The Ultimate Top 15 Kicks List of 2015

Giancarlo Ferrari-King@@GiancarloKingFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2015

The Ultimate Top 15 Kicks List of 2015

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    Image Courtesy of Under Armour

    We've almost reached the finish line when it comes to 2015 sneaker releases. Though the holiday season is jammed up with fantastic drops, it's not the only time when heat emerges.

    Picking 15 of the top kicks to come out this year isn't simple. The surging popularity of sneakers has opened the door for countless brands to release a steady wave of footwear classics. We've seen drops from Jordan Brand, Adidas, Puma, Under Armour and more.

    But now it's time to digress. The goal here was to find 15 of the very best sneakers that hit stores this year and rank them accordingly.

    We did that. Signature shoes, collaborative efforts and more all make an appearance.

    Without further ado, let's get this list going—and as always, drop a comment below and share with us your favorite sneakers from 2015.

15. Jordan Brand Westbrook 0

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    Image via Nike

    It was an interesting year for Russell Westbrook and his relationship with Jordan Brand. As one of the last guys left wearing Michael Jordan's signature sneaker, news hit that Westbrook would be getting his own pair of kicks.

    Luckily for us, the sneaker was designed to attack on a casual front. The Westbrook 0 emerged with diverse colorways, giving Russell a chance to embrace his fashion-forward roots while sticking to the Air Jordan XX9 as his on-court sneaker of choice.

    This shoe gets a whole bunch of points for being visually compelling. The simplistic framework and colorways the Westbrook 0 comes with allow you to rock them with just about anything.

    Materials and relaxation wise, they fit more like a casual shoe than an athletic one. Limited support and breathability aren't on par with say the Air Jordan XX9. But that doesn't destroy the value. This was a very progressive shoe for a player we've all come to admire.

14. Nike Air Force 1 'Flax'

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    With the amount of colorways Nike has released when it comes to Air Force Ones, you'd think we'd be over it by now. Too bad the sneaker itself is a timeless piece of art that was meant to be replicated with special renditions and savage color patterns.

    The recent success of "Flax" colorways emerging from Nike's camp birthed this contender for sneaker of the year.

    An Air Force 1 high "Flax" model was given the whole wheat bread treatment, and man does it look clean. Rocking them in public draws eyeballs from across the age spectrum. Everyone thinks you're donning a pair of Timberland boots at first glance, which is cool considering you're actually sporting a Nike classic.

    Piggybacking off the success of the "Flax" Air Force 1 mid-tops that released earlier in the year, these preventative ankle-sprainers proved to be a worthy cop for global Nike connoisseurs.

13. Adidas King Push EQT 'Black Market'

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    Image via Adidas

    Rappers getting sneaker deals isn't big news anymore. But somehow, when one of our favorite MCs joins that extensive list of names, we still turn around and get excited.

    Pusha T and Adidas first got together and created a signature sneaker deal in 2014. The duo called it the King Push EQT. Following up on the instant success that was the EQT, this November we got the King Push EQT "Black Market" version.

    Reversing the color tones, the "Black Market" is the antithesis of the original King Push EQT.

    Despite changes to the aesthetic, the "Black Market" EQT became another accelerated seller. It tore up Black Friday, sending customers into meltdown mode.

    With two hits already tucked under their belts, we're looking forward to what Pusha T and Adidas have in store for us next.

12. Nike Air Trainer Cruz

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    Victor Cruz hasn't played a snap for the New York Giants this season, but that didn't stop him from making power moves this season.

    Cruz, a longtime sneakerhead, teamed up with Nike and released the Air Trainer Cruz. Originally released in a wheat color—dubbed "Haystack"—this initial model sold out quickly, giving Cruz bragging rights.

    The sneaker itself is a modernized take on an Air Trainer. It features a suede base, with textural stabs along the rear heel and mid-sole. Tightening straps near the toe and heel are welcomed additions to the Air Trainer Cruz. 

    There will be a handful of additional colors dropping then near future, which should give Cruz's line a complete feel that is able to reach a plethora of consumers.

11. Air Jordan 1 'Chicago'

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    Image Courtesy of Jordan Brand

    The Air Jordan 1 "Chicago" is an original classic—a tribute to Michael Jordan's early days with his beloved Chicago Bulls.

    Every time there is a retro release of this specific colorway, the world goes crazy. It was no different with the 2015 edition of the "Chicago" Jordan 1. 

    Fans flocked to stores and the Internet securing pairs, while others were left out in the cold. It may not have been the best Jordan 1 drop of the year—that shoe is coming up later on. But without the "Chicago" 1, we wouldn't have half the shoes we see today.

    True Jordan addicts need this sneaker in their collection. It's become an essential component of any tangible closet.

10. Under Armour Curry Two

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    Image via Under Armour

    Life is good for Stephen Curry. His Golden State Warriors are on a torrid pace, and his sneaker, the Under Armour Curry Two, has been slowly picking up steam as one of the top on-court kicks around.

    The organic growth sustained from the resounding Curry One made this follow-up shoe a better product by all accounts. It's a wearable, supportive dream that uses a conservative silhouette as a base for colorful anarchy.

    Countless versions of the Curry Two have already dropped, giving fans a chance to shoot jumpers and yell, "Curry," after every flick of the wrist.

    The simple fact that this sneaker has officially put Under Armour onto the map as a producer of basketball sneakers is reason enough to slide the Curry Two into this spot on the list.

    Cheers, celebrations and handshakes are all welcome for Under Armour and Curry. The partnership has become a stalwart in terms of playable NBA kicks.

9. Air Jordan XI '72-10'

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    Image Courtesy of Jordan Brand

    The tradition of Jordan Brand giving us an Air Jordan XI around Christmas time continues this year with the "72-10" rendition—a fitting release considering what the Golden State Warriors have been doing this season.

    Using nothing but premium leathers and an icy sole, you can best believe this shoe is going to be one of the more challenging hauls for sneaker lovers this year.

    You can't stress how important of a sneaker the Air Jordan XI has become. It's managed to avoid being completely destroyed by eight trillion colorways, while leaving a lasting imprint on sneaker history.

    The end of December is once again when everyone will be able to add the "72-10" Air Jordan XI to their respective collections. Those looking to cop a pair should keep their eyes peeled.

8. Ronnie Fieg X Puma R698 'Sakura'

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    Ronnie Fieg's influence on this sneaker racket won't ever be forgotten. The collaborative efforts—and there have been many—he's put forth on top of his signature Kith shops have helped the culture move forward.

    In classic Fieg style, 2015 was another huge year in the collaboration department. There were innumerable efforts that graciously spread across the sneaker spectrum.

    Choosing one wasn't easy, but after deliberation we landed on his joint venture with Puma. Named the Ronnie Fieg X Puma R698 "Sakura," this shoe was inspired by the cherry blossom season in Japan. The materials were crisp to the touch, turning the overall quality of the shoe into something extraordinary.

    Like most of the fire Fieg helps produce, the Puma R698 "Sakura" sold out quickly. What did you expect? His namesake and taste-making stature has birthed an environment of desire.

7. Nike Air Max Zero

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    Image via Nike

    The triumphant return of the Nike Air Max series was welcomed by all walks of life in 2015. However, instead of the Nike design team giving consumers a brand new sneaker, they went back into the vault and unleashed the Air Max Zero.

    For those who don't know, the Air Max Zero was an original design by Tinker Hatfield and others. Together, they tried to create the first Air Max model before moving on to another sketch.

    The Zero concept didn't come to life until this past year. We saw updated technological advancements infused into this sneaker, which allowed it to thrive in the current marketplace.

    The Nike Air Max Zero proceeded to fly off the shelves. It was well received and that was a relief, considering this was considered to be somewhat of a "lost" design.

6. Air Jordan I 'True to Form'

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    Image Courtesy of Jordan Brand

    The Air Jordan 1 returned on Cyber Monday. Jordan Brand's "True to Form" version was a hit—as all Jordan 1 models have been over the years.

    Even in the midst of an oversaturated market, the "True to Form" 1 proved to be a winner. It stood out amongst all of the 2015 Jordan 1 releases. A slick, full black coat of paint was dripped on the canvas of the sneaker.

    As dope as that was, the all-white sole really is what makes the "True to Form" sneaker come to life. There's something crazy about a black and white Jordan 1 that can't be topped.

5. Adidas Yeezy Boost 350

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    Image via Adidas

    A low-top venture from Kanye West and his Adidas team birthed the uber-popular Yeezy Boost 350. Released in three unique colorways over the course of 2015—original, "Pirate Black" and "Moonrock"—this shoe frequently stole headlines and crashed popular Internet sites.

    It was an easier sell for the general public, compared to its Yeezy Boost 750 counterpart, because of its low cut and familiar design.

    The concept West put forth was able to reach across the aisle and touch all sides of sneaker fandom. Each release dominated in the trenches, turning your beloved calm sneaker stores into deafening concert halls.

4. Nike Fragment Sock Dart

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    Nike's design work features no limitations. That's been the case for years now. But our minds became more astute to that fact when the company released the Fragment version of the coveted Sock Dart.

    It was, in a weird way, Nike's version of Adidas' Ultra Boost moment. The Fragment Sock Dart leaped onto the scene in multiple colorways and became nearly impossible to secure for retail price.

    An absorbent sole and sock-lining upper help guide the shoe together. With a plastic fastener added to secure the fit, this version of the Sock Dart was engineered as a comfort-driven shoe. The fact that it was also ridiculously stylish was an added bonus.

    We saw the Fragment Sock Dart conquer on a recurring basis with every new colorway dropped, proving this sneaker was nothing short of an impactful grail.

3. Adidas Ultra Boost

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    Image via Adidas

    The groundbreaking Adidas Ultra Boost took 2015 to new heights and pushed the brand itself into another stratosphere.

    Perfecting the patented Boost technology that Adidas is now known for, the Ultra Boost burst onto the scene in early '15. How it shook up the industry was something few pundits—myself included—expected.

    Prior to this drop, all we had was the sleek, but imperfect, Pure Boost model to base our decisions off of. When the initial black and blue Ultra Boost model hit stores, that perception quickly changed. The sneaker was so far advanced in terms of its on-foot brilliance and comfort.

    Little did we know that the shoe would soon take off in sneaker circles thanks to Kanye West sporting the all-white version. To this day, it's still a challenging cop to land that all-white Ultra Boost at retail price.

    Adidas' Ultra Boost is the future of this company. It's a building-block sneaker that can be worn casually or performing at a high level in the gym.

2. John Geiger's 'Misplaced Checks'

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    Image via John Geiger

    Customizable sneakers have become a force to reckon with in recents years and Pittsburgh native John Geiger is one reason why. Geiger's work with Dominic "The Shoe Surgeon" Chambrone—a masterful cobbler—resulted in the Air Force 1 "Misplaced Checks" series.

    Geiger's limited run of these kicks stirred up quite a commotion. Featured in a variety of special colorways, the Misplaced Checks line managed to take over the Internet, turning Geiger into a household name.

    Sadly, this series may soon be coming to an end, making places like eBay and other expensive sneaker markets the only sources left to secure yourself a pair.

    For what it meant to the world of custom kicks and how popular the shoes became, the Misplaced Checks series belongs here.

1. Adidas Yeezy Boost 750

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    Image via Adidas

    The first Adidas sneaker with Kanye West's name on it dropped to fanfare in February of 2015. Dubbed the Yeezy Boost 750, no sneaker this year was met with a wider range of mixed emotions.

    Kanye's attempt to reinvent his sneaker line with Adidas—after bailing from the clutches of Nike—freed him up creatively. The Yeezy Boost 750 was the crowning moment where all of that hard work and design ideas came front and center.

    People who love high-top kicks couldn't help but want a pair of Boost 750s. There aren't many shoes out there that keep up with the 750s in terms of exclusivity, scheme and hype.

    Those who struggled with its look weren't nearly as supportive.

    Considering that he put together an unforgettable year in terms of sneakers—West won Shoe of the Year at Footwear News’ 29th Annual Achievement Awards, via Kirthana Ramisetti of thNew York Daily NewsKanye West and his Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 deserve the top spot on our list.

    All Nike/Jordan product information via News.Nike.com unless noted otherwise. All Adidas information via News.Adidas.com unless noted otherwise.