charcoal suede, gum bottoms, and contrasting light blue dots in the logo made these one of the best releases from early in 2014. These were so nice they ended up being my first Saucony purchase.