December 30, 2022

Best Footwear of 2022

Elhadji Mare

Elhadji Is a Content Manager and Copywriter @ StockX

2022 came and went, but the kicks were kicking this year. We compiled a list of the best footwear of the year.

2022 came and went, but the kicks were kicking this year. We compiled a list of the best footwear of the year.

It feels like I was just writing one of these last year, that’s how fast 2022 has gone. But this year had many drops to talk about. There were unexpected twists and turns on the release calendar, with brands like Salomon, Crocs, and newcomer On Running dropping quality footwear options throughout the year. There were a lot of shoes to choose from, but not all can be the best. In no particular, we compiled all of the top kicks to drop this year. Check out which shoes are worthy of being crowned the best of 2022.

Louis Vuitton Nike Air Force 1 Low By Virgil Abloh

2022 introduced a new form of Nike Air Force 1, thanks to the late designer, Nike collaborator, and Louis Vuitton Creative Director Virgil Abloh. Through their mutual connection, Louis Vuitton partnered with Nike on a collection of limited edition Air Force 1s. But their extremely limited nature wasn’t the only thing that made these sneakers special. This partnership produced Air Force 1s outside of a Nike factory for the first time ever and brought LV ateliers into the mix, which produced a collection of the most luxuriously crafted AF1s to date. Each handmade pair sports Louis Vuitton’s signature LV monogram throughout the upper and utilizes premium Italian leather and gold foil debossing. Hand-painted elements are also added throughout the upper, providing an additional touch of intentionality and precision. 

Crocs Pollex Clog by Salehe Bembury

Designer and former Versace VP of Sneakers, Salehe Bembury, debuted his signature collab with Crocs back in 2021. But 2022 saw an abundance of colorways of the Pollex Clog release and an increase in supply, allowing many to sport the fingerprint-styled Crocs and further contribute to Crocs’ current pop culture success. From rappers like Westside Gunn and Aminé to various fashion publications like Highsnobiety and Footwear News, Bembury’s first crack at a Crocs Clog has been a hit, making them hard to ignore and instantly desirable. The Crocs Pollex Clog by Salehe Bembury has been a popular shoe for 2022 and is sure to continue its upward momentum in the new year.

Air Jordan 1 High OG Chicago Lost and Found

The Air Jordan 1 Chicago Lost and Found is one of 2022’s most talked about drops. The Chicago 1 is considered to be Jordan Brand’s most coveted release, as it was the first sneaker to launch MJ and Nike’s partnership. With that said, whenever the Chicago 1 comes around in the release pool, it’s a major deal, especially since the colorway doesn’t often get restored in its original, hi-top form. The Air Jordan 1 Chicago Lost and Found also introduced a new style of the classic colorway, leaning into its 1985 birth year with aged details such as cracked leather on the upper and yellowed colored midsole to signify aging. For its epic return and distinctive concept, the Air Jordan 1 Chicago Lost and Found is a no brainer as one of this year’s most notable releases. 

On Running Cloudmonster

It’s rare for new, up-and-coming brands like On Running to make an impact within sneaker culture as early as they have. The Swiss brand is only a little over a decade old and has become a major competitor within the running shoe industry. Not to mention, it’s already a publicly traded company with an estimated value of $7.6 Billion, which is impressive considering the competition of well-established brands like Nike, ASICS, and New Balance.

Alongside their collaborations with luxury fashion brand Loewe and Kith founder Ronnie Fieg, what has truly helped get them to the top is their characteristic Cloudtec outsole, which has been displayed to the fullest on this year’s Cloudmonster debut. Despite the On Running Cloudmonster coming in only a small variety of colors, it makes up for it in comfort, durability, and maximalist design. Not only is it considered one of the top running shoes by trusted publications like RunRepeat and Esquire, but it also has a streetwear appeal as well, as shown by popular Japanese retailer Nepenthes in their recent editorial lookbook. With the momentum that the On Running Cloudmonster has garnered this year, we can expect bigger things to come for the young running sneaker in 2023. 

adidas Samba Wales Bonner

Blokecore is here and now everyone wants to be a hooligan. For those that aren’t familiar with the latest trend or just don’t go on TikTok, Blokecore is essentially focused around football (or soccer, to not anger Peyton Manning) kits and accessories. Think Umbro shorts, vintage Arsenal jerseys, and a pair of quintessential footie sneakers like the adidas Samba. Thanks to this trend and also the hype of this year’s World Cup, the adidas Samba has found an uptick in popularity once again. So much so, by the looks of Google Trends, the adidas Samba has gotten its most searches in the United States since 2004. Alongside the trend, British designer, Graces Wales Bonner of her eponymous brand, has contributed to the Samba’s hype with her adidas collabs. This year, she followed up on her 2021 Samba release with three new colorways, with this year’s White Green pair being one of the more popular colorways from the pack. Each pair is constructed from a mixture of suede, nylon, and faux crocodile leather, bringing an elevated look to the signature soccer shoe.      

 

ASICS Gel-Kayano 14 JJJJound

Looking at this list and other “Best Ofs…” for the year, it’s hard not to come across vibrant and loud sneakers that are well deserving of their status. But not all great releases have to be that way, and Canadian designer Justin Saunders (AKA JJJJound) has proven that to be true with his debut ASICS collab. The ASICS Gel-Kayano 14 JJJJound is a collaboration that follows the familiar JJJJound formula: classic, simple, and practical. The understated colorway of white, beige, chrome, and black come together to create just a solid, comfortable staple of a sneaker to wear on most occasions. No fuss, no gimmicks, and you’ll have yourself a very attractive release. And of course, having JJJJound’s name on it helps.

Nike Dunk Low Retro White Black Panda

Even though the Nike Dunk Low Panda released in 2021, its consistent restocks, memes, and versatility has helped it remain a top seller in 2022. There’s no denying that the sneaker has been saturated within the market, with it probably being difficult to go a whole day without seeing someone wearing a pair. But there is a lot to like about the sneaker; it’s easy to wear with just about anything, it’s perfect for most seasons (other than winter but most sneakers aren’t), and it’s comfortable thanks to its insole Air technology. If you’re hoping for a Panda Dunk slow down any time soon, maybe 2024 will be your year.

Women’s UGG Tazz Slipper

Thanks to the return of Y2K styles, UGGs have seen an uptick in popularity. Styles like the Tazz Slipper helped usher in a new demographic to the brand. Thanks to its classic sherpa lining, brown suede uppers, and wedge midsole, the Tazz Slipper is one of this winter’s most sought-after shoes and has exploded in popularity on StockX. Search volume for UGG on the site has been up 80% since last year, and sales have surpassed that of other big names like New Balance, proving the demand for the Californian comfort brand has only gotten stronger.  

NikeCraft General Purpose Shoe Tom Sachs

Tom Sachs wants all of us to wear the hell out of our shoes. And this year, Sachs and Nike persuaded us all to do so by dropping their latest NikeCraft General Purpose Shoe. During promo for this sneaker release, Sachs said that “your sneakers should not be the most exciting thing about you. They are tools.” The sneaker follows that message pretty clearly thanks to its utilitarian design. This shoe taps into a practical side and has been designed specifically to take on any challenge you throw its way. Don’t let its sleek exterior fool you. The durable knitted upper and rugged outsole are perfect for tackling whatever life throws your way, whether it’s set up for a new art exhibition or trekking the wilderness. The NikeCraft General Purpose Shoe is a sneaker perfect for traversing life and with new colorways expected to drop in 2023, we’re excited to see how many tools we’d want to add to the collection. Sorry Tom, just stop making cool shit then!

New Balance 990v3 JJJJound Olive

New Balance went back into the archives this year to re-introduce another signature model from their catalog, the New Balance 990v3. The 990v3 released in 2012 and was then the latest addition to the ever-growing 990 family. But as is the way of the sneaker industry, new iterations come and older versions await a retro treatment. 2022 saw the 990v3 get its second wind thanks to a continuous appreciation for the 990 series from the public and a slew of collaborations have helped make it an attractive piece of footwear. Alongside his release of his ASICS, JJJJound also took a crack at the 990v3, dropping four colorways throughout the year, with this Olive pair being the most notable from the bunch. Just like his past collabs, this colorway takes a “less is more” approach by having premium suede, mesh, and leather throughout the upper and an ENCAP midsole for comfort. 

Salomon XT-6

The Salomon XT-6, a sneaker that originally was going to get scrapped by the brand in 2016, has found newfound love within the sneaker community. Thanks to the ongoing Gorpcore trend, which focuses on hiking-centric goods, the XT-6’s trail aesthetic fits perfectly with the outdoorsy look that many within hype fashion are looking to emulate. Fashion as a whole has gravitated towards Salomon as well, with collaborations such as Kith, Maison Martin Margiela, Hidden NY and Slam Jam all leaving their imprint on the brand’s silhouettes just this year alone. As people continue to look for everyday essential footwear that looks great in the process, Salomon sneakers, and the XT-6 specifically, will probably have as major of 2023 as they have this year.