The Best New Sneaker Silhouettes of 2022 (So Far)
As the sneaker market is bigger than ever before, there is no shortage of new ideas and silhouettes to pick from. While there’s plenty of original creations that have hit shelves with seemingly no reference point, there were also some important styles that borrow historical cues from the archive to deliver a whole new style. With half of 2022 elapsed in what feels like a blink of the eye, it’s time to look back on the most interesting new sneaker silhouettes of the year so far.
sacai x Nike Cortez 4.0
For a moment it seemed like sacai’s successful Nike collaborative run was coming to an end, as the reception to consecutive Blazer, LDWaffle and VaporWaffle releases became increasingly lukewarm. How they’ve proven the haters wrong with the Cortez 4.0, a still unreleased update to the iconic retro runner that was previewed in their lookbooks. The familiar white, red and blue colourway perfectly highlights now-classic sacai transformations including double-stacked soles, spliced upper panels and twin tongues. Plus, Zoom Air pods in the forefoot should mean this 50-year restomod rides better than the OG. Official images recently arrived, so a drop must be imminent.
Converse Sponge Crater
The Sponge Crater is a radical departure from the basketball offerings Converse are typically known for. Launched with the co-sign of A-COLD-WALL*, this way-out model showcases the expanded potential of the Crater Foam that makes up most of its composition on the sole and upper. Paired with a stretch knit inner bootie, this futuristic design takes the omnipresent clog phenotype and offers a glimpse into what the aesthetic could evolve into if brands put their full commitment behind it. Just don’t try to dunk in them.
ASICS HNS-2 PROTOBLAST
ASICS’ assignment of fashion visionary Kiko Kostadinov as a brand curator has paid dividends, helping develop and roll out models beyond their 1980s and 90s running catalogue. One such example is the HNS-2 PROTOBLAST, which taps into a seemingly random ball shoe called the GELHOOP V6 and combines it with a NOVABLAST sole. The design was very limited at first, but has since cast a wider net with general release status, and the colourways are just as punchy as the monochromatic launch editions. There was also an interesting Andersson Bell colab that added some extra lacing options.
Y-3 Runner adidas 4D Halo
The partnership between Yohji Yamamoto and adidas, known as Y-3, is approaching its 20th year of operation, and they’re not letting up on radical designs any time soon. This is exemplified with the Y-3 Runner adidas 4D Halo, which has a spec list reflective of its long name. Yamamoto has never shied from using the latest technology for the Y-3 line, adopting adi’s 4D soles with a sleek open mesh knit upper. There is a certain element of ubiquity, sure, but that’s the designer’s intention when worn with his catalogue of silhouette-focused garments of black, black and black.
Reebok Premier Road Modern Mid
There was a period in time when sneaker companies adopted a ‘less is more’ design approach to their shoes, resulting in minimalist – or straight-up bland – offerings that played it safe. While some of Reebok’s best sellers are successful because of that trait, some of their more daring designers have ensured the Vector brand can push the needle forward. Take the Premier Road Modern Mid, which specifically added more to its design by grafting on an ankle shaft to a remixed 2000s runner. They didn’t just slap on some material and call it a day; check out the complexity of its moulded nylon padding and seamless TPU hardware.
New Balance 9060
New Balance may be printing money with endless colour options of the 550, 2002R and the rest of their Made in USA and UK line, but they’re still bringing something new to the table. Enter the 9060, which naturally has plenty of retro influence – chiefly the 990 series (of course) and the 860v2 – but repackages its cues in a very different form. The lines are flowing and organic, representative of the blurred ‘retrofuturism’ that underpins the design. Backed by recent Joe Freshgoods and Mowalola colabs, it looks like NB are aiming for the 9060 to be their next big thing.