Best of 2017
2017 has been an interesting year for sneakerheads all across the globe. The return of the Air Max 97 and perhaps the fall of the Yeezy wave. We asked some of our writers and Team Epsilon members about their favorite pickups of the year:
2017 was filled with a great deal of quality drops. New silhouettes and bold colorways proliferated the limited release landscape. While new is generally considered best in most cases, my release of the year is a timeless sneaker silhouette and colorway, the Nike Air Max 97 Silver Bullet. Twenty years ago, Nike released arguably one of its most iconic silhouettes in the Air Max 97. While other sneakers like the Nike Air Max 1 and the Air Jordan 1 have inspired hundreds if not thousands of varying colorways and collaborations, all with varying degrees of market success and fan induced clamor; the Silver Bullet never needed any of that to be successful. Every iteration of the 97 over the years paled in comparison to the concurrent release of the Silver Bullet colorway. No updates to the shoes colorway or materials, or high end collaborations could ever outdo the popularity and attractiveness of the original Silver Bullet colorway the way such changes have occurred with the Air Max 1 and Air Jordan 1. While new and exciting shoes littered the year, picking a release from the sneakerscape of 2017 that will withstand the next twenty years unscathed would prove difficult at best. The Nike Air Max 97 Silver Bullet was the shoe drop for 2017, necessary for any true sneaker connoisseur’s collection.
What’s your favorite pair of the year? A hard decision for every sneaker fan around the world. My choice for this year was hard aswell. Asics let down their fans; Kangaroos and Diadora both had a great year; Adidas produced lots of Boost. This years best brand for me? There’s only one choice: Nike.
Nike fueled my old love with reissues of Air Maxes with improved quality and improved shape. Retros of the OG colorways, the famous Atmos collaboration ‚Elephant‘, the Jewel collection. Amazing!
But still, no Air Max became my favorite pair of the year. It’s an Air Force One. THE Air Force One for me - The Roc-a-fella Records Air Force One.
Since his first Album, The Reasonable Doubt, I have been a huge fan of Jay-Z. I grew up with his music, the Rocawear clothing line and the rise and fall of Roc-a-fella Records, the label Jay founded together with Dame Dash and Kareem ‚Biggs‘ Burke.
The Roc-a-fella Records Air Force One went from being a promo shoe in 1999 to a extremely limited release in 2004 and had its wider release in 2017.
This sneaker is no ordinary Air Force One, it’s not about the iconic logo, it’s about way more. This sneaker reflects the impact Roc-a-fella Records had on the whole Hip Hop culture in the 90s and early 2000s; it reflects the quality great music, classic films, fashion and lifestyle.
It remembers me of my childhood, the music I listened to while growing up, the fashion I wore, the experiences I made. Roc-a-fella was way more than music. This is more than sneaker. This is my definition of grail.
This is the moment of the year when you usually choose which goals you want to achieve in the next one. This statement is true about everything but shoes. About our most beloved way to spend money, this is the time you decide your top pick up of the last twelve months and it isn’t an easy decision. What will drive your choice? Hype, quality or exclusivity?
I was lucky enough to pick almost everything I really wanted but the Off-White Air Jordan 1s, that would probably have been at the top spot. In my opinion, 2017 has been the year of the great comeback of Nike. Beaverton has celebrated the Air Max 1 30th anniversary in the best way, bringing back the old shape of the shoes in premium and limited versions, in new and OG colorways. Between these ones, there’s my top pick up of the year.
When I saw the Air Max 1 “Master” for the first time, they immediately became one of my new grails. The original shape is combined with patches from the greatest Air Max 1s: Safari, Elephant, the red and Royal OGs, the Heijn. It’s a way to have them all in a pair of sneakers, a unique opportunity for who, like me, wasn’t able to buy any of these ones. The all black leather (there was a Friend & Family white version too) is really soft, the perfect background to highlight all the colorful patches around the upper, together with a simple gum bottom.
These Air Max 1 are a rare case of sneakers that sum up all the reasons who could lead to a purchase: for me, they are my top 2017 pick up.
Nike Tom Sachs 2.0 Mars Yard - My favorite shoe of 2017
Honestly I am not a big fan of brown shoes. I was not hyped on the online release day of the Mars Yard. I remember that on that Saturday a friend and me wanted to go out to take some photos and to buy another pair at TheGoodWillOut. We have met us at 11am at my place and on every social media source the Mars Yard was topic No.1. In the end I said to my friend „Lets give it a try on Nike.“. But as you all know, there were no pairs online a Nike EU.
But what happened in the meantime was that I have seen the shoe again and again on the Nike page and I fell in love with it. Colorway, materials everything seems perfect.
But then that mysterious release, what the hell is going on?!!!
The resell prices are exploding to 500-600€ and everybody was hoping for a restock…but Nike gives everybody a big fat FUCK YOU!
So I decided in the end of 2017 to take some money and spend it in that wonderful shoe. I have found my size, from well known guy who had a legit pair. I have bought it for a high but fair price and trust me, three weeks of waiting for shoes can be so hard. But in the end it was one of the best feelings in 2017!
Mars Yard straight on feet!
I'm usually an Asics fanatic. Until the beginning of the year I had hardly any other brand at home. 2016 was a rather bad year for Asics, of course we had the legends day releases, but there wasn't much else going on. Unfortunately, not much has come from Asics in 2017 either. Thankfully. Hikmet saved the year for me.
After leaving Solebox, Hikmet decided to go all in by creating his own sneaker brand called Sonra. After the preparations in 2016, we were finally able to experience the first release at the beginning of 2017. The first official release on www.sonra.de was the Bae. As a coincidence, the release day was the first day of the year. And exactly this release has been the release of the year for me.
When Sonra launched, I wasn’t sure if I’m gonna be collecting them. They are in a much higher price class than a Gel Lyte III or Air Max 1. Yet I had the chance to cop the Bae. When they arrived, I was really blown away. Most of you guys know Diaodora or Kangaroos for their quality in the execution of a sneaker. Trust me, Sonra offers an even better quality compared to these two also very good brands. The leather which is used on a Sonra is from German cows and vegetable tanned. Even the laces are made in Germany. Only the sole units are made in Italy because Hikmet hasn’t found the right manufacturer in Germany. By selling Sonra, Hikmet wants us to remind to pay attention to sustainability. That’s why he chooses to release them only every one or two months in a low limitation.
This year we saw the Bae, the great comeback of the GGB, the Chestnut, two colorways which has been designed by Hikmet’s daughter and many more. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Hikmet plans next with his brand. He already told that the first collaboration will release soon. I’m ready for them!
2017 has been an interesting year for sneakers, to say the least. Diadora had a strong year, and put out many contenders for best sneaker of the year, and Asics had a couple (yes, only a couple) GL3s that were worth trying for. Sonra came crashing on the scene late in 2016 with outstanding quality and a sleek, simple design. The Off-White x Nike pack was a great concept, but nearly impossible to land. Many other brands and collabs were good or just okay. But Asics had one other shoe this year that shocked and confused most – but if you get it, you get it.
In 2016 Ronnie Fieg revived the Gel-Mai, and it was puzzling to many in the sneaker community. I admit, at first, I didn’t quite get it, but I thought the Militia colourway was an excellent take. It was rugged and futuristic, but not futuristic in the way we might imagine shoes to look like in the future now—futuristic in the way they might have imagined in the 1990s shoes would look like in 2017. In a way, they were right. But even many Asics-heads aren’t on board with the model.
In the past, Slam Jam Socialism has had some incredible luck with Asics collaborations, and it wasn’t until their version of the Gel-Mai silhouette that I saw a shoe that I needed to have, the “Angle Pack.” They did two colours: black and green. The black colourway is excellent, very wearable, and far more subtle. But the green colourway was exactly what this shoe needed. The whole ad campaign for the shoe was strange, with shiny incomplete backdrops and models falling over shirtless while wearing the shoe. Slam Jam’s Gel-Mai is so out there—green and pink and purple and yellow—screaming at you, it’s almost as if it’s admitting how wacky the Gel-Mai is. And that’s what makes it perfect.
Slam Jam’s take on the Gel-Mai is the perfect rendering of the model. The Angle Pack paved the way for several other great Gel-Mai collabs to follow, even if this is a shoe that’s arguably ahead of (behind?) its time. It’s no doubt an unsuspecting pick for sneaker of the year, but for me, it was the sneaker that I couldn’t stop thinking about in 2017.