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Kick Game’s Best Sneakers of 2022, So Far

Kick Game’s Best Sneakers of 2022, So Far

So far, 2022 is looking like one of the best years for sneakers in recent memory. From the usual contenders to brands that are reprising their place in the limelight, we have created a collection of our top picks from the year so far, in no particular order.

JJJJound x New Balance 990 V3 ‘Olive’ 

Montreal-based digital mood board turned brand, JJJJound has been creating a myriad of highly sought-after collaborations; arguably the biggest to date has been their first colourway of the New Balance 990 V3.

When taking into account New Balances' unstoppable success, a collaboration with JJJJound only seemed right. Featuring NBs usual high-grade materials in an incredibly clean Olive colourway throughout, the entire sneaker comes together to create a streamlined, timeless product.

While a second collaboration was later released, it’s the initial pair that manages to take the top spot with the colourway looking even better in person.

Union LA x Nike Dunk Low ‘Pistachio’ 

Union LA and Nike don’t seem to miss when it comes to their collaborative efforts. Since the release of the Air Jordan 1 in 2018, the LA streetwear boutique spearheaded by Chris Gibbs has been partnering with the Swoosh to create projects that are thought out and have a story to tell. 

Releasing in three colourways, collectively known as the ‘Passport Pack’, each design is inspired by early Nike Dunk colourways that Gibbs would see in Europe and Japan. The release aims to tell the story of the founder travelling around different geographic locations and finding the early inspirations and stock for his store.

Out of the pack, it’s the Pistachio colourway that takes centre stage. Inspired by the European exclusive colourway of the same name that was released in 2003, the light green and deep blue colour blocking work in perfect harmony with the see through mesh overlay that comes away to reveal a base of tumbled leather underneath. 

Air Jordan 4 Military Black 

The Air Jordan 4 will forever be held in many sneaker collectors' hearts. Originally released in 1989, the timeless silhouette designed by Tinker Hatfield has seen increased popularity throughout 2021-22. 

Despite the lack of ‘Nike Air’ on the heel tab of the Military Black, the colourway is still a strong contender on 2022’s sneaker of the year list. Minimal colour blocking on a timeless silhouette, it’s a simple recipe but it works every time.  

Concepts x Nike Air Max 1 ‘Heavy’

2022 marks 35 years of the Air Max 1. The sneaker that kickstarted the Air Max lineage. While there have been, and continue to be, a range of colourways and collaborations on the AM1 coming out, it’s the Concepts ‘Heavy’ that stands front and centre. 

Before you get to the sneaker itself, the inspiration behind the design for the pack is unique taking from late 60s music festivals in a magnitude of ways from the variety of materials and motifs on show to the smaller details including faux mud splatter on the midsole to mimic that of the muddy grounds they’d be worn on.

A key design feature that sets these apart from the rest is the use of denim on the toebox. With each shoe having a slightly different dye to the denim, you will never find another that matches. With the addition of denim ageing and getting better over time, Concepts and Nike have created a project that actively encourages you to wear your sneakers while celebrating a point place in time.

JJJJOUND x BAPE Bapesta

The calm, toned-down, aesthetic of JJJJound seems to blend seamlessly with the usually eclectic style of BAPE. Much like the aforementioned New Balance 990 V3, JJJJound has taken a classic silhouette and made it their own without having to use overt branding. 

Simplicity with a focus on quality materials is key to this collaboration creating a timeless aesthetic. With both brands having an almost cult following, it’s the partnerships that JJJJound is creating along with the retro resurgence of BAPE that makes this collaboration special showcasing some of the best work from both sides in recent memory. 

Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 2002R

The Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 2002R appears on this list for two reasons. The first is the fact that silhouette has seen mass appeal, providing NBs quality materials into a more affordable silhouette with a deep history. Secondly, and more importantly, is JFGs storytelling and message.

The 2002R, which was originally the 2002 before being re-released as the 2002R in 2019, has been met with a slue of attention which slowly grew following the release of the Salehe Bembury ‘Peace Be The Journey’, only to be fast-tracked by the Refined Future (AKA Protection Pack)

The 2002R (and equally and popular 550) was released as part of Freshgoods’ ‘Conversations Among Us’ project which aims to celebrate Black heritage and start conversations as the name suggests with accompanying videos online. With the additional storytelling connected to the project, the sneaker once again becomes a point of discussion over just another footwear release. 

Air Jordan 1 High ‘Georgetown’ 

While the Air Jordan 1 ‘Georgetown’ feels like it should be a retro of a classic colourway, 2022 was the first time we saw the colour palette grace the 1985 silhouette. In line with the other Air Jordan 1s released over the past couple of years, Jordan Brand has opted to utilise the ‘85 cut for the silhouette providing a higher ankle support and a more retro feel. 

During a time when we’re seeing a high number of AJ1 variations releasing, it’s the retro-feeling colourways that are taking the spotlight. 

Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 

Virgil Abloh will forever be known as one of the greatest artists of a generation. Following his sudden passing, a further sense of sentimentality has surrounded the work he produces. While they may not be released to the public in the usual fashion, Abloh’s work with Nike during his time at the Parisian fashion house was displayed in Brooklyn, New York, recently giving us the best look yet at the staggering 47-pair collection.

The way in which Abloh has been able to take inspiration from old school customs and bring it to the main stage in an official manner allows us to look back at those once questionable custom designs with rose-tinted lenses. 

Additionally, it’s the sentimentality surrounding the project that makes it so special. Remembering one of the greatest designers and artists of all time with a selection of sneakers that can also be considered works of art. 

HAL Studios x ASICS GEL-1130

Textured, tonal excellence. The Australian retailer Highs and Lows’ brand HAL Studios' first collaboration couldn’t have been better. Working on a lesser-known silhouette, the GEL-1130, the design is inspired by nature taking cues from trail walks. 

Taking a maximal minimalism approach, HAL Studios is further fueling the rise of ASICS during 2022, with key attention to detail and a focus on quality materials making them one of the best releases of the year.

Hidden NY x Salomon XT-4

The HIDDEN NY x Salomon XT-4 deserves a place on the top sneakers of 2022 so far thanks to its form and functionality. With the rise of outerwear brands including Arc'teryx taking over the streetwear scene, Salomon has also seen increased success with the two going hand in hand. 

While the collaboration between an Instagram platform and a heritage footwear brand seems like an odd proposition on paper, the two have come together seamlessly. With HIDDEN NY being a digital tastemaker within the streetwear industry and Salomon continuing to rise through the ranks as one of the most sought-after footwear brands at the time of writing, the collaboration showcases a brand that truly cares and understands its community by partnering with them to create a physical product. 

Despite already having a vast selection of incredible releases, there are still many more highly anticipated projects waiting in the wings. You can keep track of all the best releases with Kick Game.

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