The final countdown is in effect.
We’re less than 24 hours away from the start of 2016, and it’s only right that we look back upon the best releases of 2015. It was a year of high peaks and low valleys for the sneaker game, but this year’s best releases can stack up with any other year’s in terms of pure, unadulterated fire. Although breaking down all our favorite releases (the list was about 40 shoes long before we started chopping it up) into only ten was a challenge, after careful deliberation we managed to pick the cream of the crop, and we’ve got them right here for you.
Without further ado, here’s the top 10 shoes of 2015:
10. Jordan I Pinnacle “Vachetta Tan”
High-quality, natural leather was a big trend in the footwear industry this year (thanks in large part to Hender Scheme), and although several brands put their own spin on the buttery, premium, natural leather sneaker, nobody did it better than Jordan Brand on this “Vachetta Tan” Pinnacle I. A truly premium leather upper adorning one of the best sneakers ever. What’s not to love?
9.Ronnie Fieg x Puma R698 “Sakura Project”
Every company wants to have a fade/gradient effect on their kicks now, but Ronnie Fieg did it first this year, and he did it best. Inspired by blooming sakura blossoms throughout Japan, this R698 combines premium materials with tons of little details and a clean retro aesthetic to make a special shoe. Unquestionably Ronnie’s best work this year.
8. Supreme x Jordan V “Camo”
Hypebeasts the world over soiled themselves with joy when this collaboration between Jordan and legendary skate/streetwear brand Supreme was announced. Although the white and black pair were both somewhat forgettable, Supreme’s signature chip camo pattern looks great on the Jordan V, and when two brands of this magnitude play to their strengths, things usually turn out well like they did here.
7. Don C x Jordan II “Just Don”
We’re going back to back with the Jordan collabs, as the “Just Don” Jordan II’s take the #6 spot this year. Legendary luxury snapback maker (and personal friend of Kanye West) Don C adorned the II (a very underrated Jordan model) with premium blue quilted leather, both on the outside and the inside. It was a breath of fresh air to see a clean monochromatic kick that wasn’t red, and Don C’s luxury touch took this all-blue II to the next level.
6. Jordan IV “Oreo”
Back for the first time since 1999, the “Oreo” Jordan IV was the best non-Jordan I retro of the year. A premium tumbled leather (even on the heel tabs..can you believe it?) made them last, and their clean colorway made them wearable with any type of outfit. Sometimes simple and straightforwards is best, and this Jordan IV helped prove that point.
5. Yeezy 750 Boost “Grey”
YZY SZN was in full effect with the release of the grey 750 Boosts. Any questions sneakerheads might have had about Kanye’s switch to Adidas being “successful” were instantly quelled when the hype train revved up to full speed with the release of his first collaborative shoe. Even people who were quick to bash the shoe and call it demeaning terms like “ugly” and “stupid” came around after they got accustomed to its unique aesthetic. That’s the power of Yeezus at work.
4. Jordan I “Chicago”
You can truly never go wrong with an OG color way of the Jordan I, and the “Chicago” was done full justice this year. The remastered quality? Nike Air on the tongue? The clean white, red, and black asthetic that everyone loves so much? Game over. Pro tip: if you’ve got a pair, throw the white laces in. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Jordan I “Shattered Backboard”
ANOTHER ONE (pun intended). 2o15 was a great year for any and all lovers of the Jordan I, and the “Shattered Backboard” was the best colorway of the I’s to drop all year. Although these orange, black and white beauties were in a tough competition for the #3 spot on this list with the Chicagos, they won out due to their clean design and great backstory (want to watch MJ break a backboard? Click here. The shoes were inspired by the uniforms his team wore in the exhibition game shown in that clip). One of the best non-OG Jordan I coloways to hit the market.
2. Yeezy 350 Boost “Turtledove”
You didn’t think YZY SZN was over when we showed you the 750’s at #5, did you? No shoe caused more of a frenzy this year than the 350 Boost, and although all four colorways that released (Turtledove, Pirate Black, Moonrock, and Oxford Tan) were clean, the Turtledove stands above as the best. Taking inspiration from minimal runners and sitting on a bed of full-length Boost foam, they were everything you could want from a Kanye West sneaker, and are arguably some of his best kicks ever.
1. Adidas Ultra Boost “White”
No shoe says “2015” more than the Ultra Boost, and no colorway of the Ultra Boost is more prominent than the all-white model. What was originally a super-tecnological, expensive running sneaker became so much more when Kanye West (who else) was continuously spotted wearing them. The shoes flew off the shelves, and continued to sell out even though they were restocked multiple times. They’re clean (the off-white accents on the upper really hit it off), minimal (one-piece Primeknit upper), and incredibly comfortable (the full-length Boost foam makes for the most cushioned ride you’ll ever have), and if the Ultra Boost foreshadows the direction sneakers are headed in, we’re more than happy to head in that direction right behind them.
What did you think the best shoe of 2015 was? Do you agree with all the shoes on this list? Would you flip the order? Put some different shoes on? Let us know what your top 10 shoes are in the comments or on Twitter, and be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the fire sneaker pictures you can handle. We’ll see you in 2016!
Editor’s Note: There were a few shoes that barely missed the cut. Honorable mentions go to the Ronnie Fieg x Diadora RF7000, October’s Very Own x Jordan “OVO” X, Air Max 95 “Neon”, Jordan I “Cyber Monday”, Jordan VI “Maroon”, and the Nike Air Trainer Cruz “Haystack” .