The AlphaBounce has been a great sneaker for Adidas, opening the brand up to runners on a tighter budget. But the AlphaBounce Beyond is a whole new level. The one shortcoming of the AlphaBounce was always aesthetics; it was often an overkill combination of textures, materials, and patterns. But the new AlphaBounce Beyond edits and elevates the look to the next level. The sole design fits seamlessly into the upper, each of them playing off the same textural motifs. An arch plug adds a little bit of surprise. The Beyond demands a few dollars more than its predecessor, but it also represents more than a couple extra steps in the right direction.
We know there are a lot of Jordan IIIs on this list (It makes sense; it is one of the very best basketball sneakers of all time.), but these "International Flight" Jordan IIIs are amazing and worthy of attention. They're not doing anything crazy—on the contrary, it's a colorway that seems like it should have released years ago. What's surprising about this sneaker is the off-white leather that dominates the upper. Jordan Brand is known for its combinations of white, black, red, and blue, so these more subtler tones add a sort of aged quality to the look in a way that's more than welcome. These are by no means classics, but they deserve recognition.
I have breathtakingly small feet, men’s size 6. At more than one socks-only apartment party, a host has wondered where the children’s shoes came from. While I’ve avoided actually buying from the boys section, they’re one of the several valid options for men with small feet, including trans men, and for women dressing in androgynous or traditionally “male” looks.
Nike’s Air Max line is a staple in the industry and it grows each year as the family expands. Some silhouettes stick around, like the Air Max 90, while others from more recent years fall away. This year, the brand introduced the Air Max 270. It was so named for the 270-degree air bubble at the heel, a design that seems poised to stand the test of time. One of the first releases of the sneaker was this Black Pack that employed black uppers as the neutral counter to a bevy of bright colors on the bubble. After all, that bubble is the heart of the sneaker. This pack is still the best usage of the silhouette to introduce it to the world, and these will be considered classics for the 270's archive.
You may be familiar with MCM’s audacious monogrammed leather on accessories like backpacks and purses. The look is a popular one, so Puma stuck with what works for the collaboration. The two brands used the famous Suede, a sneaker worn on court by OG NBA players like Clyde Frazier, covering the shoe in signature MCM leathers. The resulting pairs were far and away one of the most expensive Puma ever released, but if you’re into the MCM style, they were worth every penny.
The Air Jordan XI Concord is one of the most famous sneakers of all time—not even for basketball or Jordans, but of all time. It's not just that they're a total 10 out of 10 on aesthetics, but they also carry cultural weight that few other sneakers can. It was the Concord release in 2011 that brought sneaker culture into the center of the wider conversation, and that news-cycle changed everything for sneakerheads all over the world. Suddenly we were on the national news, and even though it was for bad reasons (riots, violence, theft), the world was finally paying attention. This release was much easier to get than the 2011 pair, but they still hold the same significance.
Off-White's collaborations with Nike will forever mark a turning point in what the major brands allowed collaborators to do with their beloved sneakers. As much as that represented a paradigm shift, there will always be projects like the MAGIC STICK Air Force 1, which creatively experiment within the limited confines of heritage silhouettes. The MAGIC STICK AF1s utilize unique materials (Tyvek and 3M in addition to leather and suede) for a look that is at once subtle and eye catching. With piping that reflects light and a neon ankle strap against the white upper, MAGIC STICK did a lot within a series of limitations that the industry is leaving behind.
Irony peaked with the "Weekend Campout" colorway of Nike's classic Air Monarch. The Monarch has earned its title of being the daddest dad shoe of them all, and sneaker collectors have laced them up ironically for years. But the Weekend Campout colorway brought the sneaker to the next level, offering an elevated version of the shoe. Doing so in limited numbers throttled supply and raised demand.
You were probably surprised when you saw Brooklyn-based sneaker brand Greats created a collaborative sneaker with Showtime hit show Billions. We were too. Greats is all about getting high-quality Italian craftsmanship at an affordable price, and when collaborating with a show about how money changes people and relationships, they leaned in. The sneakers are subtle, with a black suede upper, waxed laces, and an off-white sole, but it's the sockliner that tells the story. "What's the point of having FUCK YOU MONEY if you never say 'FUCK YOU'," is printed on the inside of the sneaker to help remind you who you are with every step.
A major skill of any holiday survivalist? Impeccable gifting. (And these must-have gifts & stocking stuffers are topping every wishlist.) Head to DSW this holiday season to find great gifts for those hard-to-shop-for people on your list (and of course, for yourself). Find shoes (and accessories) for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, those last-minute office parties, and so much more.