words // Zac Dubasik

Now that you've seen Sole Collector's picks for the best sneakers of the first half of 2014, we're going to share our personal favorite kicks of the year ... so far. Will these hold up over what's sure to be a strong second half of the year? You'll have to check back at the end of the year to find out. But as of now, these are our individual top picks.

 

Staff Member: Zac Dubasik
Shoe: Air Jordan Future

Based on the number of colorways we see releasing, and the rate at which they're coming out, there's good chance I'll be sick of the Air Jordan Future by the end of the Summer. But as of now, I still love it. For years, Jordan Brand struggled to offer casual sneakers that weren't just retros, but the Future broke that trend. 

 

Staff Member: Steve Jaconetta
Shoe: Air Jordan 11 Retro Low 'Concord'

Almost twenty years in the making, the 'Concord' Air Jordan 11 Low was finally released to the public. It's no secret that this particular colorway of the Air Jordan XI is my all-time favorite. With that being said, no matter how many times they release or, if they're high or low, I will always be excited for them. So it was only natural that I copped multiple pairs for myself as well as a pairs for the rest of my family including my four month old son so he can enjoy them when he gets a little bigger.

 

Nike Air Yeezy II 2 Red October

Staff Member: Brandon Richard
Shoe: Nike Air Yeezy 2 'Red October'

Some will reduce this selection to 'hype.' And maybe that's the case, but I'm not ashamed about it. There's something to be said about a shoe that has a year-long story, and my job is to follow that entire story and report on it. From the debut, to the 'Hold My Liquor' mention, to the online giveaway, to the unannounced launch, the 'Red Octobers' were one of the most fascinating releases of all-time. Aside form that, I just think it's a great shoe, and the red colorway gave the eccentric design a different kind of pop. It clearly wasn't the first all-red shoe to hit the market, but suddenly red dominated styles are a "thing." 

 

Staff Member: Brennan Williams
Shoe: Nike Free Orbit II SP

The Nike Free Orbit II SP, the successor to the 2011 Lunar Orbit, struck this past spring in limited numbers. Nathan VanHook's outstanding design brings fashion and functionality to the slip-on shoe, with a uniquely textured upper sitting atop tried-and-true Free 5.0 tooling. A spiked TPU toe and heel, carried over from VanHook's LunarTerra Arktos boot, put this shoe over the top in the best way possible.