What happens when you take six sneaker experts in a room to debate the best sneaker drop of 2016? A panel at Complex Con, which included the Quickstrike duo of DJ Clark Kent and Russ Bengtson, reseller Benjamin Kickz, designer Jon Buscemi, and rapper Wale tried to find out. Moderated by Complex's own Joe La Puma, the 45-minute discussion unsurprisingly couldn't pin it down to one single defining sneaker release. However, they did agree to a handful of finalists that included the Adidas Yeezy 350 Boost V2, Akronym x Nike Air Presto Mid, Pharrell x Adidas NMD "Human Race," and the black and red Air Jordan 1 2016 retro.
There were even some surprises. "The Air Jordan 31 shit on every other sneaker this year," DJ Clark Kent boldly declared during the heated argument while pulling out a never-before-seen Air Jordan 31 colorway.
The panel discussion went even farther than single releases and into the current state of Adidas versus the current state of Nike. Wale stopped mid conversation to do an impromptu round-of-applause style poll of the audience to see which brand was doing better. According to the volume of claps in the room, Adidas is winning.
"Kanye could sneeze on a sneaker and it would sell," Wale said. DJ Clark Kent rebutted by questioning whether or not it was really Kanye West actually designing the sneakers or just approving a team of designers.
Sneaker ambassadors like Kanye were a topic during the talk as well. The panelists praised Drake for what the kind of attention the artist is bringing to Jordan Brand, but unanimously refused to put any of his OVO Air Jordan collaborations on the list. "OVO Jordans are just merch," Buscemi said.
The only panelist who was undecided about which sneaker was the best of 2016 was Wale. The rapper and lifetime sneakerhead likened choosing a sneaker to picking his favorite child.
"I don't even make Complex lists," Wale joked. "That's why I always end up calling and shooting shit up."