You can always find heat dropping in the summertime, but what has been the single best release each summer for the last decade? We explore in our latest feature. Looking at the official months of summer as June through September, we’re sure you will have fond memories for some of these releases and more than likely still have some in the collection. From Nike to Jordan to Nike SB to even Ronnie Fieg’s “Mint” Gel Lyte III banger, these drops all reigned supreme during their respective summers. But the question now is, what will be the best summer release for this year?! Please feel free to let us know your pick in the comments section below.
2004 - Nike SB Dunk High "U.N.K.L.E."
Released: September 2004
When looking at the nominees for sneaker of the summer for 2004, one stood out above the rest. Beating out the likes of the “Cool Grey” Air Jordan IV, and some other SB heat, the Nike SB Dunk High “U.N.K.L.E.” was the best sneaker dropped in summer ’04. Even if it did drop late in the summer, we had to tip our caps because, not only is it one of the most coveted SB releases of all time, but this one made us want to rock dark-colored high tops in the warmer months. Not to mention having sneakerheads figuring out how to rock kicks with that much pink on them.
2005 - Nike SB Dunk Low Pro "Tiffany"
Released: August 2005
This was a tough one. Not only were the excellent “Rare Air” Laser Air Jordan IVs released in the summer of 2005, but the Holy Grail of IVs, the UNDFTD collab released too. But, seeing as how only 72 people actually copped the UNDFTDs, we’re dubbing the Nike SB Dunk Low “Tiffany” the hottest sneaker for summer 2005. Just look at the hype a 2014 high-top release generated! Though sneaker hype was a bit different back in summer ’05, the thirst for these amazing SBs was no less significant. Simply one of the best Dunks ever.
2006 - Air Jordan IV Thunder & Lightning Packs
Released: August 2006
Summer 2006 was also a no-brainer. While there were a few dope SBs that dropped that summer, they all paled in comparison to what Jordan Brand had up their sleeves. Some of the younger sneakerheads among us may forget a time when JB actually sold sneakers on their Jumpman23.com site, but the Air Jordan IV “Thunder” and “Lightning” packs were a phenomenon. Not only were they fantastic new colorways of the iconic IV silo, but they were exclusive to Jumpman23.com at a time when eCommerce was still a relatively new concept to the common sneakerhead. And that’s to say nothing of the $500 price which in 2006, that hurt the pockets a little bit.
2007 - Nike SB Dunk High "MF Doom"
Released: July 2007
More often than not, musician sneaker collabs don’t really do it for us. Oftentimes overdone, corny or just plain ugly, these Dunk High bangers from Nike SB and MF Doom are the exception to the rule. Beating out strong showings from Jordan Brand such as the “Black Cat” IIIs, these MF Doom Dunks are just awesome. Subtle color-blocking and well-crafted details are just a few of the reasons these Dunks are some of the most coveted SBs of all nowadays.
2008 - Nike Hyperdunk 2015 "McFly"
Released: July 2008
Aside from a handful of extremely limited-run or international releases, summer 2008 wasn’t as hot a season for sneakerheads as we’ve been accustomed to in recent years. But the drop that most stood out, in our minds was the fantastic Nike Hyperdunk 2015 “McFly” release. What other sneaker had Kobe pulling up to UNDFTD in a Delorean? Speaks for itself.
2009 - Nike Air Yeezy Net/Net
Released: June 2009
So, despite what many may think, the Nike Air Yeezy wasn’t actually a slam-dunk to take the cake as the top sneaker release for summer 2009. Some stiff competition from the likes of the “Raging Bull” pack really gave it a run for the money, but technically those dropped just before summer in May. In the end, the hype and significance of the Air Yeezy tipped the scales in favor of the original Yeezy. Interestingly, the first Air Yeezy was actually a staggered release; with one colorway dropping per month from April-June, the last being the dopest (in our humble opinion), the Net/Net colorway. Just beautiful.
2010 - Air Jordan VI "Infrared Pack"
Released: June 2010
Initially believed to be an Asia-exclusive, stateside sneakerheads rejoiced when news of the Air Jordan VI “Infrared” Pack was announced for a US release in the summer of 2010. Look, JB could print their own money by releasing these Infrared joints every year. But, when they drop them as a pack? That’s an easy win.
2011 - Ronnie Fieg x ASICS Gel Lyte III "Mint"
Released: July 2011
Ronnie Fieg has a lot of sneakers that could easily fit into this list without a bit of disagreement. But his 2011 collab with Asics, the Gel Lyte III “Mint,” is a no-brainer. They’re just a thing of beauty. Embodying the essence of summertime cool, the “Mints” were a super-limited, pre-Kith release that crashed the David Z servers hard. But, if you were persistent through the technical difficulties, and struck gold (or, Mint in this case), you were rewarded with the best sneaker drop for the summer of 2011.
2012 - Nike Air Yeezy 2
Released: June 2012
Summer 2012 was no slouch when it came to hot sneaker drops, but in retrospect, the summer belonged to Yeezy. Beating out the tremendous hype of a release like the Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Lows is a feat in and of itself. But the Nike Air Yeezy 2 was a force of nature, and it was all any sneakerhead could talk about in the summer of 2012. Whether you loved ’em, hated ’em, or were stacking chips to stunt in ’em, the Yeezy 2 reigned supreme.
2013 - Air Jordan 3 "Doernbecher"
Released: July 2013
The Doernbecher Js have always been pretty awesome, but their 2010 take on the beloved Air Jordan III likely takes the cake as best-yet. Which is why we were so pumped when JB decided to retro or “re-release” these in the summer of 2013. For a lot of kicks, returning just a short three years removed from the original release might be classified as over saturation. But, be honest, bringing these beauties back only served to make the summer that much hotter.