A sneaker collaboration allows a unique opportunity for each party involved. For the sneaker brands, it allows them to utilize creative input from an outside source. For the collaborating partners, it allows them to tell their own stories and give their own spin to popular silhouettes. When done right, they can educate and excite their fanbases, while giving us a hot new sneaker to wear in the process.
When it came time to pick the best of the year (so far), we took all of these factors into account when choosing our picks.
Release Date: 5/2
2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the ASICS Gel Lyte III, which means ASICS is putting out a different GL3 collaboration each month to celebrate. Concepts did what they do best — honor its Boston heritage with a Patriotic-themed colorway. The sneaker, a stand out in a crowded bunch, was helped by the awesome launch display at Concepts' burgeoning NYC locale.
Release Date: 5/30
The earliest collections of Pharrell’s adidas collaboration may have been on the tame side, but as the project has continued we’ve seen the ambition grow, both aesthetically and in terms of concept. The limited “Floral Jacquard” collection was inspired by fabrics Pharrell found during a trip to Paris. Floral prints on sneakers are nothing new, but the materials and execution found here made it a collab to remember.
Release Date: 4/21
Packer Shoes and Ewing Athletics partnered up with both Fabolous and Teyana Taylor for the 'Fame & War' Pack. Fab's 'Gucci' style pair was nice, but Teyana's was the clear standout. The gold upper and black accents, combined with the translucent gum outsole and gold flakes made this sneaker one of the best Ewing 33 Hi colorways of all-time.
Release Date: 3/28
While he wasn’t the first to colorblock a shoe with a solid-colored upper and alternate-color toe, it’s become a bit of a calling card for the man behind Kith. Ronnie Fieg’s “Sakura” R698 took the look to a new level with its gradient sole and shocking contrast between the magenta toe and cream upper.
Release Date: 4/19
The Nike Sock Dart was not the sort of shoe that anyone expected to come back out. And yet there it was, making its return last December with the help of frequent Nike collaborator Hiroshi Fujiwara of fragment design. The shoe spilled over into 2015, with this year's high point being the speckle-soled release in this black/cement grey.
Undefeated and Bape are two brands adidas is very familiar with on the collaboration front. Models like the Campus, Stan Smith, and ZX 5000 have been hit collabs in the past. But in the first half of 2015, the three finally came together to release the most storied model in adidas’ catalog: the Superstar. And while the inspiration behind the union had an L.A. theme, unsurprisingly, the project had widespread appeal.
Release Date: 4/16
Dover Street Market collaborations are known for their clean and minimal aesthetic, and when the opportunity came to collaborate with Jordan Brand, they didn’t veer from that strategy. The patent leather may have been unexpected, but if we would have imagined what a DSM x Air Jordan 1 would look like, it wouldn’t have been far from this.
Release Date: 3/27
The Pharrell x adidas Superstar Supercolor collection can be summed up in a single word: ambition. Any single monochrome shoe of the 50-shoe pack may seem super minimalistic on its own. But the scope of the project was so grand that when taken as a whole, it’s much greater than its individual parts.
Release Date: 2/11
For this years NBA All-Star festivities, Packer Shoes partnered up with Sneakersnstuff and Reebok to create the 'Token38' pop-up shop in NYC. They released multiple Reebok Classics collaborations, but 'The Neon' Shaq Attaq was the pair to get. Taking the OG 'Azure' accent color and flipping it to the main, this new colorway had fans of this sneaker anxiously awaiting the pair.
Release Date: 1/31
The fact that the man that sold us $400 hats could sell us a $300 Air Jordan at retail shouldn’t come as a surprise. It also shouldn’t be a surprise that any limited Jordan - even a relatively unhyped model like the Air Jordan 2 - would sell out immediately. What may have not been expected though was that a shoe whose concept was based on a woman’s bag could have worked so well, and inspire the sneaker world’s male-dominated fanbase to line up in anticipation.