Our recent overview of the The 10 Best Sneakers Of 2021 proved that there’s still plenty of room for new beginnings in the world of sneakers. The emergence of the Metaverse, new and groundbreaking partnerships as well as revived unions of the past, and the ol’ dependable Retro release are just a taste of what’s to come in 2022 (check our Yeezy release dates preview and Jordan release dates preview for proof). To give you a real taste of just how impactful we expect the next year to be, we’ve compiled a list of 22 sneakers to look out for in 2022, and the sheer volume of this year in preview is a near-promise of one of the best years in sneakers. See the full list below.
22: Air Jordan 1 Retro Hi ’85 “Georgetown” – Set for a mid-February release, the next AJ1 Hi ’85 release brings about the “Georgetown” pairing of navy and grey – a common sight in Nike’s basketball footwear in the 1980s. The choice in colorway with surely bring the customizers out of the woodworks in a race for best “vintage” treated pair.
Read more: Air Jordan 1 Hi ’85 “Georgetown”
21: Comme des Garçons x Nike Air Sunder – COMME des GARÇONS and Nike have one of the longest standing relationships in the industry. Every year, every season, the Japanese label never fails to surprise, often choosing a silhouette few could have predicted. For Spring/Summer 2022, Rei Kawakubo is showing the Air Max Sunder SP some love, which suggests GRs are likely to follow.
Read more: CDG Nike Air Sunder
20: Air Jordan 6 “University Blue” – The trendy UNC look persists in 2022 with the release of the Air Jordan 6, which effortlessly adapts the University Blue look. This continues a string of college PE style releases, giving consumers a taste of what it’s like to be on a roster of a Jordan-outfitted team.
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19: Prada x adidas Re-Nylon Forum Low and High – The adidas x Prada collaboration is finally moving the needle with the coin pouch-attached Forums, while A$AP Rocky’s role in unveiling the shoe suggests a new partnership between brand and cultural figure.
Read more: Prada adidas Forum
18: Nike Air Max Penny 1 Retro – First debuting in 1996, Penny Hardaway’s Air Max Penny 1 is set for a re-issue in the original “Orlando” look – its first since 2014.
Read more: Air Max Penny One
17: Jeremy Scott x adidas – Before the marriage between high-fashion and sportswear become commonplace, Jeremy Scott and adidas Originals introduced new crowds to what was possible when both categories formed a union. The American designer’s renewed partnership with the Three Stripes in June 2021 elated many, though Scott hasn’t revisited much of his iconic footwear catalog from the early 2010s just yet. Ever the statement-maker, the Moschino creative director is sure to take over the new year in a way only he can.
16: adidas Yeezy 1050 – Though the general public would likely disagree, fashion is all about taking risks. And while many criticize Ye’s newest adidas YEEZY silhouettes, they fail to realize how important they are in evolving the brand as a whole. The upcoming YEEZY 1050 is a step in an entirely new direction, one we’re excited to see fully realized.
Read more: adidas Yeezy 1050
15: Acronym x Nike Blazer Low – When Nike first approached Errolson Hugh for an ACRONYM partnership, the designer made it known they would do much more than create a new colorway. And while divisive at first, the label’s creations – the Lunar Force 1, Air Presto Mid, etc. – garnered a dedicated cult following still hopeful that another collaboration is on the way. After nearly four years, the wait is all but over, and the upcoming Blazer Lows could very well be one of many more releases to come.
Read more: Acronym Nike Blazer
14: Drake x NOCTA x Nike Hot Step Air Terra – Teased ad nauseam throughout 2021, Drake’s first official signature sneaker with the Swoosh – the NOCTA x Nike Hot Step Air Terra – is guaranteed to move units like the Canadian megastar’s music has for over a decade. The mid-top, chunky shoe won’t be for everyone, but it’ll further demonstrate that non-athletes are arguably more influential within the sneaker space than athletes – a battle-cry the being formerly known as “Kanye West” has been proclaiming since at least the early 2010s.
Read more: Drake Nike Hot Step
13: Air Jordan 2 returns – The Dunk proved that timing is everything, and that boon might serve the Air Jordan 2 well. There’s absolutely no debating the AJ2 is feeling the most anticipatory energy in its history thanks to Virgil Abloh’s Off-White collaboration in 2021 as well as a slew of confirmed collaborations (such as the Union Los Angeles design pictured above), OG colorways, and new concepts are due for 2022.
Read more: Air Jordan 2
12: JJJJound x New Balance 990v3 – Some say JJJJound’s works are boring; others, in rebuttal, would say they’re intentionally and alluringly simple. The Montreal-based design studio’s latest New Balance collaboration, however, is neither. With the 990v3, the silhouette that kicked off the partnership as a whole, the two proffer a colorway far louder, far more interesting than releases prior. And if this is any indication of what’s to come, then 2022 should have a lot more to look forward to.
Read more: JJJJound New Balance 990v3
11: Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low OG “Reverse Mocha” – Following the tragic loss of 10 lives at Astroworld Festival 2021, Travis Scott has fallen from the high graces he had been indulging in over the past handful of years. And while many of the 30-year-old’s partnerships have either been canceled or postponed indefinitely, a segment of consumers is eagerly waiting for Scott’s next move. Every Air Jordan 1 that “La Flame” has touched has turned to “gold,” and the previously-teased “Reverse Mocha” colorway of the model’s Low OG-iteration will surely continue that trend, if it ever releases.
Read more: Travis Scott Jordan 1 Low Reverse Mochaf
10: New Balance 990v6 – In the last three years, countless sneaker collectors became aware of something droves of comfort-loving, Made in U.S.A.-advocating and quality-seeking consumers throughout the world have known for decades: New Balance is a force to be reckoned with. Brands and creatives the likes of Aimé Leon Dore and Joefreshgoods have re-energized the Boston-based institution within the lens of “the culture,” while promoting its heritage along the way. The beloved New Balance 990 series turns 40-years-old in 2022, which calls for celebration. In addition to handfuls of projects still “under wraps,” Teddy Santis, the company’s Made In U.S.A. creative director, and team will usher in the New Balance 990v6. Expect everyone from middle-aged suburban parents to globe-trotting supermodels to co-sign the silhouette.
Read more: New Balance 990v6
9: Air Jordan 12 “Playoffs” – Releasing for the first time since 2012, the Air Jordan 12 “Playoffs” is regarded as one of the greatest Air Jordans ever during MJ’s most dominant stretch in the league. The black/white inverted color-blocking was unlike anything else at the time, with many arguing this version to be best of the model.
Read more: Jordan 12 Playoffs
8: JJJJound x A Bathing Ape BAPE STA – While it isn’t necessary to know JJJJound and its founder Justin R. Saunder’s history to appreciate their work, it certainly helps. What started as a textless, curated image blog has become one of the most lauded independent creative studios from North America. Consultant and design work for adidas Yeezy and apparel capsules with A.P.C. are just two of the dozens of projects JJJJound has been involved with, but wider audiences have come to know the eight-letter word for its footwear collaborations. Partnerships with Reebok, New Balance and Vans have been celebrated by global audiences, which makes an upcoming A BATHING APE BAPE STA joint-effort that much more exciting given that the NIGO-founded brand is internationally recognized for its role in streetwear’s early days.
Read more: JJJJound BAPE STA
7: Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red” – Where would NIKE, Inc. be without the Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red”? As one of the model’s original four styles, the sneaker helped keep Michael Jordan with the Swoosh, as it was designed by Tinker Hatfield following efforts by Peter Moore and Bruce Kilgore received by #23 with mixed feelings. Pairs from 2007 and 2013 are more than wearable, but the next “Fire Red” offering – which is slated for a Fall 2022 release – promises “NIKE AIR”-branding on the heel for the first time since 1988. Original logos, expected high-quality materials and a heritage-driven colorway have already ensured the shoes a spot in “Top 10” lists among collectors.
Read more: Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red”
6: Nike Air Max 97 “Silver Bullet” – The Nike Air Max line began in 1987. Since then, the Swoosh has released dozens of models boasting visible Air-cushioning, but the Nike Air Max 97 from – you guessed it – 1997 has arguably been among the most important. Tinker Hatfield’s Nike Air Max 1 began the revolution, but Christian Tresser’s 24-year-old design helped sustain it well into the 21st century as Air Max units have only gotten bigger. Prior to the 97, the performance-running-oriented series had almost-exclusively drawn attention from the consumer base it was intended for, but subcultures in fashion destinations like Milan quickly transformed these athletic shoes into lifestyle mainstays. Last seen in 2017 for its 20th anniversary, the Nike Air Max 97 “Silver Bullet” (or “Le Silver” in parts of Italy) is ready to step back into the spotlight for its 25th birthday.
Read more: Air Max 97 “Silver Bullet”
5: Air Jordan 11 Retro for Holiday 2022 – For the first time in what seems like years, the Air Jordan 11 release for December 2022 seems like a complete mystery. The sensible choice would be a re-release of the “Columbia” or “Legend Blue”, but who knows what the Jumpman has cooking for ’22? Whatever it may be, the AJ11 is off huge significance to the brand as it is typically one of the best selling releases year in and year out.
Read more: Air Jordan 11
4: Teddy Santis x New Balance – When New Balance first announced that Teddy Santis, the founder of New York’s beloved Aime Leon Dore, would take the reins as creative director, no one was surprised. Through the aforementioned label, Santis proved both his passion for the footwear brand as well as his command over design and color. And thanks largely in part to his collaborations, the 550 became one of the hottest shoes of 2020 and even 2021. So if that doesn’t get you excited for what the two have in-store for next year, then we don’t know what will.
Read more: Teddy Santis New Balance
3: Nike x RFTKT – During 2021, NFTs very quickly rose to prominence, now sold for as much as the world’s finest, rarest artwork. And while judged and questioned upon inception, the collectibles have quickly become one of the culture’s hottest topics.
As a result, brands across every industry began strategizing how best to join the “Metaverse.” Nike’s play included the acquisition of RTFKT, a leading name in the scene with a number of sought after collections already under their belt. In 2022, the two are sure to release something big; and considering the Swoosh’s recent trademark filings, virtual sneakers and apparel are sure to play some part.
Read more: Nike RTFKT
2: Fear Of God x adidas – In late 2020, Fear Of God announced a long-term partnership with adidas centered around the former’s athletics/basketball geared product. While footwear hasn’t been confirmed, it’s hard to imagine Jerry Lorenzo to launch this union without some kicks. His past work with Nike Basketball revealed a streamlined, elegant, and bare aesthetic that we must say fits with adidas’ overall design direction for the last half decade.
Read more: Fear Of God adidas
1: Louis Vuitton x Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 – Years prior, luxury and sneakers rarely ever intersected. But thanks to designers like Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh, the lines between very quickly began to blur. The Dior x Air Jordan 1, for instance, bridged the two like never before, and now we bear witness to more than a number of world-bending collaborations.
Before his unfortunate passing, Abloh saw Louis Vuitton and Nike down the runway. The two, with the help of the Off-White founder, let walk a small ensemble of Air Force 1s, each replete with luxurious finishings and the fashion house’s most signature motifs. And while we don’t know when or if the collection will ever release, we know for certain that it will go down in history nonetheless.
Read more: Off-White Louis Vuitton Air Force 1