The last ten years in footwear may have been an exhilarating ride, but it was hardly a smooth course. As expected, the dominant forces continued to set the tone, but what really defined this span of time was the “new beginning” – and there were plenty of them. Once selective in their timing, shoe releases have evolved into an all-out arms race that is riding dangerously close to the sun, and the tipping point between quality and quantity is, frankly, coming into vision.
Overall, this winding path of peaks and valleys included a series of interruptions – both unpredictable and inevitable – that profoundly affected the balance of power in the industry, all of it represented by sneakers. The rise and fall of the basketball shoe, long-shot collaborations that became reality, blunders of irrevocable proportions, and the greatest defection in the history of footwear are just some of the historical moments that will undoubtedly shape the next decade, but before we look into the future, a proper review of the past is due.
Any “best of” list is entirely subjective, but it’s emphatically the case when it comes to sneakers. The idiosyncrasies of rarity, resell value, and regional taste will never render two lists the same, but we all can agree that the only indisputable criteria that truly matters is timelessness. It wasn’t an easy task (it took us months and endless revisions) and we chose to only consider items that actually released to the public in some fashion, but we’ve narrowed down what we deem the 100 best sneakers of the decade that have made lasting impressions in one way or another. We’ll reveal our picks in portions throughout the week, beginning today with numbers 76 through 100.
Updated: The entire list has been revealed.