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Louis Vuitton x Air Force 1 Low 'Monogram Damier' Pilot Case | Image: Nike

15 Best Sneakers of 2022

Make no mistake, 2022 has been a varied and unpredictable year in the sneaker game. While the Nike Dunk dominated 2021 convincingly, there hasn’t been a silhouette this year that has risen to the top with the same dominance. Instead, the biggest discernable trend has been the sports brands teaming with luxury houses for elevated takes on classic silhouettes. Nike teamed with Louis Vuitton and adidas collaborated with Gucci, making plenty of headlines in the process. There was also a focus on transitioning outdoor footwear into lifestyle with hiking and running technology making their way into fashion-forward footwear. You can see that for yourself below in our list of the best sneakers of 2022.

How Man of Many Chose The Best Sneakers of 2022

To arrive at this list of products, the Man of Many team went through hours and rigorous testing, implementation and analysis before culling it down to the very best. Over the last 12 months, we’ve worked on curated products that push boundaries and pioneer new fronts, across the automotive, fashion, lifestyle and technology verticals. Sure, we love getting the latest piece of kit in our hands, but being able to point out the benefits and shortfalls objectively is at the heart of what we do.

Best Sneakers of 2022

1 louis vuitton x air force 1 low monogram damier pilot case

Louis Vuitton x Air Force 1 Low ‘Monogram Damier’ Pilot Case | Image: Nike

1. Louis Vuitton x Air Force 1 Low ‘Monogram Damier’ Pilot Case

There’s almost zero chance that you were able to get your hands on the Louis Vuitton x Air Force 1 Low this year because there were only 200 pairs made. The Air Force 1 celebrated its 40th anniversary this year and it did so in style with one of the most luxe releases yet. For Louis Vuitton SS22 men’s runway show, the late, great Virgil Abloh designed 47 bespoke pairs of Air Force 1’s and this colourway was eventually released to the public. The upper is made of LV’s signature brown monogram pattern and Damier Azur while Abloh’s trademark Helvetica font is found on the laces and the sole. The box was just as lush as the shoes themselves as they were delivered in a pilot case made of orange Monogram Taurillon Leather.

Brand: Louis Vuitton, Nike
Upper material: Leather
Cushioning: Medium
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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2 nocta x nike hot step air terra

Nocta x Nike Hot Step Air Terra | Image: Nike

2. Nocta x Nike Hot Step Air Terra

Drake first teased his Nocta Hot Step Air Terra’s in the ‘Laugh Now, Cry Later’ and then made fans wait almost a year to cop. That’s if they actually managed to get their hands on a pair. The all-white shoes sold out fast and rightfully so as one of the freshest drops of the year. The upper is made of white perforated tumbled leather but it’s the detailing that makes them pop from the metallic swoosh to the Air Max cushioning window.

Brand: Nike
Upper material: Leather
Cushioning: High
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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3 adidas x gucci gazelle

adidas x Gucci Gazelle | Image: adidas

3. adidas x Gucci Gazelle

The Gazelle is a ’90s shoe with a ’70s flair to it and Gucci accentuated that in its team-up with adidas. Spurred on by Harry Styles who wore them throughout his world tour this year, the Gazelle was brought back to life by this collaboration. A ’70s colour palette was used across nearly every one of the colourways, undercut by a gum sole that further drove home the vintage aesthetic. Gucci made its name known through the GG monogramming and the beefed-up price point.

Brand: adidas, Gucci
Upper material: Velvet
Cushioning: Medium
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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4 wales bonner x adidas samba cream green

Wales Bonner x adidas Samba ‘Cream Green’ | Image: adidas

4. Wales Bonner x adidas Samba ‘Cream Green’

Vintage-looking adidas low tops dominated the year in sneakers and Wales Bonner played a big part in that. The British fashion designer delivered a handful of rugged Samba colourways and they all sold out quickly. The ‘Cream Green’ colourway led the way with its smooth white underlays topped by grey hairy suede and green croc-textural Three Stripes and heel overlays. Loose-knit stitching completes the shoe’s DIY look with a classic gum sole.

Brand: adidas
Upper material: Leather
Cushioning: Medium
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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5 joe freshgoods x new balance 9060 inside voices penny cookie pink

Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 9060 ‘Inside Voices – Penny Cookie Pink’ | Image: New Balance

Chicago’s Joe Freshgoods delivers every year by teaming up with New Balance. There was something particularly special about this one though. Following up 2021s ‘Outside Clothes’ series, this one was named ‘Inside Voices’ and inspired by shutting out the outside world and focusing on the warmth of community. As a result, the colourway of the 9060 is warm bringing together pale peach and bright pink in a ventilated mesh upper with suede overlays and quilted lining. Meanwhile mint green adorns the ABZORB midsole joined by a futuristic gum rubber pod on the heel. ‘

Brand: New Balance
Upper material: Mesh, Suede, Leather
Cushioning: High
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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Nike air humera x jacquemus

Nike Air Humera x Jacquemus | Image: Nike

6. Nike Air Humara x Jacquemus

Nike and Jacqeumus’ first collaboration delivers as you would expect. It’s a collection that brings outdoor style to the runway and the choice of the Air Humara is a testament to that. It’s a chunky, rugged silhouette that has been elevated by luxe materials and a textile-wrapped midsole. Each of the colourways from beige to bright pink has been clean and classic driven by attention to detail including metallic Swooshes and oversized aglets.

Brand: Nike
Upper material: Leather
Cushioning: Medium
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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7 nike dunk low x union passport pack argon

Nike Dunk Low x Union Passport Pack Argon | Image: Nike

7. Nike Dunk Low x Union Passport Pack Argon

Some would argue the Dunk Low was overdone by the start of 2022 but the collaboration with Union made a strong case for its longevity. This release was inspired by rare Dunks that Union’s Chris Gibbs picked up on his travels in Japan in the early 2000s. The upper is wrapped in a tear-away, semi-translucent ripstop nylon covering while the colourway is dominated by tonal blue. It feels fresh even if it’s on a silhouette that has dominated the past year or so.

Brand: Nike
Upper material: Nylon
Cushioning: Medium
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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8 nike air adjust force x ambush

Nike Air Adjust Force x AMBUSH | Image: Nike

8. Nike Air Adjust Force x AMBUSH

AMBUSH’ Yoon Ahn took a basketball classic and took it to the future. The upper of the pictured colourway features black nubuck contrasted by a stark white Swoosh while Ahn has retained the removable midfoot strap from the original 1996 design elevating it with a contrasting purple gradient window. Even the bottom of the shoes looks good, featuring an oversized white Swoosh alongside rubber traction pods made in part from Nike Grind. AMBUSH and Nike continue to prove themselves to be one of the best collaborative sneaker partners around right now.

Brand: Nike, AMBUSH
Upper material: Nubuck
Cushioning: High
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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9 air jordan 1 high 85 ‘georgetown

Air Jordan 1 High ’85 ‘Georgetown’ | Image: Nike

9. Air Jordan 1 High ’85 ‘Georgetown’

Every year there is an Air Jordan 1 High drop that rises to the top and this year it was this one – the ’85 ‘Georgetown’. It celebrated the 40th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s 1982 NCAA title win over the Georgetown Bulldogs but even if you’re not familiar with the backstory it’s still an impressive drop. The colourway is instantly classic featuring two-toned colour blocking that pulls together smooth grey leather and College Navy overlays. A white and Navy sole undercuts the shoe. Nothing flashy, just classic colours and a clean design.

Brand: Nike
Upper material: Leather
Cushioning: Medium
Shoe shaft style: High Top

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10 nike air max penny 1

Nike Air Max Penny 1 | Image: Nike

10. Nike Air Max Penny 1

The Air Max Penny 1 debuted way back in 1991 when Penny Hardaway wore them during an All-Star Game in San Antonio. The silhouette has made a comeback this year with several high-profile drops that sold out quickly. The latest was also the most impressive with a Black, White, Game Royal, and Metallic Silver colourway. There’s something futuristic about how the black meets the Game Royal alongside the Metallic Silver Swooshes. This pair looks like how we imagined the 2000s to be back in the ’90s. The return this year shows that perhaps they weren’t far off.

Brand: Nike
Upper material: Leather, Suede
Cushioning: High
Shoe shaft style: Mid Top

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11 teddy santis x new balance 990 made in usa

Teddy Santis x New Balance 990 ‘Made in USA’ | Image: New Balance

11. Teddy Santis x New Balance 990 ‘Made in USA’

Teddy Santis’ Aimé Leon Dore has had great success teaming with New Balance for footwear, so much so that Santis is now the creative director of the ‘Made In The USA’ program. He brought his eye and flair for ’90s nostalgia to the 990v1, 990v2 and 990v3 silhouettes across the year, working with muted, classic palettes. His first drop was the ‘Marblehead with Incense’ colourway which paired a premium pigskin suede and mesh upper with textured, hairy suede details. It felt like a nod to the brand’s classic colours while pushing it subtly forward.

Brand: New Balance
Upper material: Mesh, Suede
Cushioning: High
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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12 reebok x maison margiela question mid memory of

Reebok X Maison Margiela Question Mid ‘Memory Of’ | Image: Reebok

12. Reebok X Maison Margiela Question Mid ‘Memory Of’

Reebok went premium with Maison Margiela this year with the Parisian fashion house continuing its quest to display both deconstruction and heritage. The concept that drives this silhouette is ‘Memory Of’ which is about evoking a memory of something that used to be there but isn’t anymore. It transfers to the silhouette by reworking and deconstructing a Reebok classic. The original is there somewhere but it’s ultimately been torn apart and reimagined which is a thrilling concept to explore in footwear.

Brand: Reebok
Upper material: Leather, Suede
Cushioning: High
Shoe shaft style: High Top

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13 supreme x nike sb dunk high

Supreme x Nike SB Dunk High | Image: Supreme

13. Supreme x Nike SB Dunk High

2021 was the year for the Nike Dunk but it continued well into 2022 thanks to some high-profile collaborations. One of those was Supreme continuing the brand’s long-standing relationship with Nike. It took its eye to the SB Dunk High, throwing it back to 1999 by drawing inspiration from a Japanese-exclusive Nike Dunk CO.JP colourway. The pictured black and white colourway is simple, allowing the embroidery to steal the shoe and it does. On the heel, we get “By Any Means” embroidered alongside “Supreme Team” while “No” with a love heart adorns the side.

Brand: Nike, Supreme
Upper material: Leather
Cushioning: Medium
Shoe shaft style: High Top

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14 adidas x kerwin frost yti microbounce

adidas x Kerwin Frost YTI Microbounce | Image: adidas

14. adidas x Kerwin Frost YTI Microbounce

Kerwin Forst and adidas turned heads with their third collaboration. Nostalgia for the ’90s and early 2000s is at the heart of this collaboration and its a bold, playful take on the YTI Microbounce – an adidas silhouette that already pushed the boundaries a little. It’s the faux fur that steals the show here, dominating the upper alongside a metallic flash on the 3-Stripes. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea but that’s what makes it such an exciting release.

Brand: adidas
Upper material: Faux Fur
Cushioning: High
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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15 asics ub3 s gel nimbus 9 rum raisin green sheen

ASICS UB3-S Gel-Nimbus 9 ‘Rum Raisin / Green Sheen’ | Image: ASICS

15. ASICS UB3-S Gel-Nimbus 9 ‘Rum Raisin / Green Sheen’

A big sneaker trend this year was the high-tech runner being used as a lifestyle shoe. No other brand owns that aesthetic quite as much as ASICS does and it hit the nail on the head with this release. The UB3-S Gel-Nimbus 9 ‘Rum Raisin / Green Sheen’ was created by Kiko Kostadinov Studio and was inspired by outdoor exploration which is displayed in the earthy colour palette. Still, there’s something distinctly futuristic about the textile choices including the layered mesh and synthetic leather panelling.

Brand: ASICS
Upper material: Synthetic Leather, Mesh
Cushioning: High
Shoe shaft style: Low Top

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General FAQs

What were the most popular sneakers in 2022?

While there were a number of great sneaker releases in 202, the Air Force 1 by Nike managed to capture the most attention, courtesy of a Louis Vuitton collaboration. Simialrly, retro styles were in with adidas teaming up with Gucci for Gazelle.

How much is the Louis Vuitton Nike Air Force?

Upon its release in July 2022, the Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 was offered to customers in both low and mid-top silhouettes, priced at USD$4,000 and USD$5,000 respectively.

CONTRIBUTOR

Sam Murphy

Sam Murphy is the founder of Interns Creative and the writer and co-host of Flopstars Podcast. The New York-based content producer has a demonstrated history of working in the online media industry, specialising in music, fashion and entertainment reporting. Prior to contributing for Man of Many, Sam’s work has been published by such titles as Billboard, NME, Junkee, Music Feeds and Cool Accidents. He holds a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) from the University of Technology, Sydney.