words // Zack Schlemmer
Our year-by-year list of the best shoes of the Sole Decade continues with a look at the top ten kicks of 2008.
The year seemed to have a pretty wide range of both lifestyle and performance models, and it was a bit hard to distinguish where each chosen shoe should be placed within the list. Other than the top three spots, almost every shoe could have an argument to be placed higher, lower, or maybe even not on the list at all, depending on how you weigh the significance of new technologies versus style. After much deliberation and a long string of e-mails between the SC staff, this is how we put it all together.
10. Supreme x Vans Bad Brains Sk8-Hi Collection
Supreme and Vans teamed up in 2008 to celebrate legendary DC Hardcore band Bad Brains with a capsule collection that included these three colorways of the Sk8-Hi inspired by the artwork from their debut album. There have been countless Vans collabs with bands over the years, but these Bad Brains Sk8-Hi’s remain about as good as it gets.
9. Nike SB Blazer Premium ‘Lance Mountain’
The SB Dunk was in a bit of a decline by 2008, but the year had one of the best Blazers ever with this all-orange suede colorway modeled after one of Lance Mountain’s old skate decks and artwork by CR Stecyk. Ironicially, of the only true “core” skate inspirations on a Nike SB shoe.
8. Nike Air Max 90 Current
This modified version of the Air Max 90 led the way for Nike Sportswear’s now expected tinkerings and updates of the classics. It’s a shoe that’s important in a good or bad way, depending how you look at all the Lunar, Flywire, Hyperfuse, Vac-Tech etc. versions of retro silhouettes now churned out by Nike on a seemingly weekly basis.
7. Nike Zoom Kobe III
2014’s Kobe 9 is being talked about for its high performance design with complete disregard for casual appeal, but go back to his third signature shoe with Nike and the story was much the same. While the Zoom Kobe I and II were both great, the lightweight, snake-like Kobe III set the tone for the rest of his signature line.
6. Slam Jam x Nike Air Force 1 Pack
A simple and classic colorblocking is almost always better on the Air Force 1. Italian boutique Slam Jam did just that on the best Forces of 2008. However, the materials were anything but traditional, with the use of premium crinkled patent leather. Bellissimo!
5. Nike Lunar Racer
The shoe that led Nike’s lightweight Lunarlon revolution. With the countless successful Lunar cushioned shoes since, what else needs to be said?
4. adidas Originals JS Wings
Love’em or hate ‘em, the importance on the JS Wings by Jeremy Scott to the sneaker world is significant. If you love them, you recognize the uniqueness, creativity, and playfulness of something different. If you hate them, you probably need to lighten up.
3. Air Jordan Retro Countdown Pack Collection
Air Jordan Retros saw more hype than ever before in 2008, thanks of course to the Countdown Packs, which paired up duos of the first 22 Air Jordans each month to add up to the number 23. Some packs were stronger than others, and some shoes were complete duds (I’m looking at you, Air Jordan 20), but the overall retro hype has only continued to build and build after the last pack in December containing the 11 and 12 sent sneaker heads into a frenzy.
2. Air Jordan XX3
After the Air Jordan lost some appeal aesthetically for a couple of years, it was back with a vengeance in 2008 with the Air Jordan XX3. Another Tinker Hatfield masterpiece, the XX3 did MJ’s number justice with a perfect blend of looks, premium materials and innovation. The last great Air Jordan game shoe?
1. Nike Hyperdunk
The Air Jordan XX3 is amazing, but the Hyperdunk had to be #1 for 2008 based on its importance to virtually all basketball footwear since. Introducing Nike’s new Flywire technology to the court that year, the Hyperdunk also set the now-standard focus on as-light-as-possible-while-still-maintaining-support design ethos for basketball. This first version of the Hyperdunk will go down as one of the most iconic Nike Basketball models of all time.