2016 has been a game changing year for sneakers. Those of you that have been following sneakers closely for the last 3-10 years will have noticed a major shift in hype with sneaker brands and styles in 2015-2016. Remember the days of every single Jordan retro selling out, every weekend? It didn’t matter what colorway, they would always sell out, and most were major general releases. Fast forward to this weekend, and the new adidas Yeezy 350 v2 is releasing, which is causing all sorts of buzz and anxiety among sneakerheads, hoping they are able to purchase a pair.
So when you discuss something like “Sneaker of the Year”, what does that mean? If you look from the consumer side, it might be easy to assume the Yeezy 750 or 350 sneakers are the best shoe of the year since the resale value is up to 10x the retail cost. Kanye’s exposure has created a domino effect and really helped boost adidas cool factor and exposure (pun intended). All that being said, I want to focus on a specific sneaker model and colorway for sneaker of the year.
Moving on, the Jordan retros don’t sell out like they used to, but that doesn’t mean it is dead. The Air Jordan 4 Cement, Air Jordan 12 Flu Game, and Air Jordan 1 BRED are 1 classics brought back and sell out any time they restock. Looking in the future the Air Jordan 3 True Blue and Air Jordan 11 Space Jam will likely be huge sales for the brand also. Any of these 5 could hold the title of “Sneaker of the Year” as well due to the hype and sheer volume of pairs sold (*estimated hundreds of thousands vs tens of thousands of Yeezys).
So to summarize what I think the “Sneaker of the Year” will be, I think that it all comes down to the last weeks of the 2016 year, as it does almost every year because of the Jordan Brand holiday release of the Air Jordan 11. I am assuming the “Space Jam” Air Jordan 11 retro will take the cake again this year as sneaker of the year because it is a model and colorway that is highly sought after. If they make a million pairs of these (like they did the AJ11 72-10 last holiday season) they will no doubt sell out in my opinion and this time with much more more hype than the 72-10 since the colorway is more coveted among sneakerheads. Also, I chose these over the Air Jordan 1 “Banned” because the last date these sneakers releases was 2013, vs the Space Jam’s previous retro in 2009.
Why do I think this deserves the crown over the Yeezy releases? While the resale of the Yeezy models is are flames, I wouldn’t consider these a sneaker of the year only because they have so many colorways rumored for the rest of the year. If I was including the sneaker model in the category and not a specific colorway, then you would have to include the other Air Jordan 11’s that released this year such as the Cherry 11 lows etc. Pound for pound, with specifically 1 sneaker release taking the crown, I think the Space Jam 11s will have significantly more reach than any Yeezy release and this is simply due to Jordan Brand keeping up with the demand more so than adidas will be able to for the Yeezy line. That ultimately means any of the Yeezy releases will have profound amounts of hype behind them, so if you are trying to determine sneaker of the year based on hype and resale, then any of these Yeezy releases would place in front of the JB launches. I also would say if you were basing the sneaker of the year on newer models, then the ultra boost would be the winner due to the market shift to these cloudlike comfortable sneakers, but I was basing this on a single sneaker release.