As 2015 wind’s down, so does another year of sneaker releases. You are sure to read a lot of “Best of” lists both on this site and on others and while there is almost 100% certainty to have much crossover between lists and sites, I’m looking most forward to see what unexpected gems caught the eyes of authors.

First, let me outline the very minimal criteria I used to put my top ten list together:

  1. Did the design aesthetic catch my eye.
  2. Did the colorway catch my eye.
  3. Did the shoe have any considerable hype leading in to and after its release.
  4. Did the shoe have any kind of significant impact on the sneaker culture.

Now, I must tell you, these shoes are MY top 10 and are indicative of my tastes in colorways and silhouettes and may have little representation of the masses, but that’s me. I also have to tell you, that of all these shoes, I don’t own any of them, but I feel that ownership has no bearing on whether or not it’s on a top 10 list. Don’t get me wrong, I WANT to own all of these shoes, however, the budget just doesn’t allow for it. You just can’t drink Cliquot every night when your wallet screams Miller Lite…

So without further ado…

10. Saucony Grid 9000 Dirty Snow

saucony-grid-9000-dirty-snow-pack-white-black-p90893-185989_zoomRelease Date: December 18, 2015

I absolutely love the Grid 9000 silhouette and this treatment with a canvas upper only reinforces it. Nearly every colorway of this silhouette is one I’ve loved however this iteration using a combination of black and white to create a gray colorway is one I’ve fallen in love with. Whether Summer or Winter, this is a great shoe.

9. Nike Flight Squad Obsidian/White/Gum

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Release Date: October 2015

When one of your top 5 shoes of all time is the Air Flight 89 mid your initial reaction to the Flight Squad is one of complete disappointment in the bastardization of a great silhouette. But then when materials and color blocking come together as they do here, an opinion can change immediately. Suede, a quilted upper, a gum sole. EVERYTHING just works. It made me a fan right away.

8. Asics Gel Lyte III Vegetable Tanned Leather

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Release Date: August 8, 2015

Vegetable tanned leather has really gained momentum over the last 12-18 months. It’s really a great medium as it only gains character as the patina develops over time. Hender Scheme has done a lot with its reproductions, Jordan Brand has used it in the Jordan I Pinnacle, and Jake Ferrato of JBF Customs has used it quite a bit with his Primo silhouette, and now to see Asics adopt it in one of its most iconic silhouettes shows me that a trend moving forward with brands is that they are willing to use quality materials so long as there is a market, no matter how limited the release is.

7. Asics Gel Lyte III x Packer Shoes Dirty Buck

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Release Date: February 28, 2015

Few Packer collabs have caught my eye like the Dirty Buck that Mike Packer and team put together. A perfect complement of materials and color blocking execute exactly what was to be achieved in this collab; to recreate the standard “Buck” shoe. Perhaps my favorite theme of the year.

6. Ronnie Fieg x Diamond Supply Co x Asics Gel Lyte V Diamond Blue/Silver

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Release Date: June 19, 2015

Nearly everything Ronnie Fieg turns to gold. His Kith collections are incredible from head to toe, and his footwear collabs are no different. He knows what silhouettes to use and how to color block within those silhouettes using a variety of materials. Dude does his homework too. While I thought his “Mint” Gel Lyte V was about as good as it gets, he goes and does this.

5. Air Trainer Cruz Haystack

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Release Date: November 20, 2015

The Cruz is a perfect example of a shoe which changed my opinion once it was shown in colorways beyond the initial leaked image. As the wheat, or flax or mesa, or whatever people are calling that colorway became more popular, seeing Victor Cruz’ first signature done in its Haystack colorway made me a believer, no matter how much I hate/hated the pixilated heel counter of the shoe. My guess is that we’ll see more signatures developed into lifestyle models moving forward.

4. Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Turtle Dove

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Release Date: June 27, 2015

Like its high top cousin or brother or, whatever, the 350 is also a sneaker which is strictly for the fashion component rather than even the slightest bit of performance, Boost or not. The Turtle Dove colorway has a great blended upper to execute a silhouette which is manageable with a lot.

3. Air Jordan I White/Black/Varsity Red

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Release Date: May 30, 2015

The prodigal son returns. It could be debated which shoe is the one which started the sneakerhead movement, but for me it’s this silhouette which has carried the torch over time. Thirty years actually. And whenever this colorway releases, it always comes with much fanfare and hype, and why not. It’s timeless and an icon. Perfectly executed colorblocking which is just as great now as it was when it was first worn in 1985.

2. Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 Gray

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Release Date: February 21, 2015

The Yeezy Boost 750 is something of an enigma to me. I can’t look at it and see a sneaker really. In fact I’ve always said that while at Nike, Kanye had sneakers and now with Adidas he has footwear. It’s a shoe that grew on me once I accepted that fact. The suede upper and gray colorway make it a perfect complement to so many outfits.

1. Adidas Ultra Boost White

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Release Date: June 1, 2015

What can I say, without ever having this shoe on my foot, I can say that from simply an aesthetic standpoint, this is one of the best looking shoes of 2015. Simple. Clean. Impeccable design characteristics. Eliminate the hype surrounding it when Kanye wore it, it’s just a REALLY great looking shoe, and I hear that it’s pretty damn comfy too…

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