The Best Women’s Releases of 2022
With the year almost done and dusted, it’s time to look back on the best women’s releases of 2022. There’s been a stack of heat releasing all throughout the year, with many brands finally breaking free from the archaic ‘pink it and shrink it’ methodology. As our list reveals, some of the best releases are those that stepped outside of the box, while others are classics that are too good to be ignored – and in a women’s size run? Chef’s kiss!
Hysteric Glamour x Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS GEL-Quantum Lylia
First unveiled to the world in September, the Hysteric Glamour x Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS GEL-Quantum Lylia burst onto social media via the Kiko Kostadinov Instagram account. As it turns out, there would be two pairs of the Lylias releasing – a silver and pink pair, as well as a black and blue pair. Piquing the interest of curious fashion cats all over the world, the collaboration was undoubtedly unexpected but absolutely needed in 2022. Breaking the mould is what the minds behind Kiko Kostadinov and Hysteric Glamour do best, and what better brand than ASICS to facilitate this?
AMBUSH x Nike Air Adjust Force
Yoon Ahn’s AMBUSH is one of the most unstoppable sneaker collaborators in the modern sneakersphere, this year bringing back a classic 90s Nike silhouette in a big way. Reviving the Air Adjust Force across two drops with two colourways in each, the bringback’s timing was perfect thanks to the global 90s/Y2K renaissance. The design was kept relatively true to the OG, cut slightly lower and featuring Nike Grind in the midsoles alongside custom heel branding.
Air Jordan 5 GORE-TEX ‘Off-Noir’
The release of the Air Jordan 5 GORE-TEX ‘Off-Noir’ is a prime example of a women’s-specific release that doesn’t subscribe to the unnecessary ‘pink it and shrink it’ design approach. It’s a familiar colourway taking palette cues from the ‘Black Metallic’ with a pop of red, and the water-resistant coating is doused over the black Durabuck uppers, among rubberised mesh midfoot windows, distinct reflective and Jumpman-branded tongues. Nice one.
Bephies Beauty Supply x Air Jordan 7
The Bephies Beauty Supply x Air Jordan 7 collaboration was one that brought something new to sneakers in 2022. Bephies Beauty Supply was founded by Beth ‘Bephie’ Gibbs, who’s also the co-owner of Union alongside her husband, Chris Gibbs. This year, BBS teamed up with Jordan Brand to create two colourways of the Air Jordan 7 which incorporated some Air Huarache and Nike ACG vibes, specifically the ACG Air Mowabb, due to the colour scheme, build and small forefoot Swoosh.
Naked x ASICS GEL-1130
Danish women’s sneaker retailer Naked kept the collaborations coming throughout the year. Linking up with ASICS, they spun their touch on the archival ASICS GEL-1130 with a conscious twist designed for everyday wear. Inspired by the ASICS message ‘live uplifted’, they created their pairs with recycled materials, as well as the shoebox, which is also created from recycled cardboard. The cherry on top was the vintage-inspired feel as seen in the cream midsoles.
Nike Zoom Vomero 5
A few months ago, Nike revealed that they would be bringing back their infamous Zoom Vomero 5, originally released back in 2010. Harking back to the peak era of the ‘Dad Shoe’ movement, the shoe was intended to be a runner but ended up being more popular in the lifestyle category. Fast forward a little, and it turns out that the Swoosh are actually planning on bringing back the model in a number of colourways, including ‘Oatmeal’, ‘Cobblestone’ and more. So far, the reception has been immaculate all around the globe.
Martine Rose x Nike Shox MR4
Voted by Sneaker Freaker’s audience as the second most ‘horrifying’ shoe of 2022, the Martine Rose x Nike Shox MR4 has undoubtedly earned its spot in the best women’s releases of 2022. Flipping the script on what women’s sneaker collaborations can look like, Rose has become renowned for altering sneaker construction to create something entirely new. Featuring an elongated and pointed yet squared toebox that’s crafted from a Foamposite-like moulded material, it sits atop an even more extended midsole to create a rather mesmerising finished product.
New Balance 990v6
First seen in March of this year, the 990v6’s existence marked the next instalment of New Balance’s lauded 990 series. There are a number of elements that connect it back to its long-running bloodline, but there are also new things too. For example, the updated 990 font on the heel counter and tongue branding. Familiar details include the layered grey suede and mesh and synthetic upper panelling. Props to New Balance for their latest 990 model and also for releasing it in a women’s size run.
Nike Air Max 1 ‘Safari’
The women’s Nike Air Max 1 ‘Safari’ was a welcome hit of nostalgia for the sneakersphere due to the fact that it’s a not-so-distant relative of the forever iconic atmos x Nike Air Max 1. While Nike continue to hold off on reissuing the classic, their latest rendition held both similarities and differences to the OG. Differing in its size run, as well as through design and textures, its likeness can be found in the ‘Safari’ print mini Swooshes and the embroidered heel Swooshes.
Air Jordan 1 ‘Starfish’
Last but certainly not least, on our list of the best women’s releases of 2022 is the Air Jordan 1 ‘Starfish’! Jordan Brand announced the pairs alongside the news that they were expanding their WNBA roster with Isabelle Harrison of the Dallas Wings. Not only was the ‘Starfish’ a subtle homage to the fan favourite ‘Shattered Backboard’ colourway, not to mention its pristine construction, but the ‘Starfish’ featured colour blocking that nodded to a famed Hermès Birkin bag. Jordans or Birkins... porque no los dos?