Year: 2011

The decade's focus on retrospective sneakers seemed to prove harmful in terms of progression, but there were slim pickings in terms of future classics. Did we consumers and fans take our eyes off the ball, or were the brands just making ugly shoes? Nike Free's 2004 debut with the original 5.0 and Free Trails (contenders for this rundown) was strong, but the Free Run+ 2 is the finest Free moment to date. The first iteration was incredible, but the sequel's tendon-like cutaways, asymmetric lacing and flex was a necessity. In a world where pre-2000 shoes rule the streets, to see these on feet of those in the know from city to city was a sign that things were evolving and that technical runners are the connoisseurs' choice.