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Top 10 Sneakers of 2022: The five I got, the five I could not

Andy Silva breaks down the top five sneakers he copped in 2022 and the top five sneakers he missed out on.

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As we prepare to turn the page on another calendar year, ‘tis the season for Best Of lists. If like me you grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, perhaps you grew up a fan of the great David Letterman. One of the things he is best known for is the Top 10 List, which could occasionally go in unexpected directions.

So with that inspiration in mind, and looking to do a little something different than the rest, I came up with the idea for my top 10 list for 2022 — my top five sneakers I bought and the top five sneakers I missed out on, because let’s face it, being a sneakerhead in 2022 is a lesson in pain and defeat most days.

So from the home office in Boston, Massachusetts here’s my Top 10 list for 2022.

Top 5 Sneakers I Bought in 2022

1. Air Jordan 1 “Lost and Found”

As I wrote previously, the Air Jordan 1 “Lost and Found” was my Sneaker of the Year. Hence, the No. 1 ranking on this list. However, the terrible drop almost torpedoed the shoe’s spot at the top.

So let’s start with the positive. This shoe is beautiful, there’s no way to deny that. Some people don’t love the cracked leather, but I appreciate that as part of the “Lost and Found” storytelling (even if that storytelling was somewhat ironic given what Nike has been doing to mom-and-pop shops of late in their direct-to-consumer push). Given that it’s been seven years since the last Chicago 1 drop, beggars can’t be choosers. And to me, the Chicago 1 is the quintessential Air Jordan 1, so I had to have it.

Now, to the negative. There is no other way to say it: The SNKRS drop was a straight-up dumpster fire. As documented by Special Delivery’s Michael Sykes, who is a great follow on Twitter, Nike’s SNKRS app was so overwhelmed that it was difficult to even ENTER the draw for this sneaker.

And if, like me, you were lucky enough to somehow find a way to enter, it took HOURS to get a decision one way or the other. How Nike’s app was unprepared for a release of this caliber boggles my mind. Then even after that debacle some pairs of the Air Jordan 1 Lost and Found had mold issues. Just, what are we doing Nike?

At the end of the day, I swallowed hard and paid resale price for this sneaker. I wasn’t happy to do it, but I needed this sneaker in my collection. But note to Nike: Please find a new way to do these drops. This release almost broke me and many others in the community.

2. Social Status x Air Penny 2

This is something of a shocker to me. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t excited about these, because I was. However, I certainly had several other sneakers ahead of this one prior to its release — including the Social Status collab on the Air Penny 1. However, once I got these in hand, the Penny 2s blew me away. The materials are great, the colors work so well while being both similar to the OG Air Penny 2 but different, something not all collabs are able to do. And as always, James Whitner’s boutique told a story with the drop. Bonus points for the special box reminiscent of toy packaging. That was next level. All in all, this is what a collab should be.

3. Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red”

This was probably my second most anticipated sneaker of the year. The Air Jordan 3 is one of my favorite models of all time and this was the first time this classic released with the OG “Nike Air” branding on the back since its original release. The materials were pretty good for a GR Nike/Jordan release and this was definitely one of the best put-together versions of the Air Jordan 3 since Jordan Brand began their remastered program. Also of note: There were plenty of pairs available and this was a relatively easy cop.

4. Social Status x Air Penny 1

As I noted above, I was very excited for Social Status’ take on the Air Penny 1, my second favorite sneaker of all-time. And this one did not disappoint.

As with the Penny 2 above, the materials on this one were excellent, and I loved the fact that the black colorway I purchased was again similar but different to the OG. The blue translucent bottom is beautiful, and the interchangeable Swooshes with laces to match are a lot of fun, although I admit I have decided to wear this without one of the Swoosh patches because of how much it looks like the OG Swoosh underneath. I also love that there is a great mix of Nike, Penny and Social Status logos throughout, unlike the recent Stüssy collab on the Penny 2. And this one also had a great short film to go with it. James Whitner’s group, including A Ma Maniére, had the best year in sneakers, bar none.

5. LeBron XX “Time Machine”

Normally, as I no longer play much hoops, I am not a huge fan of modern basketball shoes — most of the time, it’s retros from the 1990s on my feet. And initially, I was somewhat underwhelmed by these. However, after seeing some of the sneaker YouTube community, including the great WearTesters channel, weigh in on these, I bought the “Time Machine” colorway. These sneakers definitely give me “Back to the Future II” vibes, and that’s what initially drew me most to them. However, once I put them on feet, I was pleasantly shocked by how comfortable these are. They quickly became a favorite and a big part of my everyday rotation.

Honorable mention: Bodega x New Balance 574; Packer x Reebok Club C; Air Jordan 7 “Cardinal”; Nike Air Max 1 by You

Top 5 Sneakers I Missed Out On in 2022

Time and money are not unlimited, so like everyone else, I was not able to get all the sneakers I truly wanted this year. Here are the top five I was unable to add to my collection.

1. Nike Dunk Low “Jackie Robinson”

This was the biggest L for me on the year. I missed out on the initial drop. I missed out on the first local SNKRS pass in my area. Then another, then another. The universe was just taunting me. And the price on StockX was just a little too rich for my blood (as of the time of writing, my size 13 is currently $540).

I’m a huge baseball fan, and obviously Jackie Robinson is a legend on and off the field. The combination of story, materials and appearance made this pair uber-popular, so it’s not surprising that these were hard to come by. Perhaps, I’ll find my way to these at some point in 2023.

2. A Ma Maniére X Air Jordan 4

The end of the year was chock full of hot releases. Thus, priorities had to be set. Now, did I go for these? Absolutely. But, after missing on both these and the “Lost and Found” 1s, I had to choose which one I would go after in the resale market, and in the end the 1s won out. That’s not to say these aren’t beautiful. As always, it looks like A Ma Maniére utilized excellent materials and once again had a noteworthy story behind the release. These were even seen on the sidelines at the World Cup.

These are another pair I could easily see myself going after again in a couple of months.

3. Patta X Air Max 1

To me, Patta’s wavy takes on the Air Max 1 were some of the top sneakers of 2021. Needless to say, the 2022 edition did not disappoint. Now, I probably liked some of last year's colors, such as the Monarch or the Aqua, more, but I would have been perfectly happy to have gotten this year’s Pure Platinum colorway as well.

4. Trophy Room x Air Jordan 7

Trophy Room was part of one of the most contentious drops of 2021 with its Air Jordan 1 release plagued by allegations of backdooring. However, that did little to dampen my enthusiasm for Marcus Jordan’s collab on one of my personal favorites of his dad’s OG colorways.

The Air Jordan 7 Olympic is one of my top five sneakers of all time, and clearly that colorway serves as inspiration for this “New Sheriff In Town” drop. The name and theme come from a now-famous Dream Team intrasquad scrimmage in the lead-up to the 1992 Olympics which saw MJ go head to head with Magic Johnson, demanding that the Magic Man acknowledge the changing of the guard.

These shoes look like they are made of beautiful materials, including a kind of off-white and red suede while the back heel tab is reminiscent of the strap on MJ’s gold medal. MJ’s signature is also seen on the back heel. This was an underrated drop.

5. Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 993

Dubbed the “Performance Art” collection, this model had several drops, including on one Instagram and one in which interested parties were asked to bring new or gently used art supplies to Community Goods locations in Chicago. The collection came in a trio of colors with premium suede. This was probably my second favorite New Balance drop of the year behind the Bodega collab on the 574 listed above in my honorable mentions.

Honorable mention: A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 2; Patta x New Balance 990v3; Braindead x Reebok Shaqnosis; Braindead x Reebok Club C; Union x Air Jordan 2

What are your top pickups of 2022? What about your most painful L’s? Let me know on Twitter @a_silva32.

I hope everyone had a great year in sneakers and enjoyed reading my work here. Let’s have a great 2023!

To see more of this month’s releases, check out our release date calendar.