This piece was originally printed in Dime #69. Check the magazine for the entirety of this feature…
With the NBA season rapidly coming to a close, there’s a good chance your team crashed and burned before making a deep run in the playoffs. Laker fans probably realize they’re on the cusp of a new age, a time that doesn’t include a trip to the Finals every year. Chicago watched its season fall apart with Derrick Rose’s season-ending knee injury. And we don’t even need to talk to Charlotte, Washington or Sacramento fans, if there are any. We can feel their pain.
That’s what’s so great about sneakers. Every year, hell, every month, new releases are dropped and sneakerheads can move like fiends from one weekend to the next. There’s always something on the horizon, always a fresh new shoe to look forward to. With each signature sneaker line putting out more colorways than we can keep up with, the shoe game has never been more popular.
With so many memorable releases, we wanted to highlight the very best. Here are our 10 favorite sneaker releases from this past season. Don’t be mad if your favorite didn’t make the cut. We could’ve dropped a list of 100 and still some would’ve come up short.
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10. adidas adiZero Rose 2.5
You’d be hard pressed to find a more durable sneaker released this year than these ones worn by Derrick Rose. The traction is incredible. The Sprint Frame is undeniably responsive. And the GEOFIT foam is a definitive step up in support from the Rose 2.0. While we often wore them off the court, what really made the Rose 2.5 stand out was this: it was possible to play in these for months and still keep them looking brand new.
9. Nike Zoom KD IV
Whereas the most enticing part of Kevin Durant‘s sneaker line in the past was the incredibly low price, this year, the designers stepped up the shoe as well. The new Adaptive Fit system features a strap that tightens around the arch of the foot, and the Phylon midsole offers a very smooth ride. Just as Durant’s play has nearly risen to MVP status, so has his sneaker.
8. Nike LeBron 9
In a continuation of what the Nike LeBron PS started last year, the MVP’s sneakers this year became the first to ever feature Flywire technology and Hyperfuse construction in one shoe. It’s breathability and support were all a step up from earlier editions in the line, and perhaps no sneaker this year dropped in more memorable colorways.
7. Reebok Zig Encore
The second edition of John Wall‘s signature line turned out much better than Washington’s season. While Wall didn’t play as well as he anticipated, his sneakers caused a scene with the differing colorways that were released this season. They also featured an updated outsole to promote better traction through a full-length herringbone, a must when you’re moving as fast as Wall.
6. Air Jordan 2012
The AJ2012 has innersleeves that can literally be removed and replaced, allowing players to decide whether they want to “Fly Over,” “Fly Around” or “Fly Through.” Then there are the versatile options on NikeiD. No sneaker has ever allowed such customization before.
5. Nike Foamposite One “Galaxy”
This sneaker was so hot upon its release that it literally shut down stores and caused violence. The Foamposite has been on any ultimate sneakerhead list since back in the late 1990s. When you combine that rep with a wild, starry finish, hype is the only thing that’ll follow.
4. Reebok Question
Ten years ago, Allen Iverson was an icon and a God, both in basketball and in the culture. These sneakers were considered the pinnacle of his Reebok line, and during the NBA Playoffs, they were re-released in their original quality for the first time in 16 years.
3. adidas adiZero Crazy Light 2
We didn’t think it was possible to wear a sneaker weighing 9.5 ounces and feel completely supported. Until now. Not only did the Crazy Light 2 reinvent the way shoes are put together, they also became the talk of the NCAA Tournament with their vibrant and loud colors.
2. Air Jordan XI “Concords”
Perhaps Michael Jordan‘s most iconic sneaker was brought back again this December in one of its most memorable colorways. These sneakers, as well as famed designer Tinker Hatfield, are credited with ushering in patent leather as a viable feature on a sneaker, and between the quality and the packaging for these XIs, no sneakerhead had a reason to complain.
1. Nike Zoom Kobe VII
Not only has the latest sneaker in Kobe Bryant‘s signature line been released in an endless supply of unique and flashy colorways, but it also features the ability for individual customization. The future Hall of Famer is known for his dogged attention to detail, and came through with multiple inserts in this sneaker for differing ankle support and midfoot cushioning.
What were your favorite kicks from this past NBA season?
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