words_Nick Engvall 2009 was a crazy year for me in all aspects of life and full of diversity. I took a completely different approach to sneakers than I ever have before by being more open minded towards what possibilities are out there that I may overlook. I really tried to diversify what I was wearing. There are literally thousands of shoes I could have chosen but each of these has some special meaning behind it to me personally. It's always been more than just a colorway that made me like or dislike a shoe, the story and people behind them is what gives them importance to me. I'll work my way down the list to number one. First up there are a handful of shoes that didn't make the list that definitely deserve an honorable mention. Stefan Janoski's first signature shoe from Nike SB should have made the list because he's a hometown hero, but another legendary skate shoe nudged it out. The Kobe IV was an incredible shoe to hoop in for me, and I can't wait to play in the V's. The Griffey Max returning couldn't have been more well timed with The Kid signing with the Mariners again. The TK Society is a wild and crazy style that every one seems to wear with straps flailing, but I'd rock this black and blue colorway tucked under Dickies all day, every day. I've always been a fan of the GEL Lyte III, and Ronnie Fieg really had the colors placed perfectly on the Super Blue colorway. 10. I've always preferred skating attempting to skate in Half Cabs and Steve Caballero is someone I really look up to. For one, he's in his mid 40's and can still skate an empty pool better than most people on the planet. Aside from skateboarding, he's an incredible artist and also a car guy. On top of that, the black and orange always gets me, so there's a number of reasons that the 20th Anniversary Vans Vault "XX" Edition is at number 10 on my list this year.

Vans Vault Caballero XX 20th Anniversary 9. If there was ever a shoe that raised the level of competitiveness of sneaker makers to achieve more, the original Reebok Pump did that. This is from my favorite era of sneakers, when every manufacturer had to raise their output standards to compete or they were left behind. I was stoked to see this return and Reebok did a great job of not only celebrating its history but also being compliant with current demands with the collaborations on the Reebok Pump Bringback. Only downside is I wasn't able to get my hands on any, so pictures will have to suffice.

Reebok The Pump Bringback 8. Most sneakerheads might not understand this choice, but those that know me know that I'm all about Chucks. I love them because not only are they legendary, they are one of the few shoes that no matter what social group or style you prefer, Chucks can be worn to fit that style. It was great what Converse Skateboarding did to the Chuck Taylor or CTS. It's got a little extra padding in the heel and tongue, and the cushioning is outstanding. The perfect modifications to an already great shoe, and unlike other company's, Converse didn't try to add some funky outsole that changed the classic look. Hats off to CONS.Converse Skateboarding Chuck Taylor (CTS Chucks) 7. The soft suede of the Kicks Hawaii x Reebok Reverse Jam reeled me in. Both color combos were great, but the black and orange really got me. The Reverse Jam was a perfect choice, it's a simple silhouette with lots of history and KICKS/HI didn't go overboard with crazy color schemes. They stuck with what they know, and added subtle details like the YKWWS company slogan on the heel. Definitely had to cop these. Kicks Hawaii x Reebok Reverse Jam 6. For some reason unknown to all of mankind, I never picked up the Space Jams when they last released in 2001. I wasn't going to let them slip by again. No matter how good of a deal I could have found on the forums, although $175 is the most I have ever spent on any pair of shoes, these were a no brainer. Although for a lot of releases, the story behind getting the shoes makes great memories, I didn't want to take the chance with these. Thanks to my friend Portchy, I didn't have to do anything but have some patience. Air Jordan 11 Space Jam 5. The New Balance 1500 is one of my favorite silhouettes of all time. Thanks to Concepts, I have a new favorite pair. The concept behind the Freedom Trail Pack was exactly what boutiques should do. Taking the history that surrounds them, they created a masterpiece in my mind. Paying homage to their city's heritage with one of the highest quality sneakers I've ever seen. I can't say enough about these -- you just need to see them in person. Congratulations and thank you to Concepts for raising the bar. Concepts x New Balance 1500 Freedom Trail 4. House of Pain has been one of my favorite hip hop groups since the 90's. Still to this day, I am a fan of all of their projects and solo projects. When I heard they were going to collab with adidas, I knew I had to have them. Then when I saw they used the classic crest logo and the "Fine Malt Lyrics" slogan on the side, I did all I could to get my hands on a pair. I would have loved to have attended the release event, but having the shoes in hand is priceless to me. House of Pain x adidas Campus 80 2. The Nike Trainer 1 is my favorite "new" silhouette in a very long time. It's ridiculously comfortable to me and it's taken a beating and still holds up through everything I've put it through. There have been so many good colorways of the shoe I couldn't really choose one. I wasn't able to get any of the Pacquiao colorways, but the man and the shoes are beastly. Add on to that, I'm a Niners fan, so the colorway is second only to the Jerry Rice PE in my mind. Nike Air Trainer 1 1. The Air Jordan III True Blue is hands down the number one release this year. It rivals the Military IV as one of my favorite shoes of all time. I think if I was only able to buy and wear one shoe the entire year it would have to be the True Blues. It's classic, comfortable and even after a lot of wear and time, it still looks good if you keep it clean. Air Jordan 3 True Blue