Sneaker News Top 30 of 2012
3 | NIKE FLYKNIT
While Nike is recognized as the leading source of athletic gear for nearly every sport across the board, the genesis of this global juggernaut of a brand lies within the running category. It makes plenty of sense that the pulse of Nike’s success is measured by what it does with that particular sport, and there’s no denying that developments like the original Waffle Racer, Air Max, Free, Lunar and others have served as vital points of innovation and creativity in Nike’s timeline. Each of the definitive features of those models has permeated the walls into other categories of sport, enabling its most talented designers to work their magic and create an exponentially broader collection of performance footwear.
In February, Nike Running changed the game once again with the introduction of Flyknit – an incredibly fascinating development that summed up forty years of runner feedback into one single thread. Using precisely engineered yarns and fabrics, Nike developed a featherweight, sock-like construction that targeted only vital areas of the upper to provide a true running shoe advantage without any unnecessary added weight. With one single thread in use, material waste was drastically reduced as Flyknit did not have to employ multiple materials. In addition, Flyknit introduced an impressive contrast with its minimalist structure and the thoroughly crafted knitted shell. It was an inspiring merger of groundbreaking design and exceptional function that required four years of trial and error experimentation to perfect.
Immediately following the introductory launch event in New York City, which brought in major sports media outlets from around the globe, Nike satiated consumer appetites by presenting the first wave of limited-edition releases at the Nike Sportswear retail store at 21 Mercer. This first capsule featured the Lunar-based Flyknit Trainer (limited to 100 individually numbered pairs) and a much rarer Flyknit Racer, all entirely designed by the revered HTM collective of Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield, and Mark Parker. Three other HTM Flyknit collections followed later in the year, and a wide release of the everyday-runner Trainer model and the slimmer, form-fitting Racer became available in late July in an outstanding variety of colorway options.
Upon the initial release in February, Nike buffs likened Flyknit to the 2000 debut of the Air Woven, and while the similarities are certainly obvious, the comparison reveals one major difference; while both the Air Woven and Flyknit featured an exclusive set of limited HTM
releases at the start and adopted the concept car-like weave of fibers, the Woven was barely promoted by Nike and rather crept up on curious minds, eventually became a cult smash. Flyknit, on the other hand, was showcased on grandest sports stage of the year – the 2012 Olympic Games in London. With bright Volt-colored Flyknit Trainers proudly displayed on the Olympic medal stand by top US athletes like Michael Phelps and LeBron James, it was made certain that Flyknit was not intended to be a sleeper hit. In fact, Nike did all that it could to ensure that its latest design achievement would be a mainstream success, and considering the voluminous response to all the releases throughout the year, it was abundantly clear that Flyknit filled a void that hardcore runners and Nike loyalists alike were desperately looking to fill.
Along with the blockbuster success came some controversy involving Nike’s biggest competitor in the field. Months after the February debut of Flyknit, adidas unveiled PrimeKnit – a new running shoe design with a shockingly similar construction that also honed in on the idea of “less is more.” Much like Nike’s planned schedule of a limited release followed by broader availability, adidas launched 2,012 pairs of the PrimeKnit in London right before the start of the Olympic Games. In September, Nike and adidas took their battle of ‘Knit’ to their respective legal departments, with the most recent publicized update coming in late October (adidas would be allowed to continue production after an initial halt was ordered). While it has always been understood that Nike and adidas have been direct competitors, this ‘Knit’ conflict placed a rather harsh spotlight on this rivalry, giving sneaker enthusiasts a bit of an enticing sub-plot to the already captivating Flyknit story.
By year’s end, it was clear that Flyknit was certainly the undisputed highlight of footwear innovation in 2012 and perhaps over the last several years. With Nike ready to broaden the running core of Flyknit with the Lunar Flyknit One and the Chukka in 2013, we can only imagine what the team of architects and engineers in Beaverton are cooking up at this very moment. If history tells us anything, we can certainly expect this raw and fresh technology to extend beyond the running category and likely eventually see heavy usage in Nike Sportswear, much like how Hyperfuse and Engineered Mesh have been introduced to the classic Air Max silhouettes. But what we do know for sure is that what we’ve seen with Flyknit thus far is just one single thread of a massive intertwining story that will further weave its way throughout the brand in the coming years.
i think the paranormans and the what the kobe should have been in the top ten but other than that this is a dog ass list
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avapkicks speaks blasphemy. Questions, Answers, any of the Pump series. I know this is only your opinion but damn.
I also feel some sort of way that the best release of a signature shoe all year wasn't featured by itself. The KD IV! I dislike every other KD except this one, including the KD V. These were incredibly made, had GORGEOUS colorways, and are the only low top basketball shoes I will ever hoop in because the fit and feel is INCREDIBLE. I can't see how the "Aunt Pearls" or "Gold Medals" weren't on this list representing in their own right! Besides ridiculously limited quantities, and thus leading to huge hype; I don't see how these wouldn't have made a top 15 list let alone a top 30. But hey, that's just my opinion.
Honestly my #1 release of the year was the "Paranorman" Foam. I have copped every limited release and general release foam since 97, and these are the only ones I haven't retrieved; and honestly, it's the one time I didn't feel cheated by either the company (Nike) or retailers as to why I didn't get a release of a particular shoe. It seemed to be an honest and fair raffle on twitter, that gave that patron an extremely well deserved prize for sharing a picture that directly linked to the theme of the product. I submitted plenty of "weird" childhood pics, but understanding that I might not be 1 of the 800 "weirdest" children captured in the world helped settle my disappointment. I haven't even mentioned the craft and beauty of the shoe itself. Next to the galaxy and metallic red it would be my 3rd favorite foamposite. The release was genuine, the theme and idea was genuine and the shoe was simply AMAZING! My favorite sneaker was the galaxy (My favorite sneakers have been foams since they released so I'm extremely bias), but the amount of BS i had to go through and amount of money I had to pay to purchase one pair to actually rock was ridiculous, even though I was and always am willing to do all sorts of waiting, and hours of lines to purchase releases. The paranormans were all positives about a sneaker and it's release, in a world where the "sneaker game" has taken a turn for the worse. It was a huge breath of fresh air on a very recently SUPER HYPED model of sneaker that ranks #1 all time in my opinion.
Personally i think the foamposite galaxies was the best shoe of 2012 not a huge fan of the yeezys anyway
Amazing pictures that showed off of the little nuances that made each shoe special. Overall this was a good list but I would not have included the Lebron X. That shoe still hasn't found its must have colorway. I can't wait until they announce the Black Friday and Christmas Jordan retros.
For real here. Not brand new but a lil shiny to sneaker blog, release thing. Is there any place like Hanon shop. On line or in our country? Why they do all those great New Balance colorways?
Stussy shoe is diffrent. But just in case they gotta slap New York on the back. No hater here I'm a fan of Supreme but enough New York. U dont rule the shoe world. Maybe it's Orgon?
i feel the PARANORMANS was a better FOAM than the GALAXY foams. that slime green on the bottom is better than the galaxys. the green slime smoke screen on the side is dope i mean, the galaxy was dope but i feel the PARANORMANS are better
@AljosaCikojevic galaxy foams are just as hyped homie
and too simple minded to grasp anything of good quality. Award for retros goes to Reebok for 2013, as of quality
u prob only buy retro jordans, soooo coooool. be like everybody else, nike is mind fucking u
You crazy, you not a real sneaker head if you think reebok dont make good shoes@avapkicks
@xavier987654321 its a few out there but their stock wont b that vast and the price will b super high
@Tuddy306 You should go back and start over (Kindergarten, first grade, etc.).
@Qubayza ur so right. Slap in the face. These company's think they can re-release crap and cause a craze. They're prob right. I'm sitn in a little row home w/ 18 yrs left til I own it. Has nuthn to do wit bein a knick fan, when I was a young buck I laughed that shoe. Rember bobo's.well they're back in blue and orange
@Qubayza Your entitled to your own opinion, but must not be from NY or if you did you must have lived under a rock back then. When the Ewings dropped EVERYONE under 25 had them back in the 90's. No internet ,no hype machine... just hard core Knickerbocker fans.
@IgotthatFIRE @Qubayza you are correct about that! i had the ewings back in the day and they was the joints to have in NYC! and that buzz came off of seeing people with them, not like how sneaks now a days are constantly pushed by the companies themselves! but to say ewings are trash you are seriously a rookie in this game