words & images_Nick DePaula Rather than give you a list of my favorite 9 sneakers from the year, I figured I'd fire off a list of things I'd rather see in the next year. There's a disclaimer here (as usual).... 2009 wasn't a great year for sneakers. We had a floundering franchise model for the game's biggest namesake, a continual emphasis on hybrid and fusion models, a hyperdisappointing follow-up model from Nike Basketball and even the skate categories got increasingly more lazy than normal. Unfortunately, most sport categories thought they were skate categories, spawning a horribly uninspired vulcanized trend that marred some of the industry's most classic models. When the most anticipated shoe of the year, the Air Yeezy, shares its tooling with not-quite-classics like the Flight 48 and Flight 45, both confusingly from different categories of Nike Inc., it's not a great sign. People paid $700 for 'em, of course, so go figure. The second-most sought after drop just hit for $175 with after-thought construction and quality. And I'm still trying to get two pairs. Clearly the industry isn't where we'd all like it... So here's ten things that I'd like to see in 2010, in absolutely no order. An uncut list of resolutions that I probably have as little control over as I do quitting drinking, getting that brunette to call me back, getting cut up at the gym and adding 10 inches to my vertical....

 

  • The Death of Fusions.
  • It's killing a classic line, and each model is getting to be increasingly painful. Who actually wants to wear Fusion Xs next year?

     

  • Less Stripes On My Midfoot.
  • Luckily adidas Basketball has been on a good path of moving their stripes around. Keep it going through 2010, and I'll be a happy hooper. [For the record, I hate a big Swoosh on the side of my shoes too.]

     

  • Signature Athletes That Matter.
  • No offense to KD (as his 2nd shoe actually performs amazingly well for $88) and um, EVERY OTHER BRAND, but there's three guys in the league that can carry a signature shoe in today's market. Kobe, LeBron and DWade, who now enjoys the luxury of having "Air Jordan" on his shoe's box. That's it.

     

  • Sneaker Blogs With Original Content.
  • If you have a RSS reader and can correctly copy/ paste -- that's awesome. But as a fellow blogger once said, "Try and contribute to the well of information while you're at it." This includes writing your own posts, and yes.....even taking pictures or conducting interviews at some point!

     

  • A Worthy Air Jordan.
  • The 2010 looks great to me. It's a basketball shoe. With no contraptions. (Only one very clear gimmick!) We'll have to wait and see how it's received at retail...

     

  • The End of Lunar Foam From Nike Basketball.
  • They tried it. It didn't work. Zoom Air is more responsive, and more importantly, far more resilient over time. "Over time" should never entail a life span of five wearings for a cushioning system, by the way.

     

  • Jordan colorways "inspired" by teams who got their asses kicked by the Bulls.
  • The Suns, Sonics (RIP) and Jazz. They know. They all know that Michael's Bulls kicked their asses and prevented their Hall Of Fame worthy stars from getting rings. The cities don't need Jordans in their team's colors to remind them of it.

     

  • Reebok. Doing Something.
  • I loved this brand growing up. Shaq, AI and Kemp were MY heroes, and the brand needs to get back in the limelight in the worst way possible. I'll be pulling for 'em. There just better not be a Shaqnosis-inspired Hexride down the road.

     

  • True Performance in Basketball.
  • There's nothing I hate more than "marketed lifestyle looks." In 2010, I'd most of all love for basketball shoes to have true performance in mind. If they work with jeans too, great.

     

  • Real Collaborations.
  • Jeff Staple is a good dude with good intentions, but who in 2010 will win the "Forced Project Award, brought to you by STPL x Airwalk?" Feel free to discuss....I clearly am welcoming a discussion....