#KoFBestOf2015 continues with the kicks that lived up to the massive amounts of hype that they got. I know, we’re not supposed to buy into hype, but whatever, you shouldn’t be ashamed of liking a popular shoe, especially one that fulfilled their promise.

2015 was the best year for sneakers ever. Just like 2014 was and 2013 the year before it. You’ll probably see that declaration on every sneaker website between now and the end of the month because while true, we do have a tendency to hype ourselves to a frenzy. Sometimes that can be good because there are plenty of things to be legitimately excited about and there are things that really don’t deserve all the attention. Let’s think positive for a second here and look back at the former, the kicks that were heavily hyped prior to release and actually lived up to most if not all the praise.

Note: This list is in alphabetical order because we don’t want to spoil our Top __ list just yet.

1adidas Ultra Boost


Last year, the adidas Pure Boost was one of the best sneakers to debut, but it wasn’t something that we would qualify as a running shoe (at least I wouldn’t). Not that there weren’t runners with Boost of course, but none of them had the style that a sneakerhead was looking for. The adidas Ultra Boost nailed the performance and style aspect into one admittedly expensive package, but it’s worth every penny. I’d be a little bit happier if Kanye West hadn’t worn them so the price would have dropped by now, but from the start of the year to today, the Ultra Boost shined.

2adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Turtle Dove

Contrary to popular belief, not all Kanye-affiliated sneakers are awesome. The Yeezy Boost 750 is terrible (sorry, black pair that’s dropping this Saturday), I don’t care for the 950 Boots, his Nikes were hit and miss, and his Louis Vuitton joints had zero impact on me. But the debut colorway of the Yeezy Boost 350? Flame emojis all around. It doesn’t even compare to the Pirate Black and Moonrock colorways in terms of style and versatility. Primeknit (or whatever yarn is actually being used) and Boost wins again.

3Air Jordan 1 Shattered Backboard


The hype for the Air Jordan 1 Shattered Backboard was confusing at first. How is it possible that a non-OG colorway of the Air Jordan 1 that references a forgotten moment in MJ’s history got as much as attention as it did when this was the same year we also got the iconic Chicago 1 colorway? It’s got to be the shoes because between the limited release and the quality craftsmanship and care that was put into the construction, it actually lived up the “remastered” gimmick and then some.

4Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star 2


Admittedly a lot of this hype was created by Converse because the idea of making a sequel to the Chuck Taylor must have sounded great in marketing meeting, but came across as “New Coke” to everybody else. However, after trying on the Lunarlon-equipped shoes and their commitment to not screwing up the iconic design Converse succeeded in modernizing the classic shoe. Now if Nike would do the same for their retros (fix the insides but don’t touch the outsides), we’ll be set.

5Nike Air Foamposite One Tainjin


Foamposites with graphics are almost always garbage, but the Taijin colorway that was an Asia-exclusive release was so out there that it wouldn’t be denied. It’s like they took a crappy gimmick and just owned it. The commitment to the theme, from the fish and lotus flower graphics on the upper to the heel and tongue badges, and the execution was flawless. It makes all other Foams of similar ilk, including the Galaxy, look lazy by comparison.

6Nike Flyknit Racer Multicolor 2.0


No, it’s not better than the 1.0, but it is damn close. And when you can get the close to arguably the best sneaker of the the past five years, you’re doing something right. A worthy sequel to an iconic release.

7Nike KD 7 What The


I’ve espoused on the death of the What The concept plenty of times this year. This was the exception. Still not on par with the Nike KD 6 and previous What The kicks, but at least the kitsch factor was high and the kaleidoscopic randomness was there, not like the color by the numbers approach the What The LeBron 11 and 12 took.

8PSNY x Air Jordan 12


Let’s be honest with ourselves here, the PSNY x Air Jordan 1 collab from earlier this year sucked. If it wasn’t for the Public School co-sign, it would have languished in stores alongside other Lab kicks and less hyped 1s like the Cyber Monday. The Air Jordan 12 is the total opposite of that. Inspired, high quality and worth the premium price.

9Under Armour Curry One MVP

Under Armour

When Stephen Curry won the MVP, you knew it was coming. Under Armour had to have something ready to commemorate the moment just like Nike had for LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant when they won their respective trophies. The Curry One MVP not only gave the silhouette a fresh take, but it also opened the eyes of a lot of sneakerheads that even an Under Armour shoe can be stylish with the right design. They’re no Nike – and maybe they don’t want to be – when it comes to design, but Under Armour has definitely come a long way. Sorry, Brandon Jennings…

10Villa x Wale Timberland The Gift Box

Leave it one of the most well-known rapper cum sneakerheads to work on a collab that absolutely knocked it out of the park. Who knew teal tide pool blue would look amazing on a Timberland boot? And they didn’t have to use that nickname that we can’t use for legal reasons. What did you think “Gift Box” meant?