As I sit and think on this past year, I am reminded of… nahhh, forget that. 2013 killed any notions I had about shoe companies being lackadaisical in design and innovation. It didn’t matter where you looked or what you wore, chances are you put something new – design, idea, or technology – on your feet. What was the best of the best? I have some ideas…
Comeback Of The Year: I would love to say D Rose or Kobe but that just seems cruel right now. And besides, we deal with shoes, not the wearer, so that made no sense at all. Looking at all spectrums of the sneaker world, I would have to say Reebok had a MAJOR comeback, just not in performance. Their retro lines killed all other brands this year, but more on that later.
For performance, I have to go with Under Armour, specifically the Anatomix Spawn. After the complete circus the basketball line turned into last year (the only shoe you can remember is the Charge, and not because it was good), things looked real dark, especially after the way the company blew us away the two years before that. Well, with the Anatomix, I feel they got back to real design – fit, cushioning, durability, and color ways were all on point and above most other offerings. And to bring all of that together at the price point they did was a major step. Signing Steph puts them back in the game with the top athletes as well. Now, let’s see what they do with it.
Most Fun: This was a tough one – the hardest category I have to pick. On one hand, the tried and true brands came with some real heat and had some serious performers. On the other, the lesser-known brands also brought a level of production up to speed with any of the Big Three shoes. For this one, I rank them –
And, number one most surprising shoe for me this year - PEAK Team Lightning TP9. If you haven’t tried this shoe, you are missing out. Cushioning, quality, durability, traction – one of the top shoes in almost every category and just a fun, fast shoe on the court. Really reminds me of the Jordan CP3 series – a little heavier than the CP3.VI, but it is a shoe you just lace up and run in.