When two or more people come together, they can often come up with better ideas than they would on their own. That’s the heart of collaboration and why it’s a pivotal part of the footwear industry. As Nike CEO Mark Parker said earlier this year, “Mutual learning is absolutely critical to any successful partnership.” That way of thinking throughout the industry is one reason why there's a seemingly never-ending supply of collaborations between retailers, clothing labels, recording artists, and sneaker brands.

The results born from these connections are, hopefully, better than what either could have created by themselves, with archival inspiration, back stories or elements from each side incorporated into the design. Whether it’s a sneaker boutique including a detail that embodies their business or a rapper's influence that reflects their lyrics, the best shoes are a combination of both parties’ personalities.

This doesn’t mean that all sneaker collaborations are good. A lot are awful, and 2015 saw more collabs than most would hope for. But, all of that makes the good sneaker projects stand out more and the best collaborations get lauded, easily selling out at their respective retailers. A good year for collaborations makes choosing the best shoes even more difficult. The shoes we discussed had better materials, tighter colorways, and were more exclusive than their general-release counterparts. The hardest part was ranking them. Here are The 20 Best Sneaker Collaborations of 2015.

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