The 25 First Collaborations Of Today’s Best Collaborators

With collab portfolios seemingly getting thicker every week, we look back at the first collab efforts from some of your favorite collaborators in the game today! From shops, magazines and artists all across the globe, sneaker companies have continually used collaborations to generate excitement for their brand, introduce a new audience to an older silhouette or celebrate a particular anniversary/milestone...just to name a few. With some of these releases dating back to probably before you were even into sneakers or learned about a particular shop/brand, how many of these can you say you were familiar with? Take a look and let us know in the comments section below which of these first collabs you still have in the 'ol collection.

Supreme

Sneaker: Supreme x Vans Old Skool
Year: 1996

Now pretty much known as the king of collabs, particularly for their resume of dope Nike releases, Supreme has been dropping fire footwear for nearly two decades now. But, despite all the hype their releases garner these days, their first sneaker collab harkens back to the brand’s roots. They were of course, started as a skate company. Which is why the Vans Old Skool was a perfect canvas to get the collab portfolio started on. Dropping in three colorways – two camo and one 3M joint – these Old Skools are understated and perfect.

atmos

Sneaker: atmos x Nike Dunk Low & Air Force 1 Low
Year: 2001

When you hear about a new atmos collab, you almost always think of some crazy-limited Air Max, often done up in some loud animal or camo print that you’ll probably never be able to get your hands on. But, the Japanese boutique’s first foray into sneaker collaboration came in a much more neutral tone. In 2001, we were served with a double dose of Nike and atmos, teaming up on both low top silos of the Air Force 1 and the Dunk.

Footpatrol

Sneaker: Footpatrol x Nike Air Epic Hyperstrike
Year: 2003

When brands and shops get together to collab on a sneaker, nostalgia is often used as the catalyst for bringing lesser-known silhouettes back from the dead. As was the case when London-based Footpatrol got their feet wet in collaboration with Nike. Digging through the vaults, Footpatrol and Nike chose to bring back the Nike Air Epic in a suitably gloomy colorway. Unfortunately for most sneakerheads, exclusivity ruled over this release, as it got dubbed a hyperstrike and was limited to a rumored 24 pairs.

Sneakersnstuff

Sneaker: Sneakersnstuff x Puma Basket Hemp
Year: 2003

To say that Sweden-based footwear hub Sneakersnstuff has really honed their craft in recent years, would be both accurate and short-sighted. They have dropped some excellent collabs of-late. But they’ve actually been putting out that heat since way back in 2003. To kick things off, SNS did its thing on this super clean Puma Basket in a neutral hemp material. Limited to just 136 individually numbered pairs, these Baskets are awesome.

Stash

Sneaker: Stash x Nike Air Force 1 High
Year: 2003

With numerous classic sneaker collabs under his belt, Josh “Stash” Franklin has undoubtedly put his mark on the game. Though widely known for his infamous Air Max 95, in a now trademark palette of blue hues, it was his first collab with Nike that set the mark for how a collaboration should be done. Now considered one of the best Nike collabs in most circles, 2003’s graffiti nozzle “Stash” Air Force 1 High is an icon all it’s own.

Futura

Sneaker: Futura x Nike SB Dunk Low
Year: 2003

Graffiti artist Futura has been getting down with Nike for a long time now, and the results to this point have been fantastic. While most folks know of Futura through his legendary designs on the likes of the UNKLE or FLOM Dunk Highs, his first collab with Nike actually came back in 2003, with this SB Dunk Low. Dubbed simply the “Futura” colorway, a lot of folks overlook this collab, simply because of the understated colorway. But one thing to make note of is, at a time when folks primarily did their uppers in one material (suede, leather, etc), the Futura Dunks opted to combine mesh, suede and leather to add an interesting contrast to this seemingly simple colorway.

Pharrell

Sneaker: N.E.R.D. x Nike Dunk High
Year: 2004

You already know that style gawd Pharrell has collaborated on everything from clothing to perfume to furniture. But we’re super excited to see what else his deal with adidas brings to fruition. Prior to his work with BAPE and the gents at adidas, Skateboard P got his first footwear collab teaming up with Nike on the excellent “N.E.R.D.” Dunk High. Releasing in 2004, Pharrell’s Dunks are interesting, not only because of how dope they are, but also because their so subtle. Always known for his epic style, it’s interesting to look back at his first footwear collab and see such conservative composition. Oh, how times have changed.

Jeff Staple

Sneaker: Jeff Staple x Nike Air Max 90 “Navigation Pack”
Year: 2004

While everyone and their mother knows about Jeff Staple’s legendary “Pigeon” Dunks, not many folks know about his footwear collabs prior to that 2005 release. Teaming up with Nike a few times prior to the Pigeons, Staple got the chance to help design one of Nike’s “City Pack” releases; 2004’s Navigation Pack. Adorned with a pattern resembling an aerial view of New York City, Staple actually got down on both a men’s and women’s colorway. Of course, the very next year, he’d be asked to take part in designing an SB Dunk, and thus creating the Pigeon legacy.

Kanye West

Sneaker: Kanye West x Nike Air 180
Year: 2005

When Kanye’s sneaker legacy is finished being written, there’s no doubt that the Nike Air Yeezy series will stand out as the tipping point. However, most people aren’t aware of the design work he did before the Yeezy. In fact, the Air Yeezy wasn’t even Ye’s first collab with Nike. Back in 2005-06, after the success of the College Dropout album, Ye teamed up with Nike to hit up the classic Air 180. The result was this excellent animal print-clad banger. Unfortunately for us, these babies were a friends and family release that never made it to retail. We wouldn’t get a Kanye sneaker collab at retail until 2006’s Dropout-themed Bapesta.

Sole Collector

Sneaker: Sole Collector x Nike Air Presto “Honolulu”
Year: 2005

We’ve already professed our love for Sole Collector’s work here in the past. But, if you’re looking for more reasons why, look no further than their very first sneaker collaboration; the “Honolulu” Nike Air Presto. Released at a Honolulu NikeTown event in 2005, these aloha-themed Prestos were limited to just 48 pairs and, naturally, sold out instantly.

Dave White

Sneaker: Dave White x Nike Air Max 90 “Neon”
Year: 2005

While many of us are most familiar with artist Dave White’s high-profile work with Jordan Brand, his first footwear collab predates those 1s by the better part of a decade. Often credited as the pioneer of the “sneaker art” movement, his art even hangs in the hallways and offices at Nike HQ. So White was an obvious choice to get the nod on a collab when Nike was putting together 2005’s “Neon” or “Wet Paint” pack. For his part, White chose to create a modern take on the iconic Air Max 95s “Neon” colorway, on the equally excellent Air Max 90. These are just so dope.

Solebox

Sneaker: Solebox x New Balance 1500GGB “1 of 150″
Year: 2005

When you think of the Mt. Rushmore of sneaker collaborators, if you’re not including Hikmet and the folks at Berlin’s Solebox, you better think again. Known world-wide for some of the finest collabs the sneaker world has ever seen, Solebox has that fire. But it all began in 2005, with the “1 of 150″ New Balance 1500GGB. Just a prelude to their brilliance (particularly with regard to their New Balance work), these 1500s are so clean.

Patta

Sneaker: Patta x Nike Air Max 1 “Amsterdam”
Year: 2005

Oh, Patta. Perhaps no other shop has ever had as many highly regarded sneaker collabs as Amsterdam’s Patta. And their first forray into collabs was a legend in the making. Interestingly, the folks at Patta didn’t actually design these beauties, Dutch artist Parra did (Patta oversaw the project). Even more interestingly, the legendary colorway we know today, almost never was. Initially, the intended colorway for the “Amsterdam” Nike Air Max 1 was a very dope blue and orange pair, inspired by the colors of a local supermarket in the Netherlands. However, before the shoes were pushed into production, the store chain switched up their brand identity, including those infamous colors. So Parra did away with the original design, in favor of the colorway we’re all familiar with today. Inspired by the neon glow of nighttime in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, these 1s are some of the best ever. Though there are some samples of the original colorway floating around, we’d really like to see those release sometime in the future.

Undefeated

Sneaker: Undefeated x Pro-Keds Royal
Year: 2005

LA’s Undefeated has been grinding! Nowadays known for their almost quarterly collabs with major brands like Nike, Converse and adidas, UNDFTD has gone from local boutique to full-fledged streetwear label. But their first sneaker collab came by way of the iconic label Pro-Keds. Teaming up to drop this military themed Royal, these canvas high tops dropped prior to all their work with Nike, way back in the spring of 2005.

UBIQ

Sneaker: UBIQ x Reebok Court Victory Pump & Ventilator
Year: 2005

Released on Black Friday 2005, Philly’s UBIQ blessed us with their very first collaboration, an excellent take on two classic Reebok silhouettes. Taking their shot at both the Court Victory Pump, and the infamous Ventilator, UBIQ gave us this slick maroon and beige colorway. Trimmed up with olive green hits and the always-welcome gum soles, these were a really tough collab. Not only aesthetically, but with only 48 pairs released in each silo, they were difficult kicks to get your hands on as well.

Bape

Sneaker: BAPE x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Ox
Year: 2006

We covered these BAPE Chucks in our previous collab post, but 2006s team-up with Converse signaled a big change for BAPE as a brand. Prior to it, the company had been pushing out nothing but their own “inspired” versions of already classic silhouettes like the Bapesta. But these All Star Ox’s marked their first footwear collaboration, and also the first time we saw that “Ape Camo” on a sneaker.

Sneaker Freaker

Sneaker: Sneaker Freaker x Lacoste Missouri 85 “Minty Fresh”
Year: 2006

Another one of our favorite sneaker publications, Sneaker Freaker, is also a very accomplished collaborator. After getting their magazine off the ground in 2002, it wasn’t long before they had a steady circulation and were looking to take it to the next level. Fast forward to 2006, and every significant shop and designer is getting down on a footwear collab of some kind, and Sneaker Freaker wanted in on it too. One of the things we like most about SF, is their penchant for choosing nontraditional silhouettes to collab on (like their famous Blaze of Glory Pumas). Sure, they could have gone with an Air Force 1, or a pair of Chucks. But for their first collab, the boys from Sneaker Freaker chose to team up with Lacoste on a silo that hadn’t been seen since the mid 80s, the Missouri. Done up in a classic white/black/grey colorway, the Missouris are offset with nice hits of mint. Released in typical Sneaker Freaker fashion (ie, super limited and hard to get), these were an excellent stepping stone to help put Sneaker Freaker on the global map.

Blends

Sneaker: Blends x Nike Air Max 95
Year: 2006

Though perhaps most well known for their fantastic collaborations with Vans, Southern California footwear staple Blends began their collaborative portfolio with this wild tag team with Nike. Using exclusive iD options, Blends was allowed to create this collab back in 2006, releasing just 95 pairs, and breaking a lot of hearts along the way. Utilizing black buffalo skin, neon and white patent leather and those super loud blue laces, these 95s were an ultra-tough cop.

Ronnie Fieg

Sneaker: Ronnie Fieg x David Z. x Asics Gel Lyte III “252 Pack”
Year: 2007

Ronnie Fieg is often credited with breathing life into the Asics lifestyle division with his unique designs of their Gel Lyte silhouettes. And it all started in 2007. After moving his way up from the stock room to become the head buyer for New York’s David Z, he got the opportunity to collaborate with Asics on this trio of Gel Lyte IIIs, dubbed the “252 Pack.” Releasing just 252 pair of each colorway, the pair pictured above was the first to drop. The other two colorways were released at a Complex release party and online. After garnering enough hype to justify a cover appearance on the Wall Street Jounral (!), the rest was a wrap.

Bodega

Sneaker: Bodega x Converse Jack Purcell Mid “Lumberjack Collection”
Year: 2007

For their first footwear collaboration, Bodega teamed up with Converse to create an excellent Jack Purcell that fits perfectly within the Boston-based shop’s storefront. Packaged in a resealable bag, and done up in a meaty brown leather, these Purcell mids are set off by a healthy dose of black and red lumberjack flannel. That’s the one thing we’ve always loved about Bodega’s collabs, they’ve always got an awesome theme and very detail-oriented packaging to go with it. It’s the little things.

Concepts

Sneaker: Concepts x New Balance 576
Year: 2007

Concepts has made a name for itself with top-notch collab designs and crazy releases that have folks lining up, often in the cold, for days at a time. But it all started back in 2007, as one would expect, with their Massachusetts neighbors New Balance, on this excellent 576. Look, the UCLA-like colorway might not be for everyone. We actually dig them. But, what we love most about this particular collab is the variety and detail of materials used. Peep the pebbled white leather, the plush blue and yellow nubuck, and just a couple quick hits of white patent leather. This collab was a perfect start to a partnership that has benefitted sneakerheads for some time now

DJ Clark Kent

Sneaker: DJ Clark Kent x Nike “112 Pack”
Year: 2008

If there is a more appropriate way to start your collaborative portfolio, we can’t think of one better than DJ Clark Kent’s beloved “112 Pack.” For those of you unfamiliar, Kent is from Brooklyn, in which all zip codes start with “112.” In what has become a go-to Nike colorway, Kent got down with this pack of “1” silhouettes. Featuring an Air Max 1, an Air Force 1 and an Air Trainer 1 Mid, the “112 Pack” ensured summer 2008 really brought that HEAT!

Nice Kicks

Sneaker: Nice Kicks x Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel Lyte III
Year: 2009

Oh, you thought them Yeezys started the all red wave? Nah, neither did these fire Asics GL3s done up back in 2009 by Ronnie Fieg and the good folks over at Nice Kicks. But, they did put RF, Nice Kicks and the Gel Lyte III silhouette onto the radars of a lot of sneakerheads. Back in ’09, Ronnie teamed up with three well-known blogs (Nice Kicks, Highsnobiety, and Culture Shoq) to drop these fantastic collaborative Gel Lyte IIIs. For their first collab, Nice Kicks really showed out.

A.P.C.

Sneaker: A.P.C. x Vans Authentic & Chukka
Year: 2011

French menswear label A.P.C. has really been making a name for itself lately. With high-profile get-downs alongside the likes of Louis Wong and Kanye West, they’ve also begun to dabble in sneaker collaborations as well. But, while everyone knows about their recent drops with Nike (those gum soled Air Max 1s are just so dope), their sneaker portfolio started off a bit more humble with Vans. Initially teaming up in 2011 on three shoes, A.P.C. approached this collaboration with the same understated premium quality that has made their Nike drops so popular. Encompassing three pairs of Authentic’s and a pair of Chukka’s, A.P.C.’s high-quality, low-flash Vans are perfect.

Extra Butter

Sneaker: Extra Butter x Reebok Pump AXT “Achoo”
Year: 2011

You see, when people talk about sneakers telling a story, this is the kind of off-the-wall stuff we love to see. The boys at Extra Butter really went in on their first collab, 2011’s “Achoo” Reebok Pump AXT. Yes, Achoo is the sound you make when you sneeze, but it was also the name of Dave Chappelle’s character in the cult-classic Robin Hood: Men in Tights. A wonderfully random and equally awesome idea to model a sneaker after, this clean Pump is colored up to resemble Achoo’s wardrobe when he’s introduced into the film. And the interesting way EB decided which silo to collab on? In the movie, there is a fight scene in which Chappelle’s Achoo calls time out, and stops to pump up his Reeboks before resuming the medieval brawl. See? Sometimes this stuff figures itself out!

BAIT

Sneaker: BAIT x Saucony Shadow 6000 “Blue Apple”
Year: 2012

If you haven’t already noticed, Southern Cali’s BAIT has been putting out some fire collabs in recent years. But, one you thing you might have missed, is that most of them come in a variation of their signature BAIT colorways: blue (B), apple (A), ivory (I), and tan (T). Their first collab, this banger with Saucony, on the classic Shadow 6000, was dubbed the “Blue Apple.” Designed as an homage to the original ‘bait,’ the Garden of Eden’s forbidden fruit, this Saucony is a real head-turner.

Packer Shoes

Sneaker: Packer Shoes x Reebok Pump “20th Anniversary”
Year: 2009

It’s crazy to think that it took until 2009 for one of America’s oldest sneaker stores, Packer Shoes, to get their first collaboration, but here we are. Our favorite part of this particular collab is that it also rectifies a long-standing sneaker snub; giving the legendary Dominique Wilkins his own sneaker. Back in ’09, the boys at Packer were tabbed to help Reebok celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Pump silo, and did so by giving Nique some much deserved shine. Dialing up a colorway that could’ve easily passed for a signature sneaker, Packer really put it down on this one. It’s just a shame that there were only a scant 31 pairs released to the public.

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The 25 Best Sneaker Designs By Indie Designers

Packer Shoes

Best: New Balance 999 “Kennedy”
Runner-Up: Concepts x New Balance ‘Mint’ 998

Oooh boy, where to start? The boys from Concepts have been busy, particularly in recent years, creating some of the dopest sneaker collabs we’ve ever seen. So, picking a favorite is a bit of a challenge. But, their work with local brand New Balance has simply been unmatched. And while they had two huge hits on their hands last year, with the excellent ‘Mint’ and “C-Note” 998s, nothing could match the splendor of their 2011 drop, the NB 999 “Kennedy.” This is our favorite New Balance of all time. Nuff. Said.

24 Kilates

Best: 24 Kilates x Asics Gel-Lyte Speed
Runner-Up: 24 Kilates x Asics Gel Saga

Barcelona-based sneaker purveyor 24 Kilates has had their fair share of excellent collabs. From the Euro-shop-must-have NB collabs to some more obscure heat, like their recent throw down with Le Coq Sportif. But our personal favorites came back in 2010, with their Asics Gel-Lyte Speed “San Fermin” pack. Not only were they fantastic kicks, but their package included a dope wooden box with a caraf and a bottle of primo wine. Extra credit points, for sure.

atmos

Best: Nike Air Max 1 “Elephant”
Runner-Up: Nike Air Max 1 “Safari”

If you’re a serious fan of trainers, and particularly the Nike Air Max 1, you no doubt know about atmos. But unfortunately for most of us, if you happen to live outside of NY or Japan, their collabs have been little more than a pipe dream for you. Unless of course you’ve got some serious stacks to throw around. And for good reason; atmos is, simply put, one of the best sneaker collaborators of all time. Picking a favorite from atmos’s crazy design portfolio was no easy task, but their take on Nike/Jordan’s elephant print with 2007’s Nike Air Max 1 has yet to see any legitimate peers contend with it. And that includes the efforts from Nike themselves over the years. Just looking at what these AM1s beat out (“Safari” and “Viotech” Air Maxes, just to start), you begin to realize just how special these bangers are. Legendary.

Bodega

Best: Saucony Shadow 5000 Teal & Grey
Runner-Up: Bodega x Reebok AXT Pump “Cottonmouth”

Boston-based Bodega is always putting out that work. So whenever they drop a collab, we’re all ears. But, our personal favorite from the shop’s luminous back catalog is the excellent teal/grey Saucony Elite Shadow 5000 from 2010. Produced in very limited numbers, these Shadows go hard, even beating out their excellent take on Reebok’s AXT Pump, which was nicknamed “Cottonmouth.”

CLOT

Best: CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 SP “Kiss of Death” Part 2
Runner-Up: CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 NL “Kiss of Death”

If you’re familiar with the history of Nike Air Max 1 collabs, it’s no surprise to see CLOT on this list. Their 2006 collab on the AM1, dubbed the “Kiss of Death,” with it’s clear toebox – has been turning heads ever since it’s inception, and is widely considered one of the best AM1s of all time. Which is why their 2013 collab was such a big deal. When the release was announced, anticipation was high. And though sequels are often a let down, CLOT’s Nike makeups will go down like the Alien vs. Aliens debate. We just happen to prefer the ultimately more-wearable 2013 drop. Flames.

Concepts

Best: New Balance 999 “Kennedy”
Runner-Up: Concepts x New Balance ‘Mint’ 998

Oooh boy, where to start? The boys from Concepts have been busy, particularly in recent years, creating some of the dopest sneaker collabs we’ve ever seen. So, picking a favorite is a bit of a challenge. But, their work with local brand New Balance has simply been unmatched. And while they had two huge hits on their hands last year, with the excellent ‘Mint’ and “C-Note” 998s, nothing could match the splendor of their 2011 drop, the NB 999 “Kennedy.” This is our favorite New Balance of all time. Nuff. Said.

DJ Clark Kent

Best: Nike Air Max 1 “112”
Runner-Up: Nike Air Max LeBron VII “112”

Man, we really wanna be homies with DJ Clark Kent. Aside from creating the iconic “112” colorway, Kent has had a hand in designing some of the dopest friends-and-fam drops ever. Remember those FnF “James Dean” LeBrons? Crack. But, it all started with the “112 pack,” and our personal favorite, the Air Max 1. We know the 112 colorway isn’t for everyone, but the color scheme just fits the AM1 silhouette so well.

Footpatrol

Best: Footpatrol x Asics Gel Saga
Runner-Up: Footpatrol x Saucony Shadow 6000 “Only in Soho”

While wheat Timbs may be the go-to street shoe for Stateside sneakerheads, across the pond, it’s all about the trainers. Which is why we love Footpatrol’s 2012 collab with Asics. Melding the super-comfy Gel Saga with that infamous wheat color, trimming it with asymmetrical accents and topping it all off with a gumsole was a win. And, while FP has had some fantastic collabs throughout the years – particularly last year’s Saucony “Only in SoHo” drop – this one was a no-brainer.

Frank the Butcher

Best: adidas Originals Forum Hi “Hustler’s Crest”
Runner-Up: Saucony Shadow 5000 “Novem”

Frank the Butcher is one of our favorite individuals in sneakers. Not only does he put out legit music, but the dude is a sneaker OG. Just look at what he’s had a hand in creating, particularly in the Boston area. While we’ve omitted our favorite FTB design (the amazing and unreleased New Balance 1600 “Liberty, Justice & Freedom” pack), what’s left is still fantastic. Our favorite? The beautiful adidas Originals Forum Hi “Hustler’s Crest” pack, narrowly topping the “Novem” Sauconys. Those Forums are lush and beautiful.

Hanon

Best: Hanon x New Balance 1500 “Chosen Few”
Runner-Up: Hanon x Asics Gel Lyte III “Wildcats”

This was a tough one. On the one hand, Hanon’s 2011 “Wildcat” collab with Asics have become one of the dopest non-RF GLIIIs. But on the other, we’re pure suckers for the New Balance 1500. And while the “Wildcats” are dope-as-hell, 2012’s “Chosen Few” 1500s use NB’s iconic grey and navy palette to perfection. In a photo-finish, we’re giving the nod to the “Chosen Few.”

Jeff Staple

Best: Nike SB Dunk Low “Pigeon”
Runner-Up: New Balance 575 “Pigeon” White

Sure, the “Pigeon” colorway has been done many times before. But that’s because it’s super-versatile and classsssssic. You already know we’ve got a soft spot for New Balances. And while 2009’s “Pigeon” 574s were considered here, lets be real: the SB Dunk Lows are iconic. With Nike recently taking beloved SB colorways, and retroing them as high-tops, we’ve been praying to the sneaker gawds that the “Pigeons” are up for retro consideration.

Nice Kicks

Best: Nice Kicks x New Balance 1500
Runner-Up: Nice Kicks x Vans Sk8-Hi “The Duel”

The fellas over at Nice Kicks know what they’re doing when it comes to designing a sneaker. While they might not have the volume of say, Kith or CNCPTS, when they do put out a collab, you know it’s going to be on point. Like our favorite, their perfect take on the classic New Balance 1500. Dropping back in 2011, we love this colorway so much because it just fits the New Balance steez so well. NBs always look best in grey tones. But adding pops of that NK red gives the sneaker just the right amount of flare.

Nicky Diamonds

Best: Nike SB Dunk Low “Tiffany”
Runner-Up: Diamond Supply Co. Marquise

Come on, you knew what this entry would be as soon as you saw Nicky Diamonds on the list. The gorgeous “Tiffany” Nike SB Dunk Low from 2005 is simply one of the greatest SB colorways of all time. And, while the Diamond Supply team has put out some solid heat since then (especially their in-house line, like the Tiff-blue Marquise), they set the bar crazy high with these SBs. That’s the sneaker equivalent of a walk-off.

Packer Shoes

Best: Reebok Kamikaze II Mid “Remember the Alamo”
Runner-Up: Reebok Question Mid “Practice”

If you’ve been reading our site for long, you know how big of a fan of Packer Shoes we are. When Packer drops a collab, they do their homework, usually picking an out-of-the-box silhouette and excellent colorway, and it usually comes along with an awesome storyline and packaging. As was the case when they dropped the “Remember the Alamo” Kamikaze’s in 2013. We’re ’80s babies around these parts, so honoring the 1996 NBA All Star Game (widely considered the dopest ASG from a sneaker perspective) is right up our alley. Not only does the colorway perfectly harken back to those wild ’90s unis, but the capsule that came along with the kicks (jersey, shirt & hat) were excellent too. Bravo Packer.

Patta

Best: Patta x Nike Sportswear Air Max 1 Premium QS
Runner-Up: Patta x Nike Air Max 1 Premium TZ ‘Black’

If you’re a sneaker designer, looking to use the Air Max 1 as your canvas, you better bring it. Because the likes of atmos and Dutch shop Patta have already set the bar sky high. This may have been the most difficult choice on the list, considering all the fantastic collabs that Patta has dropped since opening their doors back in 2004. But, the purple “Cordouroy” Air Max 1s they dropped back in 2009 are just legendary. If you put swatches of these materials and colors on a table, you’d never imagine they’d come together like they do. But that’s what makes Patta so special. All hail!

Ronnie Feig / Kith

Best: Asics Gel Lyte III “Cove”
Runner-Up: Asics Gel Lyte III “Salmon Toe”

You just can’t have a list like this without including Ronnie Feig. Quite simply, he’s put trainers back on the map in the US and has single-handedly put a whole generation on to brands like Asics and Sebago. With all the fire RF has put out over the past few years, it’s really tough to choose a favorite, because each one is crafted so well. However, the top RF makeup to us has always been and (likely) always will be the “Cove” Gel Lyte III. The Leatherbacks, Selvedges, Flamingos and Rose Golds are classic worthy of all the fire-emojis in the world. And we’re quite partial to the Salmon Toes as well, not just because they’re a super clean looking shoe, but they were the first shoe Ronnie dropped after opening Kith. But in the end, there’s just something special about that “Cove” hue paired with the grey midsole.

Sneaker Freaker

Best: New Balance 998 “Tassie Devil”
Runner-Up: Puma Blaze of Glory “Sharkbait”

The good folks down under at Australia’s finest sneaker publication, Sneaker Freaker, certainly know their way around a sneaker design. Having put out several excellent collabs, we’re huge fans of their work. But, they’ve really come on strong in the last few years. One of our favorites, the “Sharkbait” Puma Blaze of Glory was the perfect way to close out that trilogy. But the Sneaker Freaker design we love most is 2013’s New Balance 998 “Tassie Devil.” Not only is the white/black/purple color palette fantastic, but we just love the speckled midsole and those infamous “teeth” paying homage to Australia’s Tasmanian Devil.

Sneakersnstuff

Best: Reebok Question Mid “Shoe About Nothing”
Runner-Up: SNS x Asics GT-II Grey/Red

In recent years, we’ve seen several colorway/collabs of the iconic Reebok Question. And while there have been some fantastic designs, we’re not sure anyone has nailed it as well as Stockholm-based Sneakersnstuff’s 2013 “Shoe About Nothing.” Nowadays, seemingly every sneaker has a “story to tell.” So it’s refreshing when a shop says, “you know what, no theme. We just like the colors.” And we couldn’t agree more. And, extra credit points for the Seinfeld reference. That’s just good hustle.

Sole Collector

Best: Sole Collector x Nike Air Zoom Flight The Glove “Sonic Wave”
Runner-Up: Sole Collector x Nike Zoom Revis “Talaria” F&F

You probably already know this, but we’ll say it anyway: Sole Collector does fantastic work. Not only is their publication top-notch, but their sneaker design portfolio can go toe-to-toe with some of the best. We love the unorthodox silos and well-thought-out colorways they apply to them. From the amazing Penny pack to the neck-breaking “Cowboy” Dunks, the work SC puts in is inspiring. And, while we REALLY want a pair of those “Talaria” Revis’s, our favorite design is their latest-and-greatest. The “Sonic Wave” Zoom Gloves are just a thing of beauty. GP would be proud!

Solebox

Best: Solebox x New Balance 1500 “Nazar Eye”
Runner-Up: Solebox x New Balance 1500 “Purple Devil 3″

We’re just going to go ahead and put this out here: outside of Concepts, no one can touch Solebox’s work with New Balance. Yeah, we said it. Just look at the ridiculous back catalog of highly-coveted collabs this Berlin-based shop has put out (seriously, you should see how much some of these NBs go for on the resale market). And, throughout all the gorgeous designs, simplicity wins out, because our favorite drop they’ve ever done is 2008’s New Balance 1500 “Nazar Eye.” It’s just a perfect shoe. It doesn’t get any better than this…trust.

Saint Alfred

Best: Asics Gel Lyte III
Runner-Up: Converse Pro Leather

Chi-town’s finest, Saint Alfred doesn’t have a ton of sneaker design collabs under their belt yet. But the ones they have dropped have made waves. While guys like RF and Concepts are dropping straight fire on New Balance and Asics silos, Saint Alfred showed that they can play with the big boys with their 2013 Asics Gel Lyte III. Sure, they may not have a catchy nickname. But that powder blue-grey paired with the (off-yellow) gumsole is just a sight to behold. We’re huge fans of their NB 1500 too, and their Converse Pro Leather two-pack collab. But, their GL IIIs are just out of this world.

Stash

Best: Stash x Nike Air Max 95
Runner-Up: Stash x Nike Air Force 1 High

If you ask any sneakerhead in the know, NYC-based graf artist Josh “Stash” Franklin has not one, but two designs that are widely considered to be the “best colorway ever” for their respective Nike silos. Now, when you’re talking about the Nike Air Force 1 and Air Max 95, that is a bold statement. That said, just look at ’em: the pics say it all. These are straight fire. While it’s difficult for us to choose a favorite, we lean toward the iconic Air Max 95 because of that speckled sole and the eye-popping gradient.

Taka Hayashi

Best: Taka Hayashi x Pendleton x Vans Vault Sk8-Hi
Runner-Up: Taka Hayashi x Vans J-Lay Mid

Taka Hayashi is one of the most unheralded sneaker designers in the game today. Sure, he gets steady work with Vans and, to be honest, we’re all better for it. But his designs are so under-appreciated in today’s limited-run, hype-driven sneaker game. And that’s too bad, because he just continues to put out straight fire. While we usually love one or two pairs from every seasonal drop, his 2010 team-up with Vans and Pendleton is legendary. If you’re familiar with Taka’s work, you know he loves the Sk8 Hi silo and, in our humble opinion, these are the greatest Sk8-His of all time.

UBIQ

Best: New Balance 1600 “Benjamin”
Runner-Up: Saucony Grid 9000 “Dirty Martini”

What we like about Philly’s UBIQ is that their collabs aren’t limited to the traditional Asics, Nike, New Balance collabs that have become so popular in recent years. They work with several smaller brands and design some really dope stuff that brings these brands into the consciousness of newer sneakerheads. However, while we do appreciate the variety we see from UBIQ, call us old-fashioned, but we think their best work was on 2013’s New Balance 1600 “Benjamin.” They’ve done some excellent work with the likes of Asics, Vans and Saucony as well. But these “Benjamin” 1600s got us feeling all patriotic over here.

Undefeated

Best: Air Jordan IV “UNDFTD”
Runner-Up: Undefeated x Bape x adidas ZX 5000

You already know what it is. While UNDFTD may stretch the term “independent” a little, the designs they’ve dropped are legendary. Not only do they put out crazy throw-downs with brands like Bape and adidas (seriously, those ZX 5000s and Campuses are CRAZY), but they’re the only shop on this list with that coveted Jordan collab. And, naturally, said Air Jordan collab takes the cake here. Not only is it Loch Ness Monster rare, but the oiled olive suede, black and pop of orange is a sight to behold. The UNDFTD IVs are a perfect sneaker.

West NYC

Best: West NYC x New Balance MT580 “Alpine Guide Edition”
Runner-Up: West NYC x Saucony Shadow 5000 “Cabin Fever”

When you talk about the best sneaker designers, West NYC usually isn’t in contention for a top slot. And we think that’s a shame. While they may not have a ton of drops on their resume, it’s quality over quantity with West. And while we think their “Cabin Fever” Sauconys are some of the best Saucony’s of all time, their amazing collab with NB is just as gorgeous. The “Alpine Guide” MT580 is one of our favorite New Balances over the past few years, and one every true collector should have in their stash.

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15 Designers/Labels We’d Like To See Get A Jordan Collab

West NYC

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan III

Without a doubt, Boston-based retailer Concepts is one of the premier sneaker shops in the world, and have dropped some of the best collabs anyone has ever seen (Kennedy’s anyone?). What better silo for the boys from Beantown to tackle than the iconic Air Jordan III? This could be a game-changer.

Riccardo Tisci

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan I

We love the recent Nike Air Force One collabs with Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci and think his style would look fantastic applied to the legendary Air Jordan I. The only things we don’t like about this idea would be the price tag, and the inevitable line ups.

Saint Laurent

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan I

Saint Laurent already puts out some pretty awesome high-top kicks of their own. And yeah, they may have ‘borrowed’ some inspiration from the Air Jordan I line. But ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ and all, right? That’s why we feel the most appropriate collab for Saint Laurent to get down with would be a “proper” Air Jordan I. You know they already like the silo!

Dover Street Market

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan II

The Dover Street Market x Nike Air Python was one of the best collabs of 2013, and certainly one of our favorites. We’d love to see that same simple, but luxurious style applied to the similarly sized Air Jordan II. We think it’d be a great way to continue the reemergence of what is currently an under appreciated AJ silo.

Concepts

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan III

Without a doubt, Boston-based retailer Concepts is one of the premier sneaker shops in the world, and have dropped some of the best collabs anyone has ever seen (Kennedy’s anyone?). What better silo for the boys from Beantown to tackle than the iconic Air Jordan III? This could be a game-changer.

A.P.C.

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan IV

French brand A.P.C. has steadily assembled an impressive resume of Nike collabs, particularly those excellent Air Max 1 drops. So, you know they love the trainers. Which is why we’d love to see their take on the most “trainer-esque” silhouette in the Jordan Brand stable, the Air Jordan IV. We can’t stop thinking about denim uppers and gumsoles.

Ronnie Fieg

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan IV

Can you imagine the hype behind an Air Jordan x Ronnie Fieg collab? So while the hype might scare a few folks off, let’s be real: Ronnie is one of the best in the game, and an AJ x RF collab would be out of this world. We’ve seen RF get down with plenty of varieties of silhouettes, but his work on low tops is pretty unmatchable. Which is why we’ve selected the mid-cut Air Jordan IV as the silo we’d most like to see Ronnie collab on. Can you imagine how sick a “Cove” IV would look? Fire.

HTM

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan V

Even if you might not actually own many of them, just think back for a second about all the amazing HTM designs that have graced your favorite Nike silhouettes. The combination of Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker may be the most powerful and significant union in the entire sneaker industry. Which is why we’d go crazy over an HTM Air Jordan V (as would pretty much every sneakerhead in the world).

Mastermind

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan V

While most of Japanese brand Mastermind’s recent collabs have been of the adidas, three-striped variety, just imagining a Mastermind x Air Jordan collab gets us hyped. Imagine their traditional, high-quality black leather murdering out the iconic Air Jordan V. Perhaps a skull logo somewhere in there…damn, these would go hard.

Kanye West

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan VI

Okay okay, so this one may be a bit far-fetched, considering his current sneaker deal. But, as you all know, sneaker deals do end. And one day Yeezus will be a free agent again, meaning he could (theoretically) get down with JB and Nike again. Love it or hate it, you have to admit; everything Kanye has put his artistic inspiration into thus far in his career is, at the very least, interesting and entertaining to watch. And, we’ve also seen ‘Ye’s affinity for the Air Jordan VI, which is why it’s the silo we’d most like to see him collab on. Pretty sure we just saw someone line up for these already.

DJ Clark Kent

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan VII

DJ Clark Kent’s collabs with Nike are among our very favorite, and the “112” colorway he’s established is spectacular. Now, we know that Clark is more than a one-trick pony, but we can’t stop thinking about how awesome it’d be to see the memorable “112” colorway on an Air Jordan. We think it’d work particularly well on the Air Jordan VII.

A Bathing Ape

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan VIII

BAPE is one of those brands that has collaborated on almost everything under the sun. Almost. What they haven’t hit up, yet anyway, is an Air Jordan. And we think the perfect fit for Bape’s unique style is the equally unique Air Jordan VIII. We know they’ve done camo eight ways from Sunday. But that iconic Bape camo would look amazing on the Jordan 8s lateral paneling in our minds.

Pigalle

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan VIII

Now, Pigalle has recently dropped some very, very dope Nike collabs, so we feel this one is actually not that far-fetched. Especially considering their recent take on the strapped-up Nike Air Raid. So, what better Air Jordan silhouette for Pigalle to go after than the Air Jordan VIII? This could be really dope.

Supreme

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan XI

You know we couldn’t do a collab feature and not include Supreme, the undisputed king of Nike collabs. What we appreciate the most about Supreme is their variety. Not only do they hit up mainstream silhouettes like the Foamposites, with wild style, but they also dip into the vault with the likes of old-school kicks like the Tennis Classics or Bruins. That said, we can think of no other silo that we’d love to see Supreme get down with than the iconic Air Jordan XI. We know, we think just mentioning this proposal broke the internet a little bit. The hype behind this collab could be one for the record books if it ever went down.

size?

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan XII

While UK retailer size? has had an unbelievable run with Nike collabs lately (not to mention excellent work with other brands), they’ve yet to score themselves an Air Jordan collab. And, while it may be a bit far fetched, we absolutely love size?’s style and penchant for old-school trainer colorways. We’d love to see their take on the Air Jordan XII. While there have been some awesome colorways of the XII, it hasn’t seen as many “new” colorways as some of the other AJ silos. These could be epic.

Mark McNairy

Proposed Silhouette: Air Jordan XIV

While Mark McNairy might not be the first name that comes to mind when dreaming up Air Jordan collaborations, we think it could be tremendously successful. Though he’s mostly known for his high-quality dress shoes, we’d love to see McNasty’s vibrantly-colored sole-swapping take place on something like the Air Jordan XIV. We feel like the 14s just have the perfect lines for McNairy’s trademark style.

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