Kick Game’s Top 10 Sneakers of 2022

December 28, 2022 by Joey Birch

Kick Game’s Top 10 Sneakers of 2022

2022 in many ways has opened a new door within sneakers that had previously been left ajar, only allowing a select number of brands or silhouettes through (looking at you Nike Dunks, New Balance and Jordan 1s). However, this year has made way for a gallery of brands, silhouettes and colourways both old and new. From classic Air Jordan 1 colourways to intriguing offerings from Salomon, we hope 2023 will continue to challenge the usual trends that once had the sneaker industry in a headlock. 

With that said, below are our top 10 sneakers of 2022:

Air Jordan 4 ‘Black Canvas’ - Simplicity at its finest. The Air Jordan 4 has seen mass appeal throughout 2021/22 with Jordan Brand providing a selection of colourways and collaborations. Coined the poor man's Eminem 4s, the Black Canvas is a staple for any rotation, especially for those of us who can’t afford the real Eminem’s...

Concepts x Nike Air Max 1 - We would be remised not to mention at least one Air Max 1 on the sneaker of the year list considering that 2023 marks the 35th anniversary of the silhouette that kicked off the ‘visible air’ tidal wave masterminded by Tinker Hatfield. 

While we have been treated to an ongoing list of colourways, it’s the Concepts’ vision that stood front and centre for us with the ‘Heavy’ variant taking the top spot between the three options. 

A foray of details and materials elevates the entire sneaker, inspired by ‘60s music festivals with the inclusion of faux mud splatter on the midsole. In any case, trust Concepts to tell a great story within their sneaker design. 

JJJJound x New Balance 990V3 ‘Olive’ - Now I know what we said about New Balance et al having the sneaker industry in a headlock, and unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re us) that is very much still the case. But you can understand when they work with the acclaimed JJJJound to produce a minimal masterpiece of smooth pistachio suede and light detailing. 

The project lands the seventh spot on our top 10 for its versatility and classic JJJJound minimalism in addition to the usual high standards we’ve come to expect from NB’s Made in USA. 


Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 993 - When Joe Freshgoods and New Balance collaborate people pay attention. While the Chicago native had a number of projects this year with Boston’s finest, it was his selection of perfectly executed 993s that were our favourites. 

So good, we had to put forward three. Freshgoods is no stranger to curating a visually impressive sneaker and whether it was the dusty pink, smooth pistachio or bold blue - you’re not going to be disappointed. 

What made this collection bitter-sweet however was the news from the designer that this would be his last rodeo with New Balance. Where he goes next is yet to be seen; but we have a feeling it could be Vans. 

Tom Sachs General Purpose Shoe - Despite Tom Sachs, creator of one of the biggest sneakers of all time - the Mars Yard 2.0, doing everything in his power to deter people from remotely enjoying these sneakers with its leading advert announcing ‘boring’ they were, they’ve weirdly turned into one of the most intriguing pairs of 2022. 

In theory, the General Purpose Shoe should just be sitting on shelves, ready to pick up as and when you fancy a pair. However, it’s seen quite the opposite. Perhaps it's due to the Sachs’ name being attached or just because the concept and design is genuinely good but GPS has earned its place in the middle of our top 10 list.

Travis Scott Air Jordan 1 Low ‘Reverse Mocha’ - Yep, we’ve included them as well. When Travis Scott released his first collaboration with Nike on the Air Jordan 1 in 2019, the sneaker industry went into a meltdown, with the project almost instantly becoming a classic.

When news broke that the ‘Reverse Mocha’ was arriving, it was almost guaranteed that they’d be within the top 10, a perfect colourway on an equally perfect silhouette. As we head into 2023 we’re left asking, which silhouette will Scott touch next? 

A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 4 - James Whitner doesn’t miss. After last year's number 1 spot grabbing Air Jordan 3 ‘Raised By Women’, he left us impatiently waiting for a follow up which came in the form of an Air Jordan 1, 2, 4 and 12. Unlike the 3’s, the following projects seemed to follow a similar design ethos with the 4 blowing away the competition. 

Simple colour blocking, premium materials and subtle details are what Whitner’s A Ma Maniére does best, and they certainly didn’t disappoint on the Air Jordan 4.

Nike x Kobe Protro 6 ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ - A bittersweet project, following the tragic passing of Kobe and Gigi Bryant, it wasn’t certain whether the Kobe x Nike deal would continue. Nevertheless, thanks to Vanessa Bryant, the two parties signed a long-term deal that would see the continuation of Kobe products, in addition to the return of previous fan favourites. 

Released in honour of Kobe and his daughter Gigi, Nike released the ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ featuring Gigi’s name and jersey number on the shoe. A release that has Kobe fans elated while honouring one of the greatest of all time. 

Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 - One of Virgil Abloh’s last projects before his passing, the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 is nothing short of perfect. Creating 47 unique pairs, the collaboration speaks to a generation who grew up customising their sneakers with faux Gucci and LV print swooshes as well as standing as a testament to Abloh’s unrivalled work rate and incredible journey.

It’s unlikely that we’ll see a collaboration on this scale for many years to come. The only reason this collaboration wasn’t able to make the top spot was the price meaning that many aren’t able to get their hands on the release.

Air Jordan 1 ‘Lost and Found’ - Unrivalled on and off the court. The Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ returned this year in a reimagined ‘Lost and Found’ aesthetic, playing on the ‘pre-aged’ sneaker trend that seemingly peaked in 2022. While it’s not a direct retro, it’s hard to argue that the Air Jordan 1, a sneaker that many regards as the greatest sneaker of all time, doesn’t deserve the top spot. 

Jordan Brand didn’t hold back with the materials with this release, and better yet, the packaging. Conveying a story about how the sneakers were lost in a closet to be found years later still with the original receipt and price tags, the entire rollout was a reminder of why we love sneakers. 

Stay tuned for our most anticipated sneakers of 2023. In the meantime, why not read about Sneaker Partnerships To Watch in 2023

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