The Best Colabs of 2022 (So Far!)

the-best-colabs-of-2022-so-far

Partnerships remain the central modus operandi for the sneaker industry in 2022. But not all colabs are created equal. This year, we’ve seen some showstopping link-ups from both fresh and familiar faces. From Up There’s epic New Balance 2002R to Union’s jet-setting Nike Dunk Low ‘Passport Pack’, these are our favourite colabs so far in 2022.

Teamwork makes the dream work!

A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 2

A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 2

When it comes to storytelling, community focus and luxurious design, A Ma Maniére are in a class of their own.

In June, A Ma Maniére launched their Air Jordan 2, a fitting tribute to a silhouette originally inspired by classic Italian luxury. Manufactured in all-over suede uppers, A Ma Maniére skilfully textured the original lizard-print onto the black midsoles (*drool*), while powerful hits of Burgundy alluded to the royalty of ‘His Airness’.

A perpetually misunderstood silo from the Jumpman canon, A Ma Maniére showed us exactly how to celebrate the luxurious design blueprints of the Air Jordan 2.

Union x Nike Dunk Low ‘Passport Pack’

Union x Nike Dunk Low ‘Passport Pack’

It’s hard to truly have an original take on the Nike Dunk in 2022. For the past three years, we’ve been inundated by Dunk collaborations and in-line colourways, and Dunk fatigue has become real. But the ‘Passport Pack’ was one we certainly couldn’t sneeze at.

Inspired by Japan-exclusive footwear of the 1990s, the trio of colourways also referenced the cities Union calls home: Los Angeles, New York City, and Tokyo.

One of the most difficult sneakers to ‘track’ this year, the ‘Passport Pack’ continues Chris Gibbs’ streak of superlative storytelling and first-class design.

Up There x New Balance 2002R

The Up There x New Balance 2002R embodies some of the best aspects of sneaker collaborations. Waiting 12 long years for a partnership, when Australian boutique Up There finally lined up at the wicket, they belted it straight into the bleachers.

Replete with sneakerhead Easter Eggs and (peep the ‘AUS’ stitched onto the top of the tongues), the colab was a tribute to the typical Aussie barbecue – and the unforgettable athletic feats accomplished.

Be sure to check out the hilarious short film depicting an epic cricket catch through the suburbs and streets of Melbourne!

Brain Dead x Oakley Dead Flesh

Brain Dead x Oakley Dead Flesh

Another mind-melting collaboration from the Brain Dead team, the trio of Oakley Dead Flesh models arrived in April.

Busting open the vault of Oakley’s futuristic 2000s footwear, the laceless design served as a linchpin for the relaunch of the ‘Oakley Factory Team’ innovation lab, where Brain Dead will act as the R&D wing of the conceptual sub-brand.

‘Brain Dead has always been one to push the boundaries of the avant-garde via experimentation’, said Brain Dead founder, Kyle Ng. ‘We look to take the founders of Oakley’s original concepts and ideas and bring them forward into our new world. Some of Oakley’s earliest designs, such as the Flesh, seemed so futuristic at the time that it is only now that they have begun to feel like contemporary objects.’

Where do we sign?

Kith x New Balance 990v3 ‘Daytona’

Kith x New Balance 990v3 ‘Daytona’

Paying homage to Kith’s classic New Balance 1600 collaboration from 2013, Ronnie Fieg and the team again delivered the goods with the 990v3 ‘Daytona’.  Inspired by Fieg’s childhood trips to Daytona Beach, Florida, the execution was crystal clear, with beachside suede quarters and ocean blue toe boxes.

One of the world’s preeminent sneaker collaborators, we still think Kith’s New Balance link-ups are the crème de la crème, Ronnie Fieg this year celebrating his 40th birthday with the Boston imprint in style.

The Rick And Morty x PUMA MB.01

The Rick And Morty x PUMA MB.01

LaMelo Ball’s Rick and Morty x PUMA MB.01 have been all over the NBA hardwood this year. And for good reason.

The model was one of the most impressive hoops collaborations this year, LaMelo’s retina-burning, two-toned colourway proving influential across both professional and local comps.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a pop culture performance sneaker cut through to this degree, and with the Kyrie Irving signature line – known for its wild collaborations and colourways –  looking unlikely moving forward, there’ll be plenty of players (and brands) looking to fill the void.

Sneaker Freaker x atmos x ASICS GEL-Lyte III ‘Alley Cats’

Sneaker Freaker x atmos GEL-Lyte III ‘Alley Cats’

You may view this as shameless bias. And you’d be absolutely correct. But we think the Sneaker Freaker x atmos GEL-Lyte III ‘Alley Cats’ is hotter than little ‘Whiskers’ on a tin roof. A feline tribute to the mini-boulevards that criss-cross Tokyo and Melbourne, the melange of ‘Alley Cats’ materials includes high-class violet and lilac suede, super hairy cowhide and regal satin, with a splash of midsole speckle adding to the grit and grime.

See you cool cats in the streets! Miaow!

For more on our mid-year highlights, make sure to check out the biggest sneaker stories so far!

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