Here we are, another year another top 50.  This is probably the toughest top 50 I’ve ever ranked as there were shoes that were left off -shoes like the White Navy Jordan XI- that 100 percent could have been on but for a variety of reason’s didn’t make the cut for my list -doesn’t mean it wasn’t a dope shoe-.  Remember, these lists aren’t based off hype a lone but also on looks, (for retro’s) whether or not there are other or better retro versions available, was it a highly desirable OG, ground breaking tech, execution and so on and so forth . Enjoy and feel free to drop a comment!

#50 CONVERSE ONE STAR PREMIUM SUEDE

 The Converse One Star is quite possibly one of the most iconic sneakers ever created and one of my all time favorites.  These have seen scattered re-issues over the past couple of years but this might be the best quality retro to date (outside of the early 90’s).  A shoe that should be in everyone’s closet these came in at number 50.

 #49 CONVERSE FAST BREAK RETRO (ALL COLORWAY’S)

The Fast Break is a classic model that -like many past models from Converse- had been long since forgotten, but that changed for 2017.  While I’m willing to bet that this shoes return had SOMETHING to do with the fact that it was worn by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Olympics; even so, who cares?  The retro was done properly in the best color combinations and anyone that was missing these filled an important gap in their collection.

#48 EWING ATHLETICS X 2CHAINZ 33 HI


This was a shoe that had some serious cross over appeal.  Whether you were a fan of the 33 Hi, fan of 2Chainz or just looking to add a dope shoe to your collection this one hit all angles.  The quality of the materials was on point -reminiscent of something you’d get from a high end luxury brand- and accents done tastefully.  This led these in at number 48.

#47 NIKE ACG .07 KMTR BLACK

IMAGE VIA KICKSONFIRE

 This modern ACG shoe was just what the doctor ordered. If you needed something new as a switch up from your retro’s then this one was a mandatory cop.

 #46 NIKE AIR ICARUS EXTRA OG WHITE/ RADIANT ORANGE

One of several low key gems to drop this year, if you were looking to add some OG early 90’s running shoes to your rotation then you were in luck with this one.

#45 NIKE AIR JORDAN IV ‘MOTORSPORT’

A Jordan IV in Jordan Brands classic Motor Sport color way tastefully done.  If you are a purist as far as your retro’s go its shoes like this that you break that rule for.

#44 NIKE AIR MAX PLUS OBSIDIAN/ITALY BLUE/GAME ROYAL & BLACK/TEAM ORANGE/TEAM RED


 

 

Call them poor man’s hyper blues and tiger’s but what you can’t call them is wack. While I wouldn’t exactly put these in the same category as both aforementioned color way’s these were a dope change of pace. Both color way’s are a welcome addition to anyone’s rotation and add to the fact that they have little hype outside of die hard AM Plus fans and you have one of 2017’s best kept secrets.

#43 YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 BELUGA 2.0

 The Yeezy Hype has slowed somewhat but the 350 V2 has solidified itself as a future classic.  Its strong armed its way into the mix of many shoe enthusiasts collections; individuals that swore they would never wear them. It was this particular release though that was the most versatile of all the 350 V2’s. They achieved a delicate balance of hype and keeping it classy that landed them at number 43.

#42 REEBOK SHAQ ATTAQ WHITE/BLACK/AZURE/STEEL

 

Reebok & Shaq’s iconic basketball shoe the Shaq Attaq  – or internally known as the squatting poodles- was back again for only the second time in 24 years much to the delight of those that missed them the first go.  While the color’s weren’t as quite on point as the first retro and -at least in my dealings with them- this retro didn’t seem to have the quality control the first retro did they were still a welcome addition to many.  If you were contemplating picking them up then now is the time as these  timeless classic’s were much more available -and much more affordable-.

 #41 ADIDAS HANDBALL TOP VINTAGE WHITE/TACTILE RED

Originally designed for handball, this late 80’s classic came complete with time specific materials and typical on point adidas craftsmanship.  All in all one of those releases that when they are gone, you’ll wish you had jumped on.

#40 NIKE AIR SHAKE NDESTRUCT RETRO

After the abomination that was the Air Max Shake Evolve (NDESTRUKT) in 2012 -a hybrid that was EH- , Nike FINALLY came correct with Dennis Rodman’s 1996 championship shoe.  Price’s are still low so if you’ve been looking to add these to your 96 championship shoe lineup then now is the time

#39 NIKE AIR JORDAN 1 X OFF WHITE VIRGIL ABLOH

IMAGE VIA SNEAKER NEWS

Ahhh, the “shoe of the year” according to Footwearnews.com . No question about it they took “the gram” by storm and inspired additional off-white releases and tons of customizations from fans of the style.  Truthfully though, most die hard fans dug them but weren’t particularly blown away.  While we should all applaud Abloh for his style that many have gravitated towards there is no denying that for the most part Footwear News must have been having an “off day'” when they decided that this was to be shoe of the year.  Footwear News is quoted as saying:

” This year, designer Virgil Abloh has scored the coveted Shoe of the Year honor, following in the footsteps of the Adidas Stan Smith, Kanye West’s Adidas Yeezy Boost and Rihanna’s Fenty Puma Creeper.”

Really?  Welp I’m here to say to you, you can’t compare this shoe to the previous years honorees  and that if you are going to name Abloh then you should have also named Michael Jordan. The adidas Stan Smith was Stan Smiths shoe, Kanye’s Yeezy Boost was Kanye’s shoe and Rihanna’s Fenty Puma Creeper was HER signature shoe -for the most part- all original designs that gained recognition by its designers and celebrity endorsers themselves.  Abloh on the other hand took an already well established high demand shoe design and color way from the most popular athlete on the planet and tinkered with it.  Nike made it ultra limited and oh, surprise surprise it sold out -what a shock-. While I can appreciate the shape of the shoe (which is reminiscent to the original) -and the fact that its different in a unique way that I can get down with- the bottom line is that this wasn’t Abloh’s shoe, the shoe itself has been highly desirable for 30+ years, it already had the backing of the greatest athlete of all time and Footwear News did themselves a discredit by naming it as such.  I would have had much more sympathy with this “shoe of the year” award had he been able to do it with a pair of Pony Wings but instead it would have been correct to call this ‘customized shoe of the year’ -Yea I know, tell’em why you mad son tell’em why you mad-. With that said it was a fresh looking shoe (the best of all the off-white x Nike collab’s IMO) and if you picked them up then you definitely picked up one of the best shoes of the year.

#38 NIKE LEBRON 15 X KITH

 Many may debate this but Kith took an already good looking shoe and made it better.  This is one of those releases that if you actually step on a court with them though, then you damn well better bring your A game because these are the sneaker equivalent to Reggie Miller game 1 of the 1995 eastern conference semi-finals; awesome, obnoxious and pretty, so pretty.

#37 PUMA ‘COOGI’ CLYDE

 The Clyde had a really big year in 2016 and that continued with 2017’s Coogi Clyde.  Paying tribute to Biggie’s steelo each shoe featured a unique pattern with amazing detail.   Moving forward this is a shoe that Puma and non Puma fans alike will want in their collection.

#36 NIKE AIR FOAMPOSITE ONE ‘EGGPLANT’

 

Nike  improved upon the shape of the 2010 retro -that looked like it was slowly morphing into a pair of low tops-. Couple that with wearability issues creeping up for the 09 release and this drop having a nice sheen and solid quality and this was one of the best releases for 2017.

#35 EWING HI 33 SUEDE  BLUE/ORANGE/WHITE

 In 2012, Ewing Athletics returned from a then 22 year hiatus to bring back 4 original color way’s -of the 33 Hi -one of which were these OG bright blue suede – and the demand was overwhelming. Five years later and the brand is still going strong so to commemorate, Ewing Athletics brought back one of the original 4 from its relaunch and fans ate it up (word to Ewing Squad).

#34 AIR JORDAN XVII ‘TROPHY ROOM’

IMAGE VIA SOLECOLLECTOR

The Jordan XVII is a masterpiece, one that has seen little love for some reason as far as retro’s go but that changed for 2017 when Trophy Room got their own exclusive drop. Gold accents against luxe grey suede that made for a great change of pace in the Jordan retro lineup.

#33 VANS LAMPIN BRONZE/MEDAL

IMAGE VIA BAGGIN SHOES

 

 

The Vans Lampin has had a very strange return here in the states. Their first return was in 2013 for a special Supreme collab.  Then, in 2016 the Lampin returned again (after having already returned in Asia in OG form) in semi OG form. Instead of the plain white midsole and typical color blocking of the OG they watered it down in typical fashion for the mainstream US Market.  For 2017 we FINALLY got the chance to buy a Lampin with the OG solid white midsole AND OG color blocking.  Now if they could only give us all the OG’s that Asia received and all would be right again for this historic early 90’s skate shoe.

 #32 NIKE AIR FOAMPOSITE PRO ‘SILVER SURFER’

IMAGE VIA NICEKICKS

These were a welcome surprise for 2017 and -at least for me- conjured up memories of the bling bling era and -more specifically -the Flightposite 3 Battleground platinum edition.  At $250 though they did have us questioning our priorities but ulllllllltimately you hesitantly whipped out your credit card, gently clicked add to cart, entered all your info, let it marinate for a few minutes and then, before you knew it you talked YOURSELF into them on Niketalk. Yea, it was that type of release.

#31 NIKE AIR JORDAN XIII WHITE RED BLACK & BLACK RED

 Two OG color way’s of arguably one of the best Jay’s of all time need I say more?  While the shape wasn’t overly impressive and  -for some reason- JB can no longer have the cotton liner behind the tongue stitched in without it protruding OVER the tongue they were still cop worthy.

#30 PHARRELL x ADIDAS x CHANEL NMD HU

The midsole on these isn’t overly impressive looking but the rest of the shoe is clean and this particular collab shoe was the one to own.  Done up in especially quality material’s you could every day stunt in these.


#29 NIKE AIR JORDAN 1 OG ROYAL

The only reason these OG gems didn’t wind up higher is because you have plenty of options to choose from as far as quality wearable pairs.  With that said JB continued blessing collectors with quality OG color way’s of the Jordan 1 to fill the voids in their collections and this was yet another.  While they were still a pain in the butt to acquire straight up, they were still attainable if you really wanted them and were willing to do a little work.  Overall a great release that should be in anyone’s Jordan 1 collection.

#28 NIKE VANDAL SUPREME OG SILVER/ ORANGE ‘DOC BROWN’

Image via Bait

If you’re a fan of the Vandal then these drops would look real good next to your black silver terminator 1 Vandal retros and you knew it, which is why you probably copped. While I personally prefer the silver Vandal retro’s from the 2008 VTG pack that  appears to be closer to the OG parachute like material of the OG’s, 2017’s drop is a close second as far as retro’s go and thats fine.  Add in the Doc browns and well you have number 28.

#27 NIKE AIR JORDAN IV X KAWS

Probably the first thing I asked myself looking at these was “is that suede on the midsole of a Jordan IV?!” Then came the sculpture like branding and logo’s coupled with an extremely rich suede and glow in the dark sole and it was just the right mixture of art, youth and class in one of my all time favorite model’s and both color way’s were shoes you could rock every day with pretty much anything. Still, I had my reservations about whether or not these would fly off shelves if they had say the same production numbers as the motorsport 4’s, especially after seeing the latest Uniqlo drop slow to fly off the shelves (which is completely normal by the way) and while that doesn’t make a shoe dope or wack in my eyes it landed these a little lower than maybe some might have expected.

#26 NIKE DUNK SB X STAPLE PIGEON

IMAGE VIA SNEAKERNEWS

It was great to see the pigeon back on a dunk low and these looked real good.  The hype was still there (although not at the mayhem level of the initial drop) but people were still excited to get themselves a piece of the pigeon pie.

#25 NIKE AIR MORE UPTEMPO ‘ASIA HOOP PACK’


After torturing everyone in 2016 by only dropping these in GS sizes, Nike finally did a mens drop for 2017.  All was right again, thee end.

 #24 NIKE AIR ZOOM GENERATION 1 RETRO

It only took FOURTEEN YEARS  but hey, thats not a long time to  re issue the rookie shoe for your top active athlete in a retro friendly era right? right?  Yea, moving a long Nike did right by these. Originally designed after Lebron’s Hummer, his first signature is a crowd favorite that did well in 2017 and appears to be moving right a long in 2018.  If you don’t have the funds to snag a set now, don’t sweat it because up until a year or two ago the OG drop was still affordable (and wearable).

#23 NIKE AIR MAX 97 SILVER BULLET AND GOLD 

 

A few years ago these could be had with no issues.  Suddenly for 2017 they became a pain to track down.  Eventually additional inventory begun to show up after its initial drop but there was no denying that Nike breathed new life into the AM 97 in 2017.  The only thing that kept these from cracking the top 20 was the fact that you still had wearable options for both color way’s in past releases.

#22 PUMA SUEDE MADE IN JAPAN “COLLECTORS” PURPLE YELLOW

IMAGE VIA SNEAKER FREAKER

PUMA did what few companies of their size do and that is to consult with their most die hard fan to make a shoe that the community would love.  Personally I’m not a huge fan of the color combination but the attention to the details such as shape and materials was something that EVERY brand should pay close attention to.  Let’s hope this shoe set in motion more of these such releases of the suede.

 #21 ASICS GEL LYTE 1 OG WHITE/BLACK/ORANGE

Another low key banger from 1987 that was overshadowed by the AM1 anniversary, the Asic’s Gel Lyte 1 saw a very quiet release.  Whether you wanted to get away from the big 3, add some variety to your collection of AM1’s or just cop a dope shoe then this was worth picking up.

#20 EWING ATHLETICS CONCEPT HI ‘ANTHONY MASON TRIBUTE SHOE’

Anthony Mason Jr teamed up with Ewing Athletic’s for a special PE dedicated to the memory of his father -former New York Knick and team mate to Patrick Ewing -Anthony Mason Sr.  Fit and finish were on point, came in a dope white orange and blue with special packaging and all proceeds went to the Mason family’s Family On Three Foundation. If you picked these up in 2017 then you picked up one of the best of the year.

#19 NIKE AIR VAPORMAX MOC TRIPLE NOIR


The Vapor Max line was super hyped this year and although -thus far- I didn’t find them to be all that revolutionary as far as comfort goes many people did.  Comfort aside the laces could make them look a tad funky but these triple black Moc’s solved that and made one of 2017’s most hyped up shoes all the more desirable.

#18 FILA FX 100 ARCTIC ENIGMA PURPLE

For 2017 FILA dropped a real gem when they gave us this OG color way of the FX 100 – a color way that last retro’d in 2010 as part of an extremely limited collaboration collection between FILA and Packer Shoes. Fit and finish was super on point and although that last hit of red on the F was missing from the rear ankle support these were overall a better quality release than the Packer Shoes drop and more widely available.

#17 NIKE AIR MAX 97 OG BLACK/VOLT/METALLIC SILVER JAPAN

The Air Max 97 had a solid year and these once Japanese exclusives were a very welcome surprise.  Nike did right by them and of course……..They sold out.

#16 NIKE AIR MAX 1 ‘JEWEL’ (ALL COLORWAY’S)

 

You want Jewel Air Max 1’s? Ok, how about a #@$% ton of them, all with solid quality and all in dope clean color way’s? I don’t think I could fit all the gem’s Nike dropped for the ever popular jewel AM1 but lets just say that if you stocked up for 2017 then you’ll be good for another 20 years.

#15 NIKE AIR JORDAN XIII RETRO LOW BLUE AND  CHUTNEY

Nineteen ninety eight was a good year for many things.  N.O.R.E., It’s Dark & Hell Is Hot, Capital Punishment, Moment of Truth and of course the Jordan XIII (yea I know, music to kicks real fast).  Some might argue that these should definitely rank higher and truthfully speaking you have an argument.  This was the first time both color way’s re-issued for the low’s and Nike did right by them.  While the chutney’s weren’t highly desirable when they first dropped everyone had plenty of time to salivate over them as year have gone by.  The blue low’s on the other hand have always been desirable (even during their initial release) and so once both hit stores neither lingered very long.

#14 JORDAN BRAND JUMPMAN PRO QUICK ‘MOTORSPORT’

 

The Jumpman Pro Quick was quite possibly the most popular Team Jordan shoe of the time period and even more specifically in this motorsport color way.  Originally worn by Eddie Jones  this model has seen random retro releases over the years but never before has this highly coveted color way been reissued until 2017.  While the blue wasn’t quite as vibrant and the leather not as soft as the OG, they were still good enough to give you warm fuzzie’s and keep the OG vibe in tact.

#13 NIKE AIR JORDAN 1 OG METALLIC WHITE/RED

If you’ve been after a full set of OG metallic one’s then you know 1. Just how hard it is to track down an OG pair and 2. If you can, just how much money they cost.  With that said this was a very very VERY welcome drop and of course Nike got them right (for the most part). For me, the only downside to this shoe was  how they lean forward towards the heel -which can make them dig into your ankles (all the one’s I’ve owned from the newer retro’s over the past year have had this issue)- but if you didn’t have this issue then these were a must.

#12 NIKE AIR MAX 1/97 VF SW “SEAN WOTHERSPOON”
image via Flight Club

Sean Wotherspoon might be the Paul Wall of the shoe industry as his AM 1/97 became the peoples footwear champ of 2017. Something about the choice of material’s in combination to the color way and decision to combine the Am 97 and Am1 worked magic on this drop from the Round 2 Vintage founder. You see, for the 30th anniversary of the Air Max 1, twelve people were invited to design the future of Air as part of Vote Forward from Nike -the first ever Air Max designed by the community, for the community- with the winner being Sean Wotherspoon. If you were tight that you saw these on all your favorite celeb’s but couldn’t snag a pair then you should be delighted to know that Nike has a global launch for these to take place in March 2018. Lets also keep our fingers crossed that Nike is smart enough to not just keep this a one and done relationship.

#11 NIKE AIR FOAMPOSITE 1 ROYAL XX

Sometimes we can take for granted releases of our favorite classics with the over abundance of releases year in and year out.  In the case of the Royal Foam 1’s 20th anniversary drop most that wanted them jumped on them and while restocks of scattered sizes happened for some time, unless your checkout game was on point you were usually left with a “no longer instock”.

#10 NIKE AIR FORCE 1 WHITE/WHITE ‘ROCAFELLA RECORDS’

Rocafella ya’ll.  This may very well be the greatest mostly white Air Force 1  ever released.  Originally exclusive to Rocafella Records friends and family, Nike decided to share the festivities of the AF1’s 35 anniversary with the iconic label and the public alike.  Quality materials coupled with the iconic logo and all its history to go with it had many beasting while throwing diamonds in the sky.

#9 NIKE AIR HUARACHE 91 OG WHITE/GAME ROYAL


I’m not quite sure how it happened but somehow this OG color way of the Huarache runner dropped – a color way that hasn’t seen a retro since the highly coveted 2013 drop- complete with the OG tongue tag, improved shape AND correct two tone heel strap aaaaaaaaaaaand no one was really talking about them.  Matter of fact they went on sale in just about every size.  That doesn’t distract from the fact that this was indeed one of the biggest releases of 2017.  Never before has a retro of the Huarache runner dropped with the correct tongue tag -and in this color way the two tone heel strap -.  During their original run back in the day they were sported by everyone from Spike Lee -while appearing on SNL- to Jerry Seinfeld back in the day, but so far seem to have only released overseas.  Lets hope and pray for a wider a release of these and all the OG color way’s in 2018.

#8 ADIDAS YEEZY WAVE RUNNER 

These might have been the ultimate love/hate shoe of the year.   Kanye wisely tapped industry veteran Steven Smith  to design what would be his first venture into a high end runner of sorts.  What they came up with was something that was dope and different, something the shoe industry needed.  While the PRADA CUP like tongue and upper panel made them a look a little unfinished, the choice of color, design of the lower half of the shoe and choice of materials created a shoe that was futuristic fuego with a nod to rebellious design’s of the past.

#7 NIKE AIR SPIRIDON x STASH

When it comes to sneaker collaborator’s STASH has to be one if not THEE most consistent. His signature variations of blue, grey and white worked like magic on the Spiridon making them a must have along side your OG color way’s and brought these in at number 7.

#6 (3-Way Tie) NIKE AIR MAX 1 OG White/University Red, White/Game Royal & White Dark Obsidian

If you are a big fan of Air Max 1’s then I feel very sorry for your bank account because in 2017 Nike kept feeding you and feeding you and feeding you and feeding you…….seriously, almost no dope Air Max 1 from years gone by was left unreleased but it was the OG color way’s from the shoes initial release that were the main attraction for many.  Improved shape, proper materials wider availability, THIS is the way you celebrate a shoes anniversary.   Hand clap.

 

#5 NIKE AIR SPAN II Retro Black/Dust/White/Laser Blue

Maybe you had to be there to understand how this relatively plain shoe -which originally dropped back in 1990- wound up at the number  5 spot in a list of the 50 hottest sneakers of the year.  Maybe.  Originally scheduled to release early 2018, Nike quietly dropped these right before the new year arrived (as did Undefeated) and OG heads begun quietly spreading the word.  This was a shoe that during its initial release was highly coveted even amongst tech shoes of the era. It didn’t need over the top flash but something about the “Air Span” font on the shoe coupled with some tasteful color blocking always made these look and feel special.  Not everything from the past is an absolute must have, these are.

#4 NIKE AIR MAX 1 ‘WHAT THE AIR’

IMAGE VIA HYPEBEAST

Sometimes shoes like this are mainly hype based off their limited availability but in the case of this drop that wasn’t really the case.   Something about the mixture of a high quality all black leather upper, that mudguard that celebrates the AM1’s heritage and a gum bottom came together for one magical Air Max 1.  Unless Nike decides to re-release these sometime down the line, I can see them going for a grip.

#3 PUMA JAMMING

This could have been the number one shoe but, I don’t know of enough people that have actually tested them out and been able to compare them to boost -go figure-.  Still, the word on the street is that this shoe is a game changer and overall they look dope with great potential and a serious threat to dethrone Boost.  If the tech holds up to its hype look for them to be a serious threat for the number one spot of everyones list in 2018.

 #2 NIKE AIR JORDAN III ‘ATMOS’

The Atmos Jordan  III was packed in with another highly coveted shoe in the Air Max 1 premium but of the two this was the one to own and here is why.  While the Air Max 1 is a dope shoe that goes for hundreds -up to over a grand -this variation of the Jordan III could have EASILY been part of the original line up back in 1988.  Its very time period specific although with a slight update via icey soles (that I could have done without), reminiscent of shoes like the Air Safari that dropped in 87 and the Air Assault that dropped in 1988.  Finished off in premium materials with the Nike air treatment and this drop was a no brainer as the number two shoe of the year.

 

#1 NIKE ZOOM VAPORFLY ELITE WITH ZOOMX

The Zoom VaporFly Elite was a very bright spot in an otherwise quiet year but unfortunately this years number one wasn’t available for purchase to the general public (the comparable Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% was available).  No, the shoe that Eliud Kipchoge was wearing while attempting  to break the two-hour mark for a full marathon -and came close, finishing only 25 seconds away- was only available as a give away which required runners to download the Nike+ Run Club app and then participate in a global 5k run on May 7th or May 14th (or both). Runners who participated were then entered into a raffle with the possibility  to win a pair in sizes 8, 9 or 10 only. What brought these to number one though wasn’t the shoes exclusivity but rather its awesome modern good looks (with a slight retro vibe) and of course its ground breaking technology that the Journal Of Sports Medicine  concluded would benefit runners in a way that hasn’t been seen before.  If you were fortunate enough to snag a pair through the raffle then props to you because you snagged the number one shoe of the year.