The sneakersphere may never experience another Q1 like it did in 2020. The unexpected and unparalleled impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have rocked the industry to its core, and sneaker brands will undoubtedly be feeling the effects for years, possibly decades, to come.
It was a quarter many would like to forget, but that’s not to say we didn’t get some unforgettable releases, which will undoubtedly factor into our end-of-year 'Staff Pick' calculations. The big players kicked off the year with a bang, digging into the archives and flexing their collaborative clout, to deliver some bona fide all-timers. Here’s our top five.
Air Jordan 1 x Air Ship PE ‘New Beginnings’ Pack
The 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago was a sea of stars, and the ‘New Beginnings’ pack was the sneaker that shined the brightest.
The perfect celebration of Michael Jordan’s early years as a Chicago Bull, the limited edition pack featured the Air Ship model from his rookie season in 1984, and an updated version of the Air Jordan 1 adapted from the pair he wore in 1985.
The AJ1 may be losing its legs (for now), but this was a nostalgic reminder of the silhouette’s All-Star status.
New Balance 1300JP
The JP3 version was the third time it’s been available outside of Japan, and while those days of trawling eBay and Yahoo Japan Auctions are thankfully over, these were still no easy cop. It’s no surprise, really – the shoe exemplifies what we know and love about the Boston brand: crispy clean lines, quality construction, and timeless style.
Worth every penny.
Stussy x Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Caged
It might have been a divisive drop, but we definitely saw beauty in beige when it came to the Stussy x Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Caged. The ‘Fossil’ colourway drew inspirations from the earth, while the futuristic ‘Pure Platinum’ brought to the fore the modernity of Steven Smith’s underrated design.
Considering the rampant nature of the collaborative sneaker market, these were relatively easy to cop, which is always a bonus.
Beyoncé's IVY PARK x adidas UltraBOOST
Throwing back to fan-favourite ‘Burgundy’ UltraBOOST 1.0, this women’s release combines classic elements with a host of subtle upgrades, improving on the tried-and-true UB combo. Subtle speckled details, orange sole, classy hang tags, and revamped lacing are paired perfectly with the bold-toned upper.
Like a wine fine!
StrangeLove x Nike SB Dunk Low
The SB Dunk renaissance has given us a mixed bag, with some even suggesting we’re getting drunk on the Dunk. However, the StrangeLove x Nike SB Dunk Low really hit us with Cupid's arrow. Travis Scott’s effort may have carried more hype, but this release really took us back to Nike SB’s core, with Sean Cliver’s love of skateboarding the inspiration.
The sneaker is constructed with crushed velvet base layers and pink suede overlays, elevated further with co-branded tongues and the signature ‘Heart Skull’ graphic on the heel. Meanwhile, the packaging takes cues from Valentine’s Day cards shared in elementary school, coming packed with a whole host of goodies – including artwork, a custom card, and decals.
For us, it was always love at first sight.
Stay tuned to our Features section for the latest and greatest sneakers ever.