Sneaker News Top 30 of 2012

December 28th, 2012 by

4.25 / 5 (2 VOTES)

For better or worse, 2012 was a defining year for the sneaker world and all that it encompasses. It was a year that saw certain shoes throw the laws of supply and demand so out of whack, that brands and retailers had to completely rethink the way they sell shoes to the public just to keep the peace. If you were willing to put in some legwork or, better yet, had the right connections, it was a banner year for sneaker enthusiasts. “Must-have” releases seemed to be at an all-time high and nearly every weekend offered up some sort of temptation for consumers. 2012 saw the release of some of the most eagerly anticipated and passionately sought-after sneakers the game had ever seen and it’s safe to say that things will never be the same again.

In between those, there were plenty of other desirable targets along the way, from the special limited editions and collaborations to beloved Retro returns and promising new designs and innovations. There were even a few certified sleeper hits that organically carved out their place among the year’s best releases. Due to an exponentially expanding consumer base and a heightened level of product awareness, you might not have been able to get your hands on every shoe you hunted for in 2012, but there was certainly no shortage of solid alternatives ripe for the picking in their absence.

As much as some things may have changed in 2012, certain unshakable staples remained steadfast. Air Jordan retros continued to dominate, while Nike maintained its stranglehold on the

performance basketball and running categories. In the retro and lifestyle realm, however, other brands have made great strides in driving a growing parity in the market. Companies like New Balance and Asics continued to pick up substantial steam fueled by solid collaborative efforts that have helped reintroduce and popularize a slew of classic models from their respective back catalogs. Reebok brought it back to their glory days by successfully resurrecting some welcome silhouettes from the past with the promise of more on the way, and the upstart Ewing Athletics brand made some waves of their own with a long awaited and well-received comeback campaign.

This is now the fourth year that Sneaker News has tackled the overwhelming task of narrowing down twelve months of shoe releases into a comprehensive Top 30 list delving into the significance and justification for each chosen selection. By this point, the necessary criteria and general selection process have been boiled down to a science, and while we don’t claim to speak for everyone with our eventual rankings, they are chosen carefully and with love by the Sneaker News team. These are not necessarily our 30 favorite sneakers of the year – they’re the ones we felt to be the 30 most compelling sneaker stories of the year. We’re in the business of bringing you the all the latest news in sneakers and this list serves as a year-end highlight reel for 2012’s biggest headlines. Whether you agree or disagree with our selections and order, we hope you enjoy a thorough look back at the year in sneakers through the lens of the Sneaker News Top 30 of 2012.

Managing Editor: Aaron Kr.
Photography: John Kim/Sneaker News
Production: Yu-Ming Wu
Writers: Aaron Hope, Aaron Kr., Brendan Dunne, John Kim

The Sneaker News Top 30 of 2012 is also available as a printed book.


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Filed under: Adidas Air Jordan Air Yeezy Basketball Collaboration Dunk Featured Kevin Durant Kobe LeBron Nike Air Force 1s Nike Air Penny Nike Flyknit Nike Foamposite Nike Lunar Nike Retro Nike Roshe Nike SB Reebok Skate


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