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The Biggest Surprise Sneaker Hits of 2022 (So Far)

Brain Dead x Oakley Flesh

With an ever-changing release calendar and constant industry happenings, there’s always a surprise sneaker hit around the corner.

Only six months into 2022, a tonne of releases have already left us picking our jaws up off the floor. Some major trends have been solidified, like the return of legendary early 2000s heaters, and there's been a handful of collaborations that were destined to brick, but ended up selling out with the quickness!

Here are the biggest surprise sneaker hits of 2022 (so far!)

CLOT x Air Jordan 5 Low

The Air Jordan 5 Low has never been a favoured Jordan Brand silhouette, but this year it’s surprised us all!

CLOT, known for their whacky collaborations and deep ties to the sneaker industry came out swinging in 2022, and multiple sneakers have landed from the imprint including an AJ5 Low. While there was no early hype around this particular pair, they killed the subtle execution! Blacked-out, including some subtle glow-in-the-dark details and Jade hoops, it exudes an aesthetic vibe and looks perfect on-foot.

If you’ve seen these in person, you know what we mean!

Brain Dead x Oakley Flesh

Oakley’s early-2000s catalogue is teaming with low-key heat! The past few years has seen their Y2K aesthetic boom on socials, becoming fodder for IG moodboards, allowing a new generation to discover the Oakley of yesteryear. There’s no doubt that the brand was paying attention, so it was a just a matter of time before they tapped into their archive and made a comeback.

What got us was that Brain Dead was involved, the creative collective that’s been making major moves in the past decade. Bringing back the Oakley Flesh, which has been a huge mover for IG vintage sellers, it slotted into the 2022 sneakerscape with ease. Multiple colourways over two versions were created with the bubbled iteration releasing exclusively via Brain Dead.

What's more interesting is that with the help of Brain Dead, Oakley has relaunched their Factory Team in an effort to create more experimental and innovative products. The Flesh relaunch was their debut, so we’re keen to see what else the Oakley Factory Team has in store for the rest of the year.

Hello Kitty x Nike Air Presto

It’s crazy to think that a few years ago the Hello Kitty x Nike Air Presto was considered a unicorn that only the most dedicated collectors could get their hands on. For the original Y2K edition that’s still the case, but this year for the first time ever, pairs were made available to the public! Many thought it would never happen – one for the sneaker history books for sure!


We’ve thoroughly documented ASICS' recent rise to the top and Kiko Kostadinov is in-part responsible. This year, the designer and his team have continued their tenure at the brand as creative consultants and hit a winner when they dreamed up the PROTOBLAST. Ultra-chunky, it arrived in a four-stack of colourways and they've quickly become the high-fashion sneakerhead’s dream come true!

An experiment with their archive, ASICS looked to the GEL-100 franchise and pulled inspiration from legacy basketball models, the GELBURST and GEL-HOOP 6. Since it's inception earlier this year, GR editions have released as well as an Andersson bell colab.

It's looking like we're going to see a lot more from the PROTOBLAST in 2022!

Wales Bonner x adidas Country 'Mesa'

Designer Grace Wales Bonner and her eponymous label have been cooking up plenty of hype in certain sneaker circles through an on-going collaboration with adidas. She's become known for her aesthetic Sambas that have unintentionally fallen into the newly-minted 'explorercore' aesthetic.

Other collaborative models such as the Japan and Country have remained more low-key for the IYKYK crowd. Recently highlighting the Country in 'Mesa', the duo opted for a crispy nylon, shaggy suede and elongated tongue. That pop of blue on the laces adds the right amount of contrast.

Head here for more of our mid-year roundups!

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