July 14, 2022 by Joey Birch
We’ve already looked back at our favourite releases of the year to date as well as looking forward to our most anticipated sneakers for the rest of 2022. However, we are yet to focus on our favourite collaborations from the year thus far.
It’s important to note that we are only able to stick to the collaborations that have come out despite others that have been announced for the year ahead.
That said, in no particular order, here is the list of our favourite sneaker collaborations of 2022 so far.
Gucci x adidas Gazelle
When it comes to the full collection of clothing between adidas and Gucci, it can seem a little garish. When it first debuted on the runway during Milan Fashion Week’s FW22 collections, many sneaker enthusiasts were turned off by the sneakers on show despite the collaboration being named one of the biggest of the year.
However, four months later, we can finally see the collection of sneakers without the clothing. It’s safe to say that they speak for themselves, being a strong collection of luxury sneakers that still allows for the classic terrace style silhouette to stay true to its retro heritage.
The seven-pair collection features a myriad of colourways utilising a variety of premium suedes in addition to a brown monogram pair. While the collection may be bright for some, Gucci and adidas have managed to create an intriguing product that stays true to the old-school original.
Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1
After the highly anticipated collaboration was spotted on the feet of the Houston rapper last year, a slue of mockups and leaks arrived almost immediately with speculation as to what colourways there might be. So far, two of those have been correct with others still rumoured for later release.
Nevertheless, the two colourways that have arrived, in addition to the Air Trainer 1s, provide a fresh take on a Travis sneaker. Incorporating details from the 1998 Nike ‘Pocket Knife’, the Air Max 1 is added to Scott’s impressive catalogue.
Notre x Vans OG Style 36 LX - Editors Pick
Something slightly different, it’s the simplicity and tonal colour palette used on Chicago-based retailer Notre’s third project with Vans that makes them so special. After their first two releases in 2018 and 2020 on the Old Skool, Notre took the 1970s OG Style 36 LX for their third project.
Releasing in three colourways, it’s the ‘Matcha’ pair that stands front and centre with a timeless finish on a classic silhouette with the subtle Notre detailing incorporated into the Vans wave on the lateral side of the shoe.
JJJJound x New Balance 990V3 ‘Olive’
New Balance, who are celebrating 40 years of the 990 series this year, has re-emerged and continues to dominate as one of the greatest footwear brands in the market, working alongside a vast variety of brands, designers and artists to create a vast catalogue of exceptional releases.
While JJJJound, the Montreal-based online mood board turned brand and serial collaborator, has released two colourways in conjunction with New Balance this year on the 990V3 as well as an all-black 990V4, it’s the ‘Olive’ variant V3 that takes our pick.
The soft green that looks excellent in images, looks even better in hand. Sitting atop a minimal white and off-white midsole with matching laces, the overall aesthetic lends itself to JJJJound’s usually minimal, premium, projects.
Concepts x Nike Air Max 1
Inspired by the 1969 Woodstock festival held in Bethel, New York, the 2022 Concepts x Nike Air Max 1 is as eclectic as it is exciting. Arriving in three separate colourways, the pack celebrates the 35th anniversary of the Air Max 1 by taking inspiration from a seemingly obscure source.
In usual Concepts fashion, the project subverts what we are used to, taking a silhouette that we know and love and creating what could arguably be looked at as a wearable piece of art similar to their other work such as the Lobster Nike SB Dunk series.
Each pair includes its own details, with the ‘Heavy’ variant featuring a myriad of features. It’s the denim panels seen across all three pairs that make these special. With each individual shoe being dyed differently, each one is completely different making them unique in addition to promoting the owner to wear their pair with faux mud splatters on the midsole in addition to the denim getting better with each wear.
KITH x New Balance 990V3 ‘Daytona’
Ronnie Fieg’s KITH and New Balance are no strangers. After Fieg announced the 2022 ‘990’ collection last month that features a V1, V2, V3 and V4 model, it was the 990V3 ‘Daytona’ that took the top spot for us.
With each pair inspired by some of Fieg’s childhood memories as well as previous KITH x New Balance collaborations, the V3 ‘Daytona’ looks back to the 2013 colourway applied to the NB 1600 that is in reference to Ronnie’s holidays at Daytona Beach.
Featuring a variety of rich colours in a bright but seamless finish, the Daytona is an excellent colourway on a popular NB model catering for fans both old and new.
Hello Kitty x Nike Air Presto
It’s the history of the Hello Kitty x Nike Air Presto that gives them a place on this list. With two of the patterns originally designed by YEEZY’s Steven Smith and Fragment Design’s Hiroshi Fujiwara, only 10-24 pairs of the Presto were released despite Nike advising that 500 would be produced, according to Smith. As a result, the elusive pairs have become a treasure hunt for Presto collectors.
While the Hello Kitty monogram certainly isn’t for everyone, its eventual wider release is important and as such makes it one of the best collaborations of 2022 thus far.
Nocta x Nike Hot Step Air Terra
Drake’s first signature sneaker with Nike under his brand ‘Nocta’ arrived earlier this year and it was met with varied responses. Drake has been a key collaborator with Nike and Jordan Brand for some time now, a relationship that in 2018 seemed to be in jeopardy over discussions of the 6 Gods' possible move to adidas which eventually never came to fruition.
Nevertheless, after much anticipation and delays due to production difficulties, Nike released the ‘Hot Step Air Terra’. Upon the initial reveal, people immediately compared the shoe to an Air Max 95 or even an older K Swiss silhouette. Featuring ‘G Tech’ technology from the Nike Air Terra Goatek from 1999, the later colourways of the Hot Step are generating further hype for what’s to come as well as opening the discussion as to what we might see next from Drake and Nike.
Nike Kobe 6 Protro ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’
After the tragic passing of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, the partnership between the Kobe Bryant estate and Nike seemed to be over after Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, asked that the sneakers are sold with all proceeds going to the Mambacita Sports Foundation. However, despite not signing a contract renewal with Nike in 2021, the Nike Kobe 6 Protro ‘Mambacita’ was sent out to retailers while Bryant’s wife and children did not receive a pair.
After a long and illustrious partnership between the two which had started in 2003, the bitter end to the deal was a controversial one. That was until March this year when Nike announced that the partnership was to be resumed.
The Mambacita Sweet 16 went on sale on the 1st of May (Gigi Bryant's birthday) with all the proceeds going to the Foundation. At the time the partnership was ended, it seemed that it may taint Bryant's legacy and the 21-year-long relationship between the athlete and Nike. However, the revitalisation of the partnership in addition to the beloved Kobe 6 Protro being sold in the way Vanessa asked, gives the Nike Kobe 6 ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ a place on the list of the top 10 collaborations of 2022 so far.
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