Today’s the last day of 2014. It seems crazy that the year is almost (literally less that 24 hours) already over, but all good things must come to an end. Lots of crazy kicks were released this year, and there were several good things and several not-so-good things in the sneaker game just like every other year. However, even though it’s important to look back on everything that happened this last year, it’s even more important to look forwards to what might happen in the sneaker industry this year. Without further ado, here’s my reviews of what the major players did in 2014, as well as a few predictions for next year.
Unseating the king is no easy task, and Nike reigned supreme in 2014. With everything from the Yeezy 2 (K12’s #1 sneaker of 2014) to all the Flyknit innovations that were cranked out on everything from minimalist running shoes to Kobe Bryant’s ninth signature sneaker, to all the crazy HTM sneakers, Nike reigned supreme (no pun intended, as their collab AF1 was the #4 sneaker of the year, as chosen by K12) in 2o14.
It’s always somewhat difficult to look back on the year as a whole for Jordan Brand. The hype that they generate is so insanely high that it’s very difficult to give an unbiased review of the product that they put out. However, it’s safe to say that they did a pretty damn good job this year. Although most sneakerheads complained about the quality, they snapped up releases from the Infrared VI’s to the Legend Blue (or Gamma for all you old heads out there) XI’s. And with the “remastered” line dropping in ’15, we’re in for another big year from the folks at Jordan.
Although Nike was king this year, Adidas was a very close second. One could argue that they topped Nike in innovation with everything from their new Boost technology (if you don’t own any, make sure to get yourself a pair. One of the softest and most comfy shoes on the market) to reiterations on their classic models like the SL Loop, and there’s a good chance that they’ll put up a good fight to take the #1 spot from the Swoosh in 2o15 with all their innovation and the signing of influencers like Kanye West and Pharrell.
Reebok has become somewhat of a steady player in the sneaker game. With seemingly everyone from Concepts to Bape getting in on the collab Instapump Fury (the Bape collab was rated the #5 shoe of 2014 by K12) they continued to crank out a consistent amount of unique sneakers. Although they seem to have difficulty breaking into the top tier of sneaker companies, their signing of Kendrick Lamar is a big step in the right direction.
Asics continued their trend of dope collaborations in 2014, linking up with everyone from KicksOneTwo favorite Ronnie Fieg and Kith to Bait for collaborative shoes. With the continued resurgence of retro runners, Asics continues to hold steady and make their stamp in the sneaker game.
New Balance was a brand that held somwhat steady in 2014. With a slew of collabs (mainly their work with Concepts…who killed the collab game in 2014…seriously, who’s messing with them) and a venture into high-priced shoes with their Horween line, New Balance stayed with their theme of cranking out high-quality, long-lasting products.
Puma is a very interesting brand. Although they’ve got their core fanbase, they seem to have fallen somewhat from the lofty heights they’ve enjoyed in previous decades. However, they’ve signed the beautiful Rihanna to head their women’s line and utilized young rappers with avid fanbases like Casey Veggies and Rockie Fresh to push their product on a younger crowd. 2015 will be an instrumental year for Puma. They’ll either take a step ahead, or fall back into nothingness.
A favorite of K12 homie Matt, Saucony had a nice year. Like New Balance and Asics (and really the industry as a whole), they decided to go the retro route, releasing several classic models as well as collaborating with shops like Bodega and Packer Shoes as well as streetwear brands like Play Cloths. With a solid 2014 in the books, Saucony is looking to fully make their mark in the sneaker game in 2015.
That concludes the predictions/reviews for the sneaker industry in 2014/2015. Shoutout to other brands like Under Armour, Brooks, and Diadora that made a smaller splash this last year as well. As always, leave any questions or comments below or hit us on Twitter. And remember to have a very happy New Year!