Snobette Sneaker Awards for 2019 was an inflection point from prior years. While our top 10 has always included female designers, this year was a breakout with six out of the top shoes made in collaboration with women. The selections also mark a second year of dominance for House Nike, which took seven of the ten spots.
As always, we want to thank our panelists who helped inform this list with their own lists of top five shoes. Our experts include Susan Boyle of Rime, Murata PJs of Solefiness boutique in Australia, plus New York-based model/fitness expert Kirsy Lovett, IncorpHerated founders Khiana Lowe and Brittany Edwards and writer Maria Mora.
Check out all our picks below, starting with No. 10 and ending with our No. 1 sneaker design for 2019.
10. Versace Chain Reaction x Concepts: JLo 2000: An unexpected version of Versace’s Chain Reaction silhouette that perfectly set up the dramatic return of Jennifer Lopez‘s gasp-inducing jungle print dress on the Italian label’s September 2019 runway.
9. Converse Run Star Hike x JW Anderson: Egret Black or White: While all of Converse’s collaborative efforts with JW Anderson (which first kicked off in December 2017) have been well received, something about this club-kid flavored platform shoe hit home for sneaker-loving style leaders.
8. Nike Shox TL x Comme des Garçons: White or Black: Over the years Nike and CDG have combined for multiple well-received collaborative efforts combining unanticipated silhouettes with the Japanese label’s low-key cool. CDG’s version of Nike’s Shox silhouette gained its cool point through a raised Swoosh and a blinged-out nameplate necklace.
7. Reebok Club C 85 x Jazerai: A true architect of sneaker culture, Jazerai Allen-Lord set out to create a shoe reflecting her never-a-dull-moment journey as a black woman, mother and creative. While made by a woman, the shoe’s design was a celebration of inclusivity and a stiff-arm statement on the “pink and shrink” dungeon women have so long been confined to.
6. Air Jordan 1 High x Travis Scott: 27-year-old Scott hit a grand slam with an AJ1 silhouette whose upside down Swoosh as featured on a white and mocha upper charmed the pants off of everyone (especially as styled with pink laces). Excluding a limited edition friends & family launch, Scott’s AJ1 easily maintains a higher-than-average selling price from all prior efforts with Nike and Jordan making it one of the year’s top flexes.
5. Nike Air Force 1 “No Cover” x Olivia Kim: Nordstrom‘s grand priestess of cool, officially titled the chain’s vice president of creative projects, tapped into her teen-era memories of a more freewheeling New York City to create a vivacious, multi-shoe capsule, all of which evaporated upon release though none quicker than Kim’s Betty Boop-kissed version of Nike’s Air Force 1.
4. Air Jordan 6 x Aleali May: Millennial Pink: First teased way back in 2017 as an extremely limited “Friends & Family” drop, May’s soft pink Jordan 6 finally arrived in March 2019 and stood out as a distinct statement maker. While Vashtie was the first woman to co-design a Jordan, in many ways May’s collaborative efforts with Nike signaled a new, more sincerely female-friendly era for the brand.
3. Nike LDWaffle x Sacai: Blue Multi or Summit White: This silhouette in all its color variations was a fan favorite for 2019 and topped many best-of sneaker lists. A perfect reflection of Sacai designer Chitose Abe’s simple-yet-complicated layered aesthetic, the shoe was a celebration of daring design that just worked.
2. Nike Air VaporMax x Cactus Plant Flea Market: CPFM designer Cynthia Lu‘s trio of capsules with Nike functioned as a coming out party for the secretive designer and introduced the world to her apologetically cute, quirky and surreal approach.
1. Air Jordan 1 Mid “Fearless” x Melody Ehsani: In so many ways 2019 was Ehsani’s year, the one in which her main message of spreading love and kindness came into full bloom. Ehsani has designed a lot of noteworthy sneakers, but her delightful design for Jordan exuded joy and brought long overdue recognition from the male segment of sneaker culture. Not that their co-sign mattered all that much to Ehsani who’s always been appreciated (those who know, know) because she specifically and proudly celebrates women’s creativity and achievements.