Top Stories of 2017 - Sneakers

The year in kicks
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Forget the claim that any trademarked name jumped over any sort of logo. There was something like parity in the sneaker firmament in 2017. No one brand dominated, though there were specific releases that seemed to dominate the headlines in any given week or month. Sure, Nike partisans will argue that the Swoosh won the year, just as Three-Stripe loyalists will argue the same. In such cases where competition is robust, there is typically one winner: the consumer. See the top 12 sneakers they were treated to throughout 2017, listed in no particular order. 

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1. NikeCraft Mars Yard 2.0

Artist Tom Sachs and Nike went back to the drawing board to make improvements to their Mars Yard sneaker from 2012. The 2.0 version swapped out the original Vectran material with a polyester warp-knit tricot mesh, resulting in a far more durable sneaker that could withstand the rigors of space camp.

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2. adidas Futurecraft 4D

With the adidas Futurecraft 4D, the emphasis falls squarely on "future." The shoe is mounted on a sole unit made through a process called Digital Light Synthesis, which departs from 3D printing and eliminates the need for traditional prototyping or molding. Instead, the shoe brings additive manufacturing to the athletic shoe industry -- and a possible glimpse into the future.

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3. NikeLab ACG Komyuter

In recent seasons, NikeLab ACG has become synonymous with the futuristic urban commuter. In keeping with that contemporary and technical aesthetic, NikeLab ACG debuted the Komyuter, a collapsible, adaptable silhouette inspired by a simple brown paper bag. 

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4. Air Jordan 1 Flyknit

If you're going to apply Nike's revolutionary Flyknit technology to a Jordan shoe, what better model than the one that started it all. The icon arrived in 2017 with an entirely new look and feel, with the OG colors and details intact to keep the Air Jordan legacy more alive than ever.

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5. New Balance 247

New Balance got sleek in 2017. The brand's new 247 managed to combine its legendary craftsmanship with a bold new look, though elements of fan favorites managed to peek through. They include the asymmetrical toe of the 1300 and streamlined tooling borrowed from the 998.

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6. adidas Yeezy BOOST 350 V2 "Zebra"

The colorway so nice that Kanye and adidas released the shoe twice. First in February and again in June, even as the shoe sold out both times. We're not quite at the point that everyone who wants a YEEZY will get one -- per Kanye's widely circulated quote from 2015 -- but we may slowly be getting there.

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7. Nike Air VaporMax

We may have become acquainted with the VaporMax in 2016, but the silhouette didn't officially launch until 2017. The first "Air"-infused model to make a real splash in the modern era, the VaporMax featured a bold maximalism that reminded us that sometimes more is more.

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8. adidas Originals Iniki

The ideal sneaker for shoppers seeking vintage style with performance-level comfort, the Iniki from adidas Originals keeps it simple. Take a nylon and suede upper, mount it on an energy-returning BOOST midsole and you're ready to fly. 

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9. Nike Zoom VaporFly Elite

The shoe made to celebrate the Swoosh's "moonshot" goal of breaking the two-hour marathon, the Nike Zoom VaporFly Elite represents the evolution of footwear specifically made for long-distance running. ZoomX cushioning and an embedded full-length carbon-infused nylon plate are the key ingredients here, but it's the 21-mm stack height that's guaranteed to turn heads.

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10. adidas YEEZY BOOST 700 "Wave Runner"

Kanye's version of the dad shoe, the adidas YEEZY BOOST 700 "Wave Runner" bulks up a retro design seemingly inspired by the '90s. Debuting at during Kanye YEEZY Season 5 show, it's a shoe that fashionistas and retirees can embrace alike. 

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11. Nike Air Max 1

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017, the Nike Air Max 1 was the first shoe to feature visible Air. Back in the day it fomented a running revolution -- with a Beatles soundtrack in tow -- and in 2017 the elder statesman relived its youth through a series of OG colorways.

 

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12. Parley x adidas BOOST Pack

adidas' ongoing collaboration with Parley for the Oceans brought shoppers a BOOST three-pack in 2017, featuring white-and-blue versions of the UltraBOOST, UltraBOOST X and UltraBOOST Uncaged. Each silhouette was built with recycled materials on the upper averaging a total of 11 recycled plastic bottles, delivering a fast and comfortable lesson on the importance of ocean sustainability.