words // Luis Sanchez
Although it was a year filled with energetic graphics, vibrant colorways and near-cancelled releases, 2013 was still one of the most successful 12 months in recent time for Nike Sportswear.
Nike's lifestyle-driven category celebrated sport in a multitude of ways, introducing several new models, and a number of updated classics to go alongside perfectly executed retro styles. NSW's best of 2013 list proves the brand provided something for everyone this year, with everything from the Roshe Run, to the Air Tech Challenge and LeBron X EXT all making the cut and earning our praise.
Get a look back at the best Nike Sportswear releases of 2013 according to Sole Collector in the list below.
10. Size? x Nike Roshe Run - Urban Safari
Just making it onto our list is part 3 of UK retailer Size? 'Urban Safari' Pack celebrating Nike's storied ACG line. One of several Size? x NSW collabs released over the past year, Size? hit the now classic Roshe Run model with color schemes inspired by both the Air Mowabb and Lava High. Each pair sports safari-covered Swoosh logos and paint-speckled midsoles as a further nod to Nike's iconic 'All Conditions Gear' collection.
9. Nike LeBron X EXT - Cork
Although taking over the model worn by LeBron for his second career title, Nike Sportswear celebrated The King's first-ever ring with the release of the 'Cork' LeBron X EXT. Nike Sportswear's first ever extension of the LeBron signature line featured a celebratory cork-based build and luxurious leather detailing in honor of the bottles popped by James' after taking down KD and the Oklahoma City Thunder for his elusive first career title back in June of 2012. The history-filled take on the LeBron X released last February in extremely limited numbers, and was the first of many LeBron X styles introduced by Nike Sportswear throughout 2013.
8. Size? x Nike Air Max 93 - Tropical Teal
Size? is already on the list once again, with the recently introduced 'Tropical Teal' Air Max 93. Released alongside a matching version of the timeless Air Huarache runner, Size? hit their final collab of the year with a full teal-covered upper. The last of three Air Max 93 colorways introduced by Size?, we also saw the well-respected retailer hit the classic runner with a smooth Dark Grey/Volt colorway, and an ACG-inspired combination of Mortar/Pink-Laser Orange.
7. Nike Air Force 1 Low + High - Blazer Pack
Just like most of the past few years at least, 2013 saw Nike Sportswear introduce a countless amount of Air Force 1 styles. And although a select few were all the way impressive this year, none were better than the selection of low's an high's released as part of the Nike Blazer's 40th anniversary celebration. Celebrating their debut basketball model with one of their most iconic basketball models, Nike Sportswear hit the AF1 with several suede-based looks which featured classic Nike branding, leather detailing and Blazer-inspired laces. Most popular in the collection was the Fuchsia Pink AF1 High, along with a purple-based AF1 Low that never saw a release in the states.
6. atmos x Nike Air Max 90 - Duck Camo
Longtime collaborators atmos once again joined forces with Nike Sportswear for an impressive duo of Air Max 90 colorways in 2013. Making the cut as one of the ten best NSW releases of 2013 is the 'duck camo' Air Max 90 by atmos, which provided us with a remixed take on the classic 'Infrared' color scheme. atmos also introduced two exclusive colorways of the Air Max 1 and a tiger camo AM 90, but none were more appealing than the lively 'Duck Camo' edition that perfectly blended a timeless and eyecatching color scheme with classic camo print.
5. Nike Air Tech Challenge II - US Open
With Andre Agassi returning to the Swoosh, we knew it wouldn't be long before we see the revival of his ever so popular signature footwear line with Nike. The return of the timeless Air Tech Challenge II in 2013 helped Nike celebrate the U.S Open with an incredibly luxurious take on the classic model. Released exclusively at the U.S Open and 21 Mercer in NYC, NSW hit the ATC II with a full black premium leather build, 3M laces and an energetic blue sole down below. Nike Sportswear also celebrated the Wimbeldon Championships with a simple White/Green colorway of the ATC II earlier in the year.
4. Nike Dunk Low SP - Viotech
Its not often we see Nike Sportswear reach into the vault and hit us with a retro that features premium materials AND is executed properly. Coming in as the first release as part of NSW's on-going 'Special Projects' line, this year saw Nike Sportswear cater to longtime collectors with a reissue of the classic 'Viotech' Dunk Low which was originally introduced as a Japan exclusive back in 2001. The 2013 take on the 'Viotech' Dunk featured updated cushioning with Zoom Air sockliners, premium leather collar lining and tongue badges.
3. Nike Air Max 90 HYP - Independence Day Pack
If there's one style we had to pick as the most unexpected hit in 2013, it has to be the USA-inspired Air Max 90 HYP trio. Released in three great colorways celebrating our Nation's independence, the collection quickly began to be noticed when Kanye West gave his Red October's a rest and hit the streets in the red colorway. Also not to be forgotten, Kanye also had one of his famous paparazzi run-in's with the navy blue colorway on his feet. And whether you like to admit it or not, its clear Mr. West is more than part of the reason why the trio of AM '90s was such a huge hit in 2013.
2. Nike Air Python SP - DSM NYC
Saving the best for last (well, almost.), our number two spot is filled by the recently released Air Python done-up for the opening of NYC's long-awaited Dover Street Market. Although the Python made its return in original form and a selection of modern colorways, none were more unique than DSM's collab. Dover St. Market hit the lifestyle-driven model with a debossed snakeskin pattern over the entire leather upper, 3M detailing and DSM personalizations over the sockliners. The subtle yet still flashy Air Python was complimented by matching apparel, and was limited to 200 pairs released exclusively in NYC and online.
1. Nike Air Yeezy II - Red
Love them or hate them, the 'Red October' Air Yeezy II was easily the most talked about shoe of the year by NSW and they still have yet to be released. Set to be Yeezy's final release with the Swoosh as he's now reppin' the stripes, the red Air Yeezy II will forever be seen as the shoe that almost never was. Worn by Kanye during the first leg of the Yeezus tour, 'Ye respectfully stopped rocking them on stage when he realized Nike couldn't execute an October release and his adidas deal became more likely. Following the official announcement of his new deal earlier this month, many expected the Nathan Van Hook-designed red 'Ye II's to never release, until Foot Locker unexpectedly announced an online-only drop for this Friday. While all good things must come to an end, its still tough to not think what the future of the Yeezy line could have been had he stuck with the Swoosh. Either way, Kanye still has a bright future in the footwear/apparel industry and we still get to beast over one last release of the Air Yeezy II by Nike. Good luck.