Yes, we’re only two weeks into January and already talking about the biggest sneakers of the year. That’s not to say Complex is ready to pick (extremely preemptively) which 2022 shoes are the best and most impactful yet – but we’re ready to put the following hellish second year of 2021 firmly in the past and wait. with optimism and vigor. What could go wrong, right?
In the end, a lot. Sneaker release dates are constantly changing right now, with pairs getting pushed back or disappearing altogether. That means we don’t have confirmation that all of these shoes will drop in 2022, or that they will in a timely manner, but given the information that’s public right now, these are what we believe are currently the more expected shoes of the year.
Like most of our lists, this one involved a lot of discussion and some restrictions to tame the entries. For one, we’ve kept the shoe selections we’ve actually seen pictures of – so while we know for sure that Joe Freshgoods is working on another New Balance and we’re generally fans of the important work he’s doing with the brand, his shoe doesn’t belong here yet. Additionally, we’ve tried to limit high-profile collaborator entries to a single shoe, which means that Travis Scott is represented as a body of work, even though he has several upcoming Nike projects. And we tried to include not just the niche, cool guy sneakers, but the broader cool guy sneakers, the ones that move serious units beyond the pet collaborations we enjoy. These are the most anticipated sneakers of 2021.