Punctuated by landmark moments like the Kanye-adidas split in October, Nike's lawsuit against StockX back in May and polarising drops like Balenciaga's Paris High, 2022 never gave sneakerheads a dull moment. With feuds, fallouts and celebrity drama often threatening to cloud the main event (the kicks themselves), we want to take a minute to relive last year's true, undebated best bits.
Featuring design peaks like Travis Scott and Air Jordan's Reverse Mocha and panda-monium for Nike's humble Black and White Dunk, our rundown of the biggest and best sneaker releases of 2022 is here to take you on a stroll down memory lane, just in case 'new year, new sneakers' isn't on your radar quite yet.
Nike Dunk Low Panda
We love a limited edition colourway or print as much as anyone else, but there's so much to be said for a timeless, black-and-white profile like the Dunk Low Panda. Let's put it this way: trends get old, Nike's Dunk Low doesn't.
We're not the only ones who think so, either. The humble Dunk accounted for just 3.64% of Nike's sales in 2020, but made up a staggering 49.4% in 2022, and it's the monochrome Panda colourway that lead the pack, emerging as our bestselling sneaker of the year. Turns out there's no recipe for success quite like a clean, colour-blocked design topped with a trademark Swoosh.
This one might've been released back in '85, but its advancing years couldn't stop it from becoming one of 2022's most hyped sneakers. Whether you think it's rinsed or just as fresh as ever, the Panda isn't going away anytime soon.
Jordan 4 Military Black
Jordan can always be counted on to bring the heat, and it did exactly that in June of '22 by dropping the Jordan 4 Retro in Military Black. A greyscale spin on 1989's classic 'Military Blue' colourway, this contemporary iteration is complete with signature Jumpman branding to the tongue and heel badge.
Designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield, the AJ4 has arrived in an endless array of shades in its 33-year lifespan, but few have been more timeless or versatile than Military Black. Missed out in June? We've got stock available in standard and GS sizing - it's not too late to secure one of the biggest and best sneaker releases of 2022!
Jordan 1 Low Reverse Mocha
Hotly anticipated since September 2021, Travis Scott's Jordan 1 Low Reverse Mocha arrives in neutral, coffee-coloured hues that sneakerheads will instantly recognise as the work of the Houston native. Aside from the delayed release of the Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 in May, this kick marked Scott’s first return to sneaker design following the Astroworld tragedy in 2021.
It didn't deviate too far from the rapper's previous sneaker releases, though; in fact, this one is almost the exact inverse of 2019's Air Jordan 1 Low Dark Mocha. Unsurprisingly, this release sold out in seconds back in July, but we've still got you covered with a whole range of in-stock sizes. Sure, it's an investment, but an instant grail like this one is worth every penny.
Jordan 1 Lost & Found
A tribute to the Air Jordan 1 and its 37-year history, the AJ1 Chicago (aka 'Lost & Found') aims to capture the look of the beloved shoe if it were to be found decades later in a dusty stock room.
This staple of sneaker culture arrives in colour-blocked white, red and black leather that's been carefully treated to showcase a slightly aged look - just like the old-school original. Its box comes with a mismatched lid, too, a deliberate touch that speaks to shoes being misplaced in backrooms and basements back in the days before advanced inventory systems.
Creating what Nike itself describes as a 'time-travel moment' for seasoned sneakerheads and new collectors alike, this once-lost shoe has certainly found its place among 2022's most hyped sneakers.
UGG Ultra Mini
Winter '22 was undoubtedly the season of the UGG boot. In a somewhat surprising comeback, the brand's Ultra Mini style enjoyed a rise to popularity that's not slowing down now that January '23 has rolled around.
Essentially a miniature version of the coveted classic UGG boot, the Ultra Mini is - of course - lined with a cosy shearling blend that keeps feet warmer than your sneakers ever could. Think this slipper-boot hybrid belongs indoors and indoors only? A whole host of celebrities, supermodels and influencers will tell you otherwise. In fact, the once-housebound UGG seems to work best out and about these days.
Believe it or not, this suede silhouette is one of the toughest shoes to get your hands on right now, but we've got you covered with availability in every core colourway, as well as a few pairs of the sold-out Tasman slippers, too.
2022's a hard act to follow, but with the prospect of drops like Travis Scott's Air Jordan 1 Low OG Olive and the Off-WHITE x Nike Air Force 1 Low Grey, 2023 looks like it'll give sneakerheads plenty to get hyped about.
YEEZY fans will still be able to get their hands on Kanye's shoe designs (sans branding) for a while too, though financial analysts foresee a tough year ahead for adidas without the input of its best-known collaborator. It's all music to Nike's ears though, with lack of competition promising stronger demand and a bigger, better year than ever.