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Mid-Year Awards: Best New Models of 2014

words // Zac Dubasik

Like seemingly every year in the sneaker world, much of the discussion in 2014 has centered on retros. And that’s unfortunate, because most of the new models we’ve seen introduced this year are actually strong.

While there hasn’t been any drastic new technology introduced yet, we’ve seen existing tech start hitting more new models, like Flyknit and Boost. That means many of these models feature more evolved designs than those shoes which helped launch the tech.

Many of the biggest releases of the year, especially in the basketball categiroes, have yet to be launched, so there is pleanty of excitement left in the back half of the year. But in the meantime, check out our list of what’s happened so far, when it comes to new models.

RELATED: Mid-Year Awards 2014

 

10. Under Armour Speedform Apollo

Under Armour has built on the success of the Speedform RC, and its non-traditional construction methods, by refining the design with the Speedform Apollo. It will be interesting to see if any of its traits make their way to the rest of the Under Armour line.

 

9. Nike Free Mercurial Superfly HTM

The Mercurial Superfly IV is an impressive cleat, but it doesn’t do much good off the pitch. Enter the Mercurial Superfly HTM. It still may not be easy to wear casually, but at least you won’t be risking a nasty fall by wearing them on pavement.

 

8. Nike Kobe 9 Elite Low HTM

Many fans were disappointed when the Kobe 9 was introduced as a high, and then as a non-Elite low-top, and then again as an unattainable HTM edition of the Elite Low. But that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the highlights of the year.

 

7. Nike LunarGlide 6

It’s hard to believe that we are already 6 models in, but the LunarGlide has become one of Nike’s most successful running franchises. While the look has evolved more than the technology, the latest edition offers some of the most interesting colorblocking potential in the line’s history.

 

6. Nike Free Flyknit 4.0

While the Free Flyknit line has probably logged many more miles casually than it’s been run in, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a success, or included great designs. The 4.0 version was much less sock-like than the 5.0, which made it easier to wear for non-running purposes.

 

5. Nike Free Orbit II

We recently ranked Nate Van Hook as Nike’s top footwear designer right now. And sure, he has the Air Yeezy 2 on his resume, but it was shoes like the Free Orbit II that helped solidify his place on our list.

 

4. Nike HyperRev

In a year where Nike Basketball was largely dominated by disappointments, the HyperRev offered a rare bright spot. It wasn’t without its faults, but the shoe laid the foundation for a successful hoops franchise in the future.

 

3. adidas Pure Boost

The Pure Boost may look simple, and have launched in largely tonal colorways, but its construction and technology are next level. As Boost cushioning earns more and more fans, only time will tell how far it can take adidas.

 

2. adidas ZX Flux

Our picks for #2 and #3 probably could have gone in either order, based on design. But ultimately the affordability and versatility - especially when taking into account the upcoming miadidas launch - put the ZX Flux a step above it's higher-tech cousin.

 

1. Air Jordan Future

You can argue that the Jordan Future isn’t an entirely new sneaker, and you’d be right. It obviously utilized the same tooling as arguably the most famous Air Jordan of all time. But other than sharing that tooling, it didn’t lean on the legacy of the 11. Instead, it became possibly the first Jordan Brand sneaker ever designed for off-court use that actually carried the same interest as a retro.

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