Yes, we are just two weeks into January and already talking about the biggest sneakers of the year. That’s not to say that Complex is already ready to (extremely preemptively) select which shoes from 2022 are the best and most impactful––but we are ready to put the second subsequent hell year of 2021 firmly in the past and look forward with optimism and vigor. What could possibly go wrong, right?
As it turns out, a lot. Sneaker release dates are in constant flux right now, with pairs getting pushed back or disappearing outright. This means that we don’t have confirmation that all these shoes are going to drop in 2022, or that they will do so in a remotely timely fashion, but given the information that’s public right now, these are what we believe are currently the most anticipated shoes of the year.
Like most of our lists, this one involved ample arguing and a few restrictions to tame the entries. For one, we kept the selections to shoes that we’ve actually seen images of—so while we know for certain that Joe Freshgoods is working on another New Balance and we are generally fans of the important work he’s doing with the brand, his shoe doesn’t have a spot here just yet. Also, we tried to limit big name collaborators’ entries to a single shoe, meaning Travis Scott is represented as one body of work, even though he has multiple Nike projects coming. And we tried to include not just the niche, cool guy sneakers, but the more broad cool guy sneakers, the ones that move serious units beyond the pet collaborations we’ve come to enjoy. These are the most anticipated sneakers of 2021.