words // Brandon Richard
We kick off our Mid-Year Awards with a look back at the best retro releases from the past six months.
The early part of the year has been highlighted by the return of the Air Jordan 6 and 11 Low. For the 23rd anniversary of the 6, we've seen both original and new colorways hit the market, including the classic 'Carmines' and a pair fully decked out in infrared. The latest round of 11 Lows brought us the long-awaited 'Concord' release, nearly two decades after Michael Jordan famously laced them up for the Chicago Bulls' championship parade in 1996.
It'd be an understatement to say that adidas picked up a lot of momentum in the first half, partly due to announced collaborations with Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Rita Ora. Another reason? Nailing a plethora of Originals retros like the Stan Smith, Mutombo 2, APS and EQT Support. If the first half is any indication, we should expect a big finish to the year from the 3-Stripes.
Also getting into the mix were brands like Reebok, who reached into the vault to pull out Shawn Kemp's Kamikaze and celebrated Allen Iverson's retirement with the 'Banner' Question, a mere four years after he last suited up for a pro team.
Let's face it — there's a ton of retros to sort through, even after just a six month cycle. Here's 10 that we felt stood out above the rest for the first half of 2014.
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10. Nike SB Dunk High 'Tiffany'
Arguably the most popular SB Dunk of all-time, the 'Tiffany' made its return in February, this time on the high-cut Dunk silhouette.
9. adidas Originals Jabbar Hi 'Blueprint'
Kareem was welcomed back to the adidas family with an all-new colorway of his Jabbar Hi signature shoe. Paying tribute to Kareem's greatness on and off the court, 'The Blueprint' was made using genuine Tyvek blueprint paper.
8. adidas EQT Running Support '93
At a time when a big fuss is made over quality retros, adidas quietly delivered an insanely accurate bringback of the OG EQT Running Support for Equipment enthusiasts.
7. adidas Originals Stan Smith
With new variations and celebrity influence, the Stan Smith is having one of the best years of its already historic run. These new strategies have adidas introducing the iconic silhouette to a new generation of sneakerheads.
6. Air Jordan 6 Retro 'Infrared 23'
A great way to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the Air Jordan 6, this shoe is almost fully decked out in the color we most associate with the model.
5. Nike Air Tech Challenge II 'Lava'
With Andre Agassi back in the fold, Nike has been serving up non-stop hot colorways of his Air Tech Challenge II. Plenty of colorways could have made the cut, but we went with the classic 'Lava,' which really captures the spirit of Agassi's prime.
4. Nike Kobe Preludes
For the first time ever, Nike Basketball retroed Kobe Bryant's entire signature line to countdown to the launch of the Kobe 9. Models 5-8 launched earlier this year, qualifying at least part of the pack for this list.
3. Lance Mountain x Nike SB Air Jordan 1
I'm not sure what the difference is between an Air Jordan 1 and a Nike SB Air Jordan 1, but Lance Mountain's wear-away paint concept made this a collaboration worth doing.
2. Air Jordan 6 Retro 'Carmine'
Part of the Air Jordan 6's 23rd anniversary, 'Carmines' were re-released for the second time back in May. The best part was that you didn't have to drop extra cash for an underwhelming pair of XVIIs to get them.
1. Air Jordan 11 Retro Low 'Concord'
A release 18 years in the making, Jordan Brand finally gave us the low-cut 'Concord' Air Jordan 11 worn by Michael Jordan during the Chicago Bulls' championship parade in 1996. Two decades of anticipation sets the stage for massive disappointment, but the release generally lived up to expectations. We also named the shoe the best of this summer.