The 10 Best Sneakers of 2022
As we head towards the end of the calendar year, the conversation always turns toward the best sneakers of the year. Backlogged with releases from a covid-riddled 2021, the year seemed to be packed to the brim full of sneaker drops. We had some huge names and even bigger general releases all vying for your dollar — but it’s not all about the resale market when it comes to the Best Sneakers of 2022.
What goes into selecting a list like this? Well, popularity is a given. The pair’s desirability, the market reception, and the benefit of the broader sneaker industry all come into play — we also have access to analytics that show us which articles were the most visited this year, shining a light on what you guys think is hot or not.
So with all of that in mind, what better way to kick off our Top 10 Sneakers of 2022 list than with the…
Nike Dunk Low “Panda”
US Restock Date: February 2, 2022
US Restock Date: June 22, 2022
US Restock Date: August 11, 2022
US Restock Date: September 16, 2022
US Restock Date: October 14, 2022
US Restock Date: November 4, 2022
US Restock Date: November 19, 2022
US Restock Date: December 2, 2022
What else can be said about this sneaker that hasn’t been already articulated? Never before have we seen such high demand for a staple sneaker — and Nike has given us all a masterclass in supply and demand. The sneaker has drawn in a sea of new sneakerheads, resulting in an expanding base of customers for the brand, resulting in immeasurable influence, earning itself a rightful place amongst the best sneakers of 2022.
Nike Kobe 6 “Mambacita Sweet 16”
Release Date: May 1, 2022
The shitstorm surrounding this sneaker will go down in sneaker folklore for decades to come. After the Kobe Bryant Estate and Nike couldn’t reach an agreement to produce signature Kobe sneakers, it was implied that this sneaker, which honors both Kobe and Gigi Bryant, would be released without Vanessa Bryant’s approval. Retailers and Nike were quick to backtrack, and the fallout was huge. In reality, it likely helped get the Nike-Kobe partnership back on track, with the first run of releases expected to resume next year. As for this pair, though, it remains a fitting tribute and a must-have for any fan of the late Kobe and Gigi Bryant.
Air Jordan 1 High OG “Lost & Found”
Release Date: November 19, 2022
The biggest, most anticipated release of 2022 would surely belong to the Reimagined Air Jordan 1 High “Lost and Found.” Anchored in heritage roots and an incredible back story to boot, Jordan Brand is at their absolute best in this storytelling moment. Huge production numbers saw that most people got fitted — even the kids — all while retaining the exclusivity and rarity of the OG Chicago — another masterclass in how to release a sneaker.
Air Jordan 11 “Cherry”
Release Date: December 10, 2022
Second only to the Lost and Found in terms of anticipation, the annual Air Jordan 11 release was yet again amongst the best of the year. With classic colors, huge production numbers, and the market’s insatiable desire for the silhouette, Jordan Brand couldn’t go wrong.
Nike Air Force 1 Low “Valentine’s Day” (2022)
Release Date: February 2022
Topping our website’s activity for the year, the Nike Air Force 1 Low “Valentine’s Day” — like last year’s release — was an absolute must-have. The simplicity and whimsical touch ensured that men, women, and children could get into the holiday spirit without being too corny.
Prada x adidas Forum
Release Date: January 13, 2022
Plenty of high fashion houses had their hand in sneaker collaborations in 2022, from Gucci to Louis Vuitton. But Prada’s efforts on the Forum — albeit ultra minimal — became a fan favorite thanks to its versatility — and probably the added pouch that doubles as a mini satchel. Plus, you didn’t need to spend $1 million in-store to get access.
A Ma Maniere x Air Jordan 4
AMM Release Date: November 17, 2022
Retailer Release Date: November 23, 2022
Despite the frequency in which James Whitner is churning out Air Jordan collaborations, none of them seem to miss the mark. Their now-signature mix of off-white and muted plum/burgundy hues have dressed all of their releases and will continue to do so on the Air Jordan 12 in 2023 (which themselves will probably make next yers’ list, too. Though as good as they are, the best of the bunch so far — perhaps just beating out last year’s Air Jordan 3 — is their Air Jordan 4. Outside of the above-listed Air Jordan releases, this was the most-searched Jordan Release on our website.
JJJJound x New Balance 990v3
Release Date: February 24, 2022 (Green)
Release Date: May 18, 2022 (Brown)
The Montreal-based studio has broken through significantly in 2022, busier than ever with collaborative efforts from the PUMA Suede to the Reebok NPC II. And whils each and every one of their efforts stand up on its own; it was February’s New Balance 990v3 in green, and May’s effort in brown that garnered the attention of most — including the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 9060 “Inside Voices”
Release Date: May 20, 2022
Another collaboration that has come on in waves in 2022 is Chicago’s own Joe Freshgoods, with his partnership with New Balance bringing some of the best releases of the year. Slightly ahead of his trio of 993s is his 9060 “Inside Voices.” a pair that continued his “Conversations Amongst Us” collection. It was expectedly lapped up by sneakerheads, but not even New Balance or Joe himself could have suspected that this would have been their best.
Nike Air Max 1 PRM “Wabi-Sabi”
Release Date: March 26, 2022 (APAC + LATIN AMERICA-EXCLUSIVE)
Now, I know what you’re thinking – how is this on the list? Well, based on site traffic, this Air Max 1 outperformed some of the biggest sneakers from this list. Add to that the exclusivity of a Latin American and Asian-Pacific release, and the demand skyrocketed. So, to answer your question, you guys chose this, not us.
Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low OG “Reverse Mocha”
Release Date: July 21, 2022
What is a best sneaker or the year list without Travis Scott?
Perhaps on a decline since the Astroworld tragedy, Travis Scott’s popularity has waned; but La Flame still has enough spark to move units. And, although his Air Max 1 efforts were out of this world, they had nothing on Summer’s “Reverse Mocha” Air Jordan 1 Low OG — and our website traffic reflected that.