words // Luis Sanchez
Looking back on my best of list for 2013, the one thing I noticed is I was constantly drawn to exceptional comfort and classic design.
My list for 2013 features a healthy dose of retro styles, as well as both updated and entirely new models by everyone from New Balance to Nike and the Jordan Brand. And while I must admit I don't own every shoe on my list just yet, I still couldn't deny the appeal and value of the few shoes that elluded me in 2013 such as the 'Daytona' 1600 by Ronnie Fieg and New Balance, or the performance-driven 'King's Pride' LeBron XI by Nike Basketball. Aside from my yet to be aquired 2013 favorites, this past year I was also impressed by a number of collaborations, led by the WTAPS x Vans Vault collection and a quite impressive take on a classic by Nike Sportswear and Dover Street Market.
Check out my top 10 shoes 2013 for yourself below, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section.
10. Ronnie Fieg x New Balance 1600 'Daytona'
With the amount of collaborations Ronnie Fieg introduced in 2013, it was tough to pick which one I appreciated the most. Fieg killed it all year with favorites such as the 'Volcano' Gel Lyte V, the Flamingo-inspired Gel-Lyte III, the 'Americana' NB 577, but none were were better than the 'Daytona' NB 1600. The blend of accenting pink and blue tones took me back to the days of the turbo pink Blazers by Stussy, and the materials utilized by Fieg and New Balance were as quality as it gets.
9. Nike Sportswear Dunk Low Viotech SP
2013 saw Nike Sportswear introduce their new Special Projects line with the return of the once-Japan exclusive 2000 'Viotech' Nike Dunk Low. Worthy of a retro release for quite sometime now, the colorful Dunk Low not only returned in true form, but was also updated with a comfy premium leather collar lining and Zoom Air cushioning. Most importantly though, the return of the Viotech Dunks helps keep my hope alive for a retro release of the Viotech Air Trainer III.
8. Nike Air Max 90 HYP - USA - Red
Calling on one of their many updated classics, Nike Sportswear found the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day last July. NSW introduced red, white and blue tonal colorways over the Air Max 90 Hyperfuse, with each pair displaying the American flag on the tongue. While I was able to get my hands on both the red and navy colorways, what I really appreciated about my first-ever pairs of the AM 90 Hyperfuse was the fact that they were just as comfortable as traditional AM '90s. I rocked these plenty in the months following their official release.
7. Nike Air Force 1 High - Blazer Pack - Dark Grey/ Sail
One of the many ways the Swoosh celebrated the 40th anniversary of their first-ever Basketball sneaker was with Blazer-inspired designs of arguably their most iconic shoe in the Air Force 1. Providing the perfect canvas for the celebration, we saw both high and low top AF1s honoring the Blazer, each covered in suede with leather detailing in the perfect off-white hue, and classic Nike Air branding and Blazer inspired laces to finish them off. While most people wasted no time picking up the fuchsia colorway, I opted for more of an everyday option in the Dark Grey/Sail color combo.
6. Nike LeBron XI
While I must admit I have yet to own any LeBron XI's yet, I can't help but already love them enough to include them in my top 10. LeBron's 11th game shoe by Jason Petrie immediately strikes you as an iconic signature model, even more than any LeBron in recent years. And that says a lot when you're following up future classics such as the LeBron 8, LeBron IX and LeBron X. I'll likely end up picking up a pair of the King's Pride colorway before its too late, or maybe even the appealing away colorway we've recently seen LeBron finally rocking. And with the opportunity to win a third straight title on LeBrons mind, I can't think of a better shoe for The King to rock as he attempts to make history once again.
5. WTAPS x Vans Vault Sk8-Hi
Vans did drop a countless amount of impressive styles in 2013, but none were better to me than the WTAPS-designed Sk8-Hi. The army-navy surplus inspired shoes featured materials specifically from N1 Jackets worn during WW II, and a premium suede that combined for one of my favorite collaborations of the entire year. The Sk8-Hi was done up in two colorways by WTAPS and Vans, and to me the navy-inspired look was by far the overall best in the five shoe collection.
4. Air Jordan 4 Retro - Fire Red
Ever since we first saw that lasered-up red Air Jordan 4 PE for MJ years ago, the world has hoped and prayed for a red AJ 4 to release. And in 2013, the Jordan Brand finally delivered. i was genuinely impressed with these in more ways than one, with the Jordan Brand utilizing top-notch materials and a forever classic Bulls color combo to celebrate the timeless AJ IV. The now much-loved Air Jordan 4 couldn't have arrived at a better time, with the popularity behind all-red shoes at an all-time high.
3. Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG - Black/Varsity Royal
Easily one of the shoes I rocked the most this year, is my Black/Varsity Royal Air Jordan 1 Retro. Reissued for the second time ever last February, this was the one shoe I knew I needed heading into 2013. Not as tough to acquire as the recently released Black/Red AJ 1, this was yet another perfectly executed retro release by the Jordan Brand with their affordable $140 price tag, Nike Air branding, original packaging and a true high cut.
2. Nike Free Flyknit+
If it came down to which shoe I really wore the most, the Free Flyknit would definitely be at the top of my list. While we've expected to eventually see a Free-equipped Flyknit runner since the ground-breaking construction process was originally introduced, Nike still managed to blow us away with the shoe's sock-like fit and lasting-comfort. Currently one of my go-to shoes, I've been lacing up the Free Flyknit in the easily rockable Black/White-Dark Grey colorway.
1. Dover Street Market NYC x Nike Sportswear Air Python SP
For the past couple of years, its seemed almost as if December is destined to provide us with some sort of unexpected quickstrike release. And this year, it was the Dover Street Market x NSW Air Python done up for the grand opening of DSM's New York City location. DSM and NSW took on the recently re-released Air Python, hitting them with an embossed snakeskin over the entire upper. Covered in the ever so simple combination of black and white with just the right amount of 3M accents, the DSM NYC x NSW Air Python was in my eyes the perfect example of how a lifestyle-driven collaboration should be executed.