The practice of selling sneakers using celebrities and athletes isn’t likely to die out any time soon, even as the trend of brand collaborations continued to persist in 2017. As long as people look up to athletes and musicians, whether for their achievements or their style, we’re going to want to wear signature sneakers.
But a sneaker is not great by virtue of the name it bears, and some signature models are better than others. Before the year ends, check out whose shoes ruled in 2017:
1) LeBron James
This year marked King James’ fifteenth signature model from Nike. Among the brand’s current roster of signature athletes, he has the most, not counting Michael Jordan, who technically has his own separate brand. The 15 in its “Ash” colorway is an especially beautiful sneaker—a huge improvement from James’ Transformers-like signature sneakers from years before. The LeBron Soldier, on the other hand, is as handsome and strapping as ever.
Starts at: P9,295
2) Kyrie Irving
The most recently revealed Nike Kyrie 4 took the sleek design of the 3 and imbued it with some cues from the 1, including that sawtooth pattern on the sole. Irving’s first two signature sneakers with Nike were flops in terms of design, but it looks like Uncle Drew finally hit his stride.
Starts at: P6,295
3) Kobe Bryant
The Mamba is done with the NBA and has even recently retired his jersey, but the Mentality remains alive in the Kobe AD. The AD launched last year, shortly after his retirement, but returned this year in great colorways, and even as a mid. The ‘Rise’ colorway was the sneaker of choice for UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena when he scooped up the championship earlier this year.
Starts at: P8,095
4) Paul George
Although the Nike PG1 was unveiled last year, Paul George’s first signature sneaker only dropped in March of 2017. It has since become one of the more popular low-top ball shoes this year, and is distinct for its mid-vamp strap.
Starts at: P5,795
The Crazy Explosive really changed things for Adidas’ basketball division when it launched last year, and the same design principles have since carried over into the brand’s other models. Among those is the Dame 4—a lightweight, breathable low-top that has the same curvy, scaly features as the Crazy Explosive. It’s a very far cry from the Dame 3, and are easily the best signature basketball sneakers from Adidas this year (James Harden’s last models were released in 2016, and the D Rose 8 looks like something out of the mid-2000s).
Starts at: P5,995
Steph has been the butt of several signature sneaker jokes in the past, but Under Armour has finally made up for it with the best Curry model yet: the UA Curry 4, which released in October of 2017. Tall, tight, sleek, and simple—these sneakers put UA back on the map.
Starts at: P7,995
If you have higher than P10k budget, you might want to check out these other iconic kicks:
7) Lonzo Ball
Let’s be clear: the Zo2 is an ugly sneaker at best, and a knock-off at worst. But how could we discuss the year in signature sneaks without mentioning Big Baller Brand, and how Lonzo’s dad, LaVar Ball, tried his damndest to cash in on his own kid. The Zo2 retailed for $500—ridiculous, for a neophyte brand—and looked suspiciously like it copied elements of the Nike Kobe 11 and Adidas Boost.
Starts at: around P25,000
8) Kanye West
By far the most culturally significant signature sneaker of 2017 belongs to Kanye West (of course), whose Yeezys were still very hot topics over the course of the year. The Yeezy Boost 700, also known as the Yeezy Runner, debuted this year, to much fanfare. It also went on to define the “ugly sneaker” trend that swept the fashion world off its heels by the middle of 2017.
Starts at: around P15,600
9) Pharrell Williams
Skateboard P has had a lot of collaborations with Adidas in the past, but most of those were just colorways of existing sneakers. Last year, he finally got his own model: the Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which saw a lot of covetable colorways in 2017 (including a Chanel collaboration). Also, Williams released another signature model this year: the Adidas Originals Tennis Hu.
Starts at: around P13,000
10) Alexander Wang
Designer collaborations are a dime a dozen these days, but among all the high-fashion personalities who work with streetwear, only Alexander Wang has his own signature sneakers. Collaborating with Adidas Originals, Wang came up with several new silhouettes, including the AW BBall, the AW Skate, and the AW Run. Obviously, all of those are fashion-first sneakers, and not performance-oriented, but their very existence is a cool new first for 2017.
Starts at: P13,295