Best Sneakers of 2016...So Far

The Best Sneakers of 2016

It’s no surprise that Nike and adidas dominate our midyear rankings, more specifically NikeLab and adidas Originals, two divisions that have been showing strength over the last six months. In 2016 there are simply more options out there for every level of sneaker customer. And the market is only getting bigger and better as the year goes on. But for now, here are our favorite kicks of the year so far.

For purchase of a sneakers, click on the photo of that sneaker.

Nice Kicks x adidas Consortium NMD R1 PK

To date, this is the only collaborative version of the almighty NMD that we’ve seen from adidas, although we have reason to believe that more are on the way. The Nicks Kicks NMD fell under adidas’ Consortium banner, standing out from other NMD drops thanks to its sublimated red and black tie-dye upper, inspired by vintage concert posters and local art from Austin, Texas, the home of Nice Kicks. The collaborative NMD also featured a Nice Kicks-branded heel tab.

Nike KD 9 “Zero”

Does Kevin Durant have the best shoe in basketball? As it currently stands, yes. While the regular season belonged to Steph and LeBron stole the show in the Finals, KD will be all the talk of the offseason and his shoe will dominate the summer. And while the move to Oakland will help keep his name hot, it’s the combo of Flyknit and Zoom Air for $150 that will do numbers before play even starts.

Nike Air Force 1 Flyknit

The Nike Air Force 1 Ultra Flyknit Mid Red Black is one of the amazing variations from the upcoming AF 1 Mid Ultra Flyknit Pack. This is a huge release as the silhouette has a huge fan base due to the shoe's comfortable construction style and modern aesthetic.

The pair is dressed in a mix of university red and black fused colourway. It features a Flyknit heel and toe which are covered mainly in red with little black hits to create a contrast. There are additional black hits on the ankle strap. Branding is visible on the tongue and back heel with swoosh logos on the sidewalls in leather. The pair is completed with a white sole unit.

Air Jordan 1 High OG David Letterman

A standout David Letterman-inspired Air Jordan 1 will be releasing this year, as the model draws inspiration from the day MJ made a guest appearance on the David Letterman Show, fresh off his 63-point playoff performance against the Boston Celtics during the first round of the 1986 Playoffs.

Essentially utilizing what Jordan wore for the interview, the sneaker flaunts bright crimson as its majority tone across the leather upper, in addition to Midnight Navy and University Blue detailing for a bold touch of contrast. Most prominently located on the laces, tongue, inner lining, Swoosh branding and outsole, a white midsole is sandwiched in between to finish off the profile.

adidas D Rose 7 "Solar Red"

The Primeknit version of Derrick Rose's seventh signature makes its debut with the release of the adidas D Rose 7 "Solar Red." The sneaker features a solar red and white upper with a full-length Boost midsole and a translucent ice green outsole.

Nike Free RN Flyknit "Medal Stand"

Nike brings volt footwear back to the Olympics with the release of the Nike Free RN Flyknit "Medal Stand." Similar to the Flyknit Trainer from 2012, Team USA Olympic athletes will wear the sneaker on the medal stand at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. The running shoe features a volt Flyknit upper with a black Swoosh and a white Free outsole.

adidas ACE 16+ PureControl Ultra Boost "Sonic Yellow"

Adidas brings its PureControl soccer boot off of the pitch and onto the street with the release of the adidas ACE 16+ PureControl Ultra Boost "Sonic Yellow." The sneaker features a sonic yellow Primeknit upper sitting on top of a white Ultra Boost midsole and a sonic yellow Continental Rubber outsole.

Reebok Classic x Kendrick Lamar

Reebok and Kendrick Lamar join forces once again to release the Reebok Classic KL x Kendrick Lamar. Inspired by Los Angeles and rival gang unity, the sneaker features a nubuck suede upper done in skull grey. Both the left and right sneaker feature a large exposed stitch going down the center of the sneaker. The left sneaker features excellent red accents, inspired by the Bloods gang, and the right sneaker features collegiate royal accents, inspired by the Crips gang. Both sneakers feature Reebok branding with each letter removed except for the "k."

adidas Crazy Explosive Primeknit "Scarlet"

Adidas introduces its 2016 performance basketball sneaker with the release of the adidas Crazy Explosive Primeknit "Scarlet." Designed for the likes of Andrew Wiggins, the sneaker features a solid red and scarlet Primeknit upper with a matching sole that exposes white Boost.

adidas NMD

In 2016, sneaker culture is most certainly mass culture and no shoe has more mass appeal than the adidas NMD. Running off the trail paved by the Ultra Boost and Yeezy franchise, this retro rooted but more than modern model has moved in bunches thanks to its accessible use of Boost cushioning, relatively low price point and wide distribution.

This inline model may have shocked store employees by causing lineups during its early rollout, but its staying power throughout the year says a lot more about a market that’s moving towards cheaper, consistent cool versus top dollar drops.

Air Jordan 11 Low “Cherry”

The patent toting Air Jordan 11 Low is as easy and as flashy of a wear as it gets. Taking the tooling from the Tinker title toter down a notch for lifestyle wear, the model has proved a spring and summer hit in color schemes old and new.

The Air Jordan 11 Low “Cherry” proved a mix of both, re-releasing a favorited and familiar color scheme of the retooled retro. We’re definitely hoping the “Baby Blue” and “Zen Grey” variations come back in 2017.

adidas NMD City Sock

Sneaker culture has long been living in the past, but the adidas NMD City Sock sure looks like something from the future. Functional for everyday life but certainly not designed for a particular athletic activity, the City Sock sees modern minimalism coming off anything but boring. When adidas Originals stated they were “the new” they sure meant it.

Under Armour Curry MVP Pack

Don’t let social media or convienant amnesia fool you: Steph Curry had one hell of a season. In fact, he had back-to-back seasons that were so good Under Armour was able to put out this two-pair MVP pack.

Sure, the “Chef” Curry story should have never made it out of the kitchen, but the proof is most certainly in the pudding on this package that honors the most prolific player on the most prolific team of the last two seasons. Cleveland’s comeback deserves all the credit in the world, but let’s not forget who’s been owing the ESPN App and causing coaches to re-think their entire game plan these last two years.

Nike Kobe XI “Black Mamba”

Of the 13 different styles included in Nike’s ” Black Mamba” pack, which honored the legendary Kobe Bryant, it’s hard to justify highlighting just one. Hard stats show us that the most sought after sneaker in the pack, as well as the fourth most valuable sneaker of 2016 Q1 was the Kobe 1. But Bryant laced up a pair of “Black Mamba” XIs for his last time donning Lakers colors, and the nostalgia factor here is too hard to overlook.

Just Don x Jordan II Retro “Beach”

Don C once again linked up with the folks at Jumpman to re-imagine the Jordan II. Originally crafted in Italy, the II made its debut in 1987, bringing luxury to the basketball court for the first time. While Don’s first collaboration with Jordan brought us a fully tonal blue II with quilted detailing, this time around the Chicago-born streetwear visionary presented the same silhouette in a “Beach” colorway.

Air Jordan IV  Retro “Cement”

Thanks in part to its infamous cameo in Spike Lee’s 1989 cult favorite Do The Right Thing, the “Cement” Air Jordan IV has earned its place in the Jordan chronicles. Originally released the same year as the film, the “Cement” IVs are one of the most beloved in the Jumpman franchise, and 2016’s release was only the third in the history of this particular colorway, following the initial release, and one in 1999.

adidas Ultra Boost “Triple White”

Since being spotted on the feet of Kanye West during several live performances last year, this smash-hit and leader of the Ultra Boost category has actually been treated to three slightly different “Triple White” drops. A steady demand for the whited-out colorway has allowed this sneaker to sell out time after time, helping to make the Ultra Boost one of adidas’ most esteemed silhouettes. This latest 2016 version featured small tweaks like adjustments to the knitted upper, and different shades of grey on the toe box.

adidas Originals YEEZY Boost 750 “Grey/Gum”

After a considerable amount of rumors and speculation – as has become standard leading up to every YEEZY drop – the third 750 iteration from Kanye West and adidas Originals arrived on June 11. Setting it apart from the previous two 750s, the “Grey/Gum” version featured a luminescent outsole, in addition to a grey upper saddled on top. You already know the bots ate this one up within seconds.

Air Jordan XII Retro “Flu Game”

While there doesn’t seem to be a real consensus on whether MJ actually had the flu that historic night, this particular colorway of the Jordan XII still retains its place in the books, thanks to Jordan’s 38-point performance during Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. The black and red “Flu Game” colorway was a nicely timed addition to an already strong year for the Jordan XII.

Concepts x Nike Free Trainer 1.0 “Thermal”

In January, Concepts collaborated with Nike on the Free Trainer 1.0, a newly developed training shoe honed on providing the feeling of barefoot running. The shoe’s tongue was constructed from a thermal reactive material that changes color to match the shoe’s upper when heated up, while a clean white midsole acted to nicely juxtapose the multicolor design. Definitely one of Concepts most original collaborations in recent memory.

Nike Air More Uptempo

This Scottie Pippen favorite – 1996’s Nike Air More Uptempo -made a reappearance this year in its original colorway, as well as several new color schemes for the modern sneakerhead. Despite the retro basketball shoe’s chunky, aging look, many embraced the 2016 re-issue. The shoe’s overstated “AIR” branding is a reference to the aesthetics of ’90s graffiti and pop art.

Solebox x adidas Consortium Ultra Boost Uncaged

As part of the Consortium World Tour, adidas and Berlin’s Solebox came together for an all-German release, cooking up one of the earliest Uncaged Ultra Boost models. The resulting shoe featured a Primeknit upper in several shades of grey, and flashes of red on the outsole and insole. As with most Solebox collaborations, this particular Hikmet Sugoer-designed Ultra Boost was an instant hit, going on to garner noteworthy profits on the resell market.

Supreme x NikeLab Air Max 98

When images of this project first leaked, many were doubting their legitimacy, but Supreme officially released four versions of this obscure Air Max family member in late April. The quartet included a blacked-out version, a navy blue version, a red version as a nod to Supreme’s famous box logo, and the highlight of the release – a snake pattern edition that you’ve probably spotted in more than one street style gallery on Highsnobiety.

Rihanna x PUMA Creeper

In late 2015, Rihanna added a platform sole to PUMA’s iconic Suede, creating the new, so-called Creeper silhouette for girls. Later in May 2016, the collaboration was reprised with another round of colorways, featuring two tonal black and white versions, as well as a Gucci-inspired makeup. Although this updated sneaker is strong enough to stand alone as a general release, the extra endorsement from Rihanna made the Creeper a must-cop for many.

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