What’s up, everyone? I’m Legendary Lade and I’m back with my final column of the year. My Top 5 sneakers of 2021! Without further ado, let’s get right into them.
The Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low in black. Whenever Supreme and Nike team up, it is bound to be a hit, and these SB dunks released in March affirmed that. Inspired by Supreme Dunk High collaborations from the past, the low-top pairs feature a premium white leather base complimented by overlays of faux crocodile skin. The icing on the cake is the metallic gold stars surrounding the midfoot region and the Nike check. Add in the Supreme lace lock and you’ve got one of the best SB dunks of the year!
What is a Top 5 sneaker countdown without Virgil Abloh? Here, he is making his second appearance on my Top 10 list with his Off-White x Air Jordan 2 Lows in white/red. The Jordan 2 Lows were considered the black sheep of the Jordan family and were left untapped by many collaborators past and present. Let’s start with the midsole cracking, which gives the effect of aged wear and tear. A new twist to a sneaker that we haven’t seen yet from him or Nike. Add to this, the reshaped rounded out toe, two options of “shoelaces” and Michael Jordan’s signature — in different spots due to the understanding that Jordan would not sign two pairs of the sneakers in the same spot — and you can see that attention to detail was not spared. With this sneaker, Virgil showed why he was the defining architect of our time. Long Live Virgil!
The Comme Des Garçons x Nike Air Foamposite One is my favorite pair of sneakers this year for many reasons. I was so excited when the quintessential New York sneaker received a high fashion makeover by none other than Rei Kawakubo herself, one of the fashion industry’s most elite and elusive designers. Its design has been altered, featuring an exterior shell with a maze-like three-dimensional ripple pattern across the forefoot and midfoot. To me, this is a grail sneaker so you might want to get a pair — or two — while you still can because in 2022 and beyond, when these are no longer readily available, you’ll be glad you did! You’re welcome in advance.
Without a doubt, the Fragment x Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Highs makes the list. The masterminds, multidisciplinary artist Hiroshi Fujiwara and musician/Hypebeast King Travis Scott, teamed up to merge their respective Jordan 1 High offerings from 2014 (Fujiwara) and 2019 (Scott). The shoe features a premium tumbled leather upper in white paired with Fragment’s desirable blue hue and the large inverted Swoosh on the sides that are pulled from Scott’s pair. Adding to the design are the duo’s respective logos stamped on the heel while a sail midsole and a blue outsole sit below. What’s not to love?
Drum roll, please! Coming in at No. 1…
The A Ma Mainere x Air Jordan 3s, “Raised by Women,” are unanimously heralded as the best collaboration of the year for many reasons — quality being the main one. Kudos to James Whitner and the Whitaker group for delivering a technically women’s sneaker so potent that all the guys had to have them too. Besides the storytelling behind the choice of the Air Jordan 3 (it is the first Jordan that his mother ever bought for James and his brothers), we have a sneaker that was stripped down to its core and reupholstered in luxury.
The muted grey and hints of purple, the yellowed heel, the replacement of elephant print for suede, the raw edges, and the subtle messaging throughout the sneaker. The quotes, “All We Have Is Each Other” and “You Have to be Comfortable Walking Alone,” which are more like ideologies, are hidden on the back of the heel tabs, while “Work Harder” is on the shoelace aglets. These elements combined to form this pair that has set the bar very high for any collaborations following. I’m intrigued to see what the Whitaker group has in store for 2022!
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