Do athletes even endorse sneakers anymore?
Don’t get us wrong, Jordan is still the biggest name in footwear. And when a hot new sneaker designer bursts onto the scene, best believe they’re going to want to put their spin on a fresh pair of Jordans above all else, so we don’t imagine another name is going to surpass it anytime soon. But big names are coming (relatively) close, and none of them are known for their skills on a court.
We’re talking not about performance shoes but “performer shoes” (a term dubbed by DJ Clark Kent) — made by people like Kanye West, who has now realized his dream of making a pivot from the hottest rapper in the game to the hottest sneaker and streetwear designer with his Yeezy Brand; Pharrel Williams, who has been toiling away at Adidas for a minute now with his Hu line; J Cole who seems to be constantly pumping out Pumas and actually has the hoops skills to bring in ballers; Bad Bunny, who — despite starting it all off with a few Crocs — is now two for two with his Adidas collaborations; and Beyonce, who continues to make tremendous leaps with each drop of her Ivy Park line.
It’s undeniable that, save for Virgil Abloh and Aleali May, the most exciting sneakers to drop right now are coming from the world of hip-hop. And no name is more exciting than La Flame — yes, we’re talking about Mr. Cactus Jack himself, Travis Scott. Together in partnership with Helmut Lang, Nike, and Jordan Brand, Scott has been dropping some of the most hyped sneaker releases of our modern era of streetwear, offering remixed designs of the aforementioned brand’s most popular silhouettes draped in Scott’s signature dusty desert aesthetic and vibe.
Over the last three years, Scott has dropped 14 sneakers and today we’re here to rank every single one of them from worst to best. Let’s dive in.
15. Travis Scott Jordan XXXIII Army Olive
Amongst fans of Scott’s sneaker collaborations, these are absolutely hated. It’s easy to see why. I mean… look at ’em!
Some people feel that hate is overkill, arguing that these are slept on but they still deserve their spot at the bottom of this list. It’s not simply that they’re bad — this army olive mesh upper and brown suede heel panel is a pretty solid design for the XXXIIIs and pretty emblematic of the looks to come — but it’s just so boring in comparison to everything else Scott has done with Nike.
It feels mean to place any Scott shoe dead last, but it’s hard to argue that this is better than any of the other shoes on this list.
Find the Travis Scott Jordan XXXIII Army Olive at GOAT.
14. Travis Scott x Helmut Lang Low Top
Before Travis Scott started lending his aesthetic to classic Nike and Jordan silhouettes, he linked up with Italian designer Helmut Lang for a sleek all-black high-top and low-top sneaker. The Helmut Lang collaborations are soft of an anomaly in the lineage of Travis Scott sneakers, but looking at it does make us wonder what the Cactus Jack label would’ve looked like if it never linked up with Nike. Thank God it did!
Featuring a nylon upper with leather and velcro straps across the heel and upper, the Travis Scott x Helmut Lang was made in Italy and features graphic bull imagery on the tongue and Helmut Lang branding on the heel tab.
It’s… okay. Just that and nothing more. Definitely a step up from the XXXIII, though.
The Travis Scott x Helmut Lang Low Top is currently unavailable on the aftermarket.
13. Travis Scott x Playstation Nike Dunk Low
Originally, we ranked this one last. It’s a three-way collaboration that coincided with the release of the Playstation 5, which just felt like tacky branded overkill. But the more we look at the design — which is actually kind of dope and borrows from the OG Playstation’s look for its colorway — the more it grows on us. This one is certainly a grower.
We still don’t like the Sony branding on the heel (Playstation logo can stay) but we can’t sit here and pretend that the Jordan XXXIII is somehow better than this sail and light blue upper, with its charcoal grey reverse swoosh and embroidered branding.
Find the Travis Scott x Playstation Nike Dunk Low at StockX.
12. Travis Scott Nike Air Max 270 React Cactus Trails
You’ll notice that Scott has a definite preference for Nike’s more retro silhouettes, so the Air Max 270 Cactus Trails is unique in that this is one of the most futuristic-looking Cactus Jack sneakers released yet, thanks to the aerodynamic design of the 270. It’s ironic that it’s also the most artificially aged, with a yellowed midsole and a messy mix of textile, nubuck, and TPU Overlays over a dirty cream colorway.
It really earns its moniker “Cactus Trails,” this is a grimy, dusty mess of a design.
Find the Travis Scott Nike Air Max 270 React Cactus Trails at GOAT.
11. Travis Scott Nike Air Force 1 Low White
Travis Scott’s long and fruitful collaboration with Nike begins with this take on the Air Force 1. Released in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the silhouette, this white canvas take on the AF-1 dropped at ComplexCon 2017 and featured interchangeable removable swooshes that were meant to evoke Scott’s trademark grill.
The laces have a Cactus Jack logo covering them and the whole thing sits atop a contrasting gum sole. It’s perhaps most notable for looking so different than the designs that would come to define Scott’s work with Nike.
Find the Travis Scott Nike Air Force 1 Low White at StockX.
10. Travis Scott x Helmut Lang High Top
The High Top version of Scott’s Helmut Lang sneaker is a massive improvement over the low. This may be the last time this particular sneaker stays in the top 10 as Scott and Nike have a bunch of rumored releases planned for Holiday 2021. Enjoy your spot, Helmut Lang Highs!
Featuring the same nylon upper with leather paneling and straps as the low, the Helmut Lang high tops are super sleek, militaristic, and represent a Travis Scott era that feels like a distant memory. Not much to say about these that we haven’t said already with the low tops, this is just an all-around better design.
The Travis Scott x Helmut Lang High Top is currently unavailable on the aftermarket.
9. Travis Scott Nike Air Force 1 Low Cactus Jack
The Cactus Jack Air Force 1 has always had a Sean Wotherspoon vibe to us. We know what you’re thinking, “WHY BECAUSE IT HAS CORDUROY???” Yup, that’s exactly why. Do you really think this zipped corduroy lace shroud would exist without Wotherspoon’s Air Max 97, which dropped two years earlier? You’re tripping. Wotherspoon MADE corduroy.
The AF1 Cactus Jack features a graphic canvas upper, a brown swoosh on the outer, a black swoosh on the inner, and sits atop a gum outsole. It’s a dope design, but it’s just a little too busy. A comfortable mid-tier release by Scott.
Find the Travis Scott Nike Air Force 1 Low Cactus Jack at GOAT.
8 . Travis Scott Jordan 1 Retro Low Mocha
This low-top version of the Jordan I borrows the design of the more iconic high-top version with a mocha and black nubuck leather upper and that polarizing backward swoosh on the lateral side. The backward swoosh actually looks bigger here (it’s not) making the sneaker look unlike a Jordan I, that’s kind of cool. The medial side panel features Cactus Jack lining in university red, making another appearance on the tongue, with the Air Jordan Wings on the heel tab.
This is pleasant and middling. Perfectly functional but not going to make a huge scene.
Find the Travis Scott Jordan 1 Retro Low Mocha at GOAT.
7. Travis Scott Nike Air Force 1 Low Sail
This Sail colorway of the Air Force 1 was Scott’s second release with Nike and built upon the all-white colorway that preceded it. The canvas upper and removable shiny swoosh is still here, but this Sail colorway just works so much better with the gum outsole and canvas construction. It feels like a true transitional sneaker between Scott’s first Nike drop to the more earthy and worn designs that would come to define the Cactus Jack aesthetic.
Find the Travis Scott Nike Air Force 1 Low Sail at GOAT.
6. Travis Scott Jordan 4 Retro Purple (Friends and Family Release)
We considered not even including this sneaker, as it’s a close friend and family-only release and never had a retail release, but it’s just too clean to ignore. It’s also currently available at StockX, which means someone isn’t being a good friend (we wouldn’t have done you like that, Travis!). This moody Jordan IV features a suede upper in a deep purple with black accents and a grey lace cage.
It’s easily one of the best colorways we’ve ever seen of the Jordan IV period, it’s almost cruel this wasn’t released to the public. Scott has a few more friends and family colorways, but none reach this level of perfection, which makes the StockX sale sting even more.
Find the Travis Scott Jordan 4 Retro Purple Suede at StockX.
5. Travis Scott Nike SB Dunk Low Cactus Jack
This is a totally personal take, but this pair brings up a lot of nostalgia for me. The bandana-inspired paisley overlays capture so much of the imagery of growing up in and around East LA. This sneaker looks like my childhood, filtered down into a shoe.
The SB Dunk Low Cactus Jack is significant because it’s Scott’s first skate sneaker, utilizing Nike’s ridiculously popular silhouette, dressing it in a tan leather base with plaid quarter panels, paisley overlays, and canvas that tears away to reveal an earthy camo pattern that kind of resembles Nike’s elephant print (but isn’t quite that).
The design is rounded out by thick rope laces, the whole thing really captures Scott’s Cactus Jack aesthetic — muted, yet psychedelic. Scott and Nike have a whole slate of Dunks that are supposed to drop in late 2021, we’ll see if they can match this take.
Find the Travis Scott Nike SB Dunk Low Premium QS at GOAT.
4. Travis Scott Jordan 6 Retro Olive
Released at the end of 2019, the Jordan VI features an almost militaristic olive green nubuck and suede upper with a little stash snap pocket on the outer collar. At the time of release, it felt like this was the perfect music festival sneaker to hide your stash in. The idea of going to a concert still seems novel, and this is the second time we’re ranking Scott’s whole sneaker output. Another handful of Travis Scott sneakers will likely drop before we are able to see the rapper perform live again. That’s just sad.
Scott rocked this colorway at the Super Bowl 53 halftime show, leading to its coveted status amongst sneakerheads and Travis Scott fans alike. The design is rounded out by a glow-in-the-dark translucent outsole with sail and university red accent work. Scott has yet to drop something that tops this design since its debut release.
Find the Travis Scott Jordan 6 Retro at GOAT.
3. Travis Scott Jordan 6 Retro British Khaki
Are the little pockets and zippers stupid and gimmicky? Yes. But forced utility aside, the British Khaki Jordan 6, Scott’s first sneaker of 2021, is in every way an improvement over 2019’s Olive colorway, which it clearly builds off of. Featuring a suede and canvas upper dusted in a mix of British Khaki and Sail, it’s the Bright Crimson accents on the heel, tongue, and branding that really pull this design together.
On top of this earthy colorway, a glow-in-the-dark sole and heel tab adds a nice psychedelic edge to the look, while seamlessly blending in with the rest of the design, never dipping into gimmicky territory, despite you know, being glow in the dark.
Find the Travis Scott Jordan 6 Retro British Khaki at GOAT.
2. Travis Scott Jordan 4 Retro Cactus Jack
There were several times I came close to ranking this as the number one pick, and while ultimately I contend that it’s probably (probably!) not the best Travis Scott sneaker out there, it is my personal favorite. This use of Nike’s university red and blue here is just beautiful, with its blue Durabuck leather upper and a red collar and insole. Inspired by the Houston Oilers, Scott’s hometown team, the Cactus Jack Jordan IV’s are rounded out by a core black lace cage and heel panel with university blue speckles, and feature Cactus Jack and Jumpman branding on the left and right heel respectively.
I’m already regretting not giving it the number one slot, but not enough to bump it up… yet.
Find the Travis Scott Jordan 4 Retro Cactus Jack at GOAT.
1. Travis Scott Jordan 1 Retro High Mocha
It feels almost cliche to rank the Mocha Jordan I Retro High as Scott’s best, but this sneaker release has managed to become emblematic of Cactus Jack as a fashion entity now three years after its original release. The large over-sized backward swoosh looks very gimmicky by today’s standards (though we don’t know that it didn’t always) but that mix of mocha suede paneling again a sail leather upper with university red accents is still one of the silhouette’s best colorways.
Since this insanely popular drop, Nike has since borrowed this same exact color scheme for a stock Air Jordan I, which we actually prefer, since it doesn’t have the backward swoosh. But hey, that’s just us.
Find the at Travis Scott Jordan 1 Retro High at GOAT.