Snobette Sneaker Awards marks its eighth year of celebrating the year’s best sneakers. Always a group effort, our final top 10 is informed by our all women panelists. This year we were fortunate to receive top five lists from sneaker store owner Natalia Roa, sneaker consultant and influencer JerLisa, She Kicks author Nav Gill, streetwear enthusiast and influencer Kellan Bradley and Thick Laces founders Essie Golden and Katie Alexis.
In addition to our panelists, our list is grounded by the everyday kicks lover, that city kid who always wanted more kicks than her family could afford who is at the foundation of putting the culture in sneakers. As such, as much as we admired Louis Vuitton and Virgil Abloh‘s take on the Air Force 1, given the price tag and limited access to buy the shoe, we didn’t see it as making sense for our list.
At the same time, we don’t have any issues with general release shoes (as you can see from our No. 1). As long as it was sold by a brand or a wholesale account during 2022, it was eligible for selection. For obvious reasons, we also hold a special fondness for shoes designed by women, who may not always sell the biggest volumes but are often responsible for the ripples that turn into waves.
Check out our top 10 sneakers in 2022, along with two honorable mentions below.
The people’s champ shoe. As much as it was scorned on social media, drop after drop continued to sell out and everwhere we went, whether the streets of Brooklyn, Complexcon in Los Angeles or Sole DXB in Dubai, the shoe was popular! Check out the flyest girl in the neighborhood and guaranteed a pair of Panda Dunks is part of her rotation.
This shoe was also panelist JerLisa’s no. 2 pick also. More striking on the foot than pictures convey, this was the perfect shoe as paired with the wide leg trousers that took off as a phenomenom among women this year. While Nike is a marketing powerhouse, for some reason it dropped the ball on this shoe.
Nike and Virgil Abloh released multiple collaborative shoes this year, including the Air Terra, his first original design with the brand. We loved this shoe because it took some risks through Off-White’s signature meteor holes, but still honored the clean lines of the Blazer highlighted by a classic color story. As a bonus, the extended outsole created the perfect shelf to keep extra long bell bottoms from dragging.
Cactus Plant Flea Market‘s Cynthia Lu‘s collabs with Nike have yet to miss. She took a chance with a shoe that can only be described as outlandish but also 100 percent in-step with CPFM’s love of playful irreverence. The fact the Flea 1 could be customized was part of its cool factor, but as panelest Kellan Bradley pointed out, it was a shoe that couldn’t be worn by just anyone; the wearer had to possess a certain amount of swag to pull it off.
When we talk about women as wave starters, we think of the Chicago-born Nina Chanel Abney who ushered in Jordan’s Retro 2 era with a shoe that was elegant in its simplicity. It was also adorned with the ultimate hang tag status symbol, an original piece of Abney’s artwork inspired by Michael Jordan.
Not only do we love the shoe, but we are big fans of Nicole McLaughlin‘s ability to deliver a consistent message: sustainability with a fun twist. In the case of her Reebok shoe, she provided amusement with a mesh side pocket, perfect for an extra handful of trail mix.
The XT-6 in Turtle Dove was selected by panelist Essie Golden but really any color would have worked. Salomon was the most “it” brand in 2022 and the XT-6 was the brand’s most “it” silhouette. As the outdoor lifestyle theme continues to gain steam, Salomon is the brand we expect will lead the pack.
As a co-founder of vintage store Procell, Gonsalves has been holding down streetwear culture in New York for many years and it was a very smart move for Awake NY‘s Angelo Bacque to include her in the Asics Collective, a group of designers who have been releasing collabs with the brand over the past year. Inspired by the ocean, Gonsalves’ rendition of the Nimbus 9 speaks softly but carries a major fashion punch.
Gosh this is a good looking shoe! Put on our radar by panelist Nav Gill, the shoe’s silver leather and mesh upper combined with a red bottom, all come together to deliver a shoe that feels like it was made for a fashion week street style pic, which makes perfect given Freja Wewer’s role as a photographer.
Given designer Mowalola‘s popularity among the young and fashionable and her role early on as creative director for Yeezy‘s partnership with Gap, a sneaker collab seems long overdue. New Balance spotted her potential and she delivered with a shoe that looks like the real life version of an animated super heroine.
A great collab creates something greater than the two parts and that was very much the case with this effort. Gucci‘s take on Adidas’ Gazelle added a luxe touch to the shoe elevating it just enough while still staying true to its sport roots. Not surprisingly it was designed by now ex-Gucci designer Alessandro Michele, who was responsible for making the label a leader in the luxury athletic footwear space.
Selected by two panelists, Natalia Roa and JerLisa, the success of the Reverse Mocha shows you can’t keep a good design story down. While Scott was teeter-tottering on being ousted by Nike following his Astroworld Festival disaster in early 2021, Nike’s decision to stick by him proved to be the right choice while at the same time reaffirming that social media is not real life!