2016's drawing to a close. It's been a crazy year in the sneaker world, with seemingly every brand dropping some serious fire.
When we started discussing the shoes that would be on our end-of-year top 10 list, it was quite a process. After a great amount of debate, shouting, and flying fists (just kidding), we were able to whittle 25-ish pairs down to the 10 best ... and we even managed to rank them too. Without further ado, here's the top 10 shoes of 2016, as decided by the Piff staff.
Honorable Mention: ACRONYM x Nike Lab Air Presto Mid
These are loud. One pair is very colorful. They're in-your-face. They're different. They're not for everyone, and some would argue that they're too hard to work in to a fit (even with the muted colors on two of the three pairs), but that's exactly why we love them. They're highly technical, and the attention to detail is on point. Fine work from ACRONYM and Nike Lab.
10. Fear of God x Vans
Jerry Lorenzo's Fear of God and its FOG diffusion label had a huge year in 2016, and their Pac Sun-exclusive Vans collab caused quite a frenzy. We personally prefer the super-clean Sk8 Hi's, but the Era featuring an all-over "Fear Of God" print received most of the attention.
9. Gucci Ace
No high-fashion house had a better year in 2016 than Gucci. Under the watchful eye of creative director Alessandro Michele, Gucci ramped up the embroidery and detailing on all their products. Everything was loud, in-your-face, and brilliant, and the New Ace became the rare high fashion sneaker that was fully embraced by the streets as well as the runways.
8. Kith x Bape "Fiegsta"
The Bapesta, a mid-00's favorite, returned to the limelight in a major way in 2016, when Kith and Bape came together to create the "Fiegsta", a premium-quality version of the classic Bapesta silhouette. Hand-made in Portugal from high-quality leather and suede, these luxe shoes captured the hearts of Kith and Bape fans alike.
7. Supreme x Nike Air Max 98
The Air Max 98 has historically been a slept-on silhouette, but Supreme finally gave them their moment in the limelight with the release of 4 collaborative pairs this summer. Rumored to be inspired by Prada footwear of the same color, all 4 pairs sold out instantly, and introduced a whole new group of sneaker heads to the Air Max 98. If you're wondering, the snakeskin jawns are our favorites.
6. Air Jordan IV "Cement"
You've always got to show love to a classic done right, and the "Cement" Jordan IV's brought back all the glory of the original 1989 release. A big "Nike Air" on the heel (which we all love), high-quality leather, and only the third retro of this shoe ever? Fire. Do the right thing, and clean these with a toothbrush (see what we did there?)
5. Rihanna x Puma Creeper
When the Rihanna x Puma Creeper was originally announced, it wasn't without its fair share of critics.. However, any doubters were quickly silenced as the initial release blew off shelves, and subsequent releases did the same. The Creeper is an easy pick for best women's release of the year ... and it made inroads with fashion-forwards men as well (like our own Juice, who rocks his frequently)
4. Bape x Adidas NMD
Let's all be 100% honest here: when rumors started swirling that there just might be a Bape NMD, we all thought it was a joke. Hell, it sounded like a joke. One of the hottest brands in the streetwear world slapping their signature camo on arguably the most gassed shoe on the market? That's not something that happens. Except in this case ... it did. You could argue that this was the single most hyped release of 2016, and these are still hitting for well over $1,000.
3. Pharrell x adidas Originals NMD "Human Race"
You could make a strong argument that 2016 was the year of the NMD. From the R1 to the XR1 to the CS1 to the slew of collaborative releases, it was never far from the headlines ... and Pharrell's extremely unique take on the silhouette was the best NMD of the year by a long shot. From the original bright yellow colorway to the friends and family burgundy, every color was a winner.
2. Air Jordan I Retro "Banned"
We said above that you've always got to pay respect to a classic done right ... and these "Banned" I's are as close to perfect as you'll get. The best colorway of arguably the best Jordan model ever, done up in a super-premium soft leather and a rich black/red that blows alway the 2013 release? An absolute grand slam. These would have been #1 almost any other year, but they just barely couldn't top the #1 shoe of 2016, the infamous ...
1. adidas Originals Yeezy 350 Boost V2
Could any other shoe really take the top spot? No other shoe comes close to having the cultural impact that a Yeezy 350 does, and the V2's expanded on everything that was so great about the V1's. They're more durable and more comfortable ... and the new colorways are equally as fire. Kanye West reigns supreme once again, and we'd bet that nobody will be taking his throne in 2017 either.
What did you think the best shoe of 2016 was? Do you agree with our list? Would you flip the order? Put some different shoes on? Hit us up and let us know what your top 10 shoes of 2016 are on Twitter, check our Facebook page for updates, and be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the fire pictures you can handle.