Sneakers That Had a Moment in 2022

January 22, 2023 by Joey Birch

Sneakers That Had a Moment in 2022

Since the start of the pandemic, the sneaker market has seen exponential growth which, while slowing down as reported by The Business of Fashion, is estimated to reach a global market value of $30 Billion by 2030, stemming from around $6 Billion in 2019. This level of growth has in turn fostered an evergrowing audience of passionate sneaker enthusiasts thus meaning that brands are having to increase production to maintain demand. 

While trends have always been apparent in sneakers whether it’s the early rise of the sock runner-ESC sneaker when the YEEZY 350 and adidas NMD burst onto the scene or further back when Nike was able to penetrate the skateboarding market with their SB range, nothing has come close to the tidal wave of attention garnered over recent years. 

During 2020, it was the Nike Dunk that came into the spotlight in addition to the Air Jordan 1 Mid which has maintained its grasp on the industry with Highsnobiety coining it “Mid Mania”, suggesting that around 63% of Air Jordan 1 sales were made up of AJ1 Mids according to a popular reseller. 

As tastes developed and sneakers were increasingly commonplace on social media, trends over 2022 began to ebb and flow a little more, allowing room for a variety of silhouettes. As with most fashion trends, some of these popular picks have stuck around and we can expect to see more of them in 2023, while others will (or at least should be) left in 2022.

Below is a look at some of the sneakers that had a moment in 2022: 

adidas Samba - The adidas Samba has been a slow burner, making its way into the gorpcore flavoured outfits seen on the Gram in and amongst the slew of other brands that have been making the rounds in 2023. 

Despite the silhouette not receiving the level of critical acclaim that the likes of the Air Jordan 1 Lost and Found or the Nike Dunk ‘Panda’, it was still able to receive several collaborative projects, the most notable of which was with Gucci arriving in a myriad of classic colourways as well as more eye-catching renditions. 

As well as the original colourways, we can expect to see Sean Wotherspoon release his interpretation of the Samba following the recent launch of his adidas Orketro.

Nike Dunk ‘Panda’ - Love them or hate them, the Nike Dunk ‘Panda’ is here to stay. After countless sellout restocks, the Panda Dunk goes to prove that sometimes a simple colourway on a staple silhouette is all you need. 

Due to the over-accessibility of the sneaker, it has since become somewhat of a ‘meme shoe’ which many people love to hate. Nevertheless, it can’t be argued that these are a great addition to any rotation.

Nike Air Force 1 ‘Triple White’ - As timeless today as they were when they first released in 1982. Designed by the legendary Bruce Kilgore, the Air Force 1 has been a sneaker that is known for being easily accessible, the perfect pairing with any outfit and a silhouette that will transcend generations. The AF1 was quick to hit headlines in 2021 after selling out on all platforms, a feat never previously encountered. 

Nike was able to react accordingly and ensure there was plenty of stock for those that only wear their triple whites twice in 2022, however, thanks to the likes of Drake curating a pair inspired by his ‘Certified Lover Boy’ album, the silhouette and iconic colourway remain timeless going into the new year. 

New Balance 2002R - New Balance seems to be going from strength to strength yet again. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it began, but the wave of success they have been experiencing throughout their GR releases and collaborations cannot be undervalued. 

Despite its lower price point, the 2002R still ranks as one of the best New Balance models in the catalogue, boasting premium materials and a comfortable experience on foot. The 2002R was a popular choice for many collaborators including the excellent 3 piece collection by The Basement as well as the continuation of the highly successful ‘Protection Pack’ (AKA Defined Future). 

With New Balance seemingly gaining more traction, they’re certainly one to watch in 2023.  

Salomon XT6 - Before the aforementioned gorpcore movement took a hold of the social media fashion industry, Salomon was largely relegated to being worn by true hikers. Nowadays you’re more likely to see a pair in your local pub or on the sheets of Soho. 

Once a small French brand creating skiing equipment, now a global icon, Salomon has found their stride when taking over the mainstream sneaker industry whilst still maintaining a level of elusiveness. While models such as the ACS Pro Advanced were a popular choice, with Arthur Kar’s Kar L'Art de L'Automobile collaboration receiving highly positive feedback, it was the XT6 that could be found on most people's feet. 

Simple yet futuristic in their design, providing excellent colourways, 2023 could see audiences further stray away from the bigger brands such as Nike and adidas in favour of more niche offerings such as Salomon. 

Crocs - If you’d have been told a few years ago that people would be clamouring to get their hands on a pair of Crocs, you’d never believe it. However, that’s exactly what happened in 2022. Following the hype that the controversial YEEZY Foam Runner created, a door was opened that allowed collaborators including Salehe Bembury to engage a newfound interest in Crocs following his intriguing thumbprint Clog silhouette. 

Thanks to Bembury, additional brands such as Merrell have also made their way onto the scene. However, as quickly as the moment came, it appears to have left especially with the colder months upon us.

ASICS GEL-Kayano 14 - 2023 was ASICS’ year. Despite offering a whole range of silhouettes from the GEL-LYTE III to the GEL-1130, it was the Kayano 14 that took the top spot. While some of the plaudits should be given to JJJJound, as well as HAL Studios who worked on the 1130, ASICS has taken its rightful place in the conversation of the best sneakers of the year thanks to their GR colourways alone. 

Harbouring a '90s-inspired sportswear aesthetic, ASICS will be aiming to capitalise on the progress they made in 2022. 

Nike Air Max 1 - It makes sense that the Nike Air Max 1 had a moment in 2022 considering it was celebrating its 35th anniversary. Created by Tinker Hatfield, the Nike Air Max 1 was the catalyst that ignited the ongoing Air Max lineage. 

Spanning several excellent collaborations from the likes of Concepts and Travis Scott in addition to the return of OG’s colourways including the ‘Hemp’, it appears that Air Max fans have more to look forward to from the Swoosh with reports of the 1986 ‘Big Bubble’ returning in 2023


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