Footwear

The Hypebae Best: The Top Sneakers, Collaborations and Footwear of 2023

From GANNI x New Balance to Sandy Liang x Salomon, these are the hottest footwear drops of the year.

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The Hypebae Best: The Top Sneakers, Collaborations and Footwear of 2023

From GANNI x New Balance to Sandy Liang x Salomon, these are the hottest footwear drops of the year.

This year we’ve seen a paramount shift in female representation for the sneaker industry. We’re kicking “Pink it and shrink it” to the curb and stepping into an era of thoughtful silhouettes, women creative directors and collaborations with emerging female designers. To celebrate, we’re back with our end-of-year series, Hypebae Best, to unveil our favorite sneakers and footwear of 2023.

To kick it off,  Cecilie Bahnsen‘s multiple collaborations with ASICS introduced us to her ultra feminine universe, while Sandy Liang and Salomon proved to be the perfect pairing. The partnership between Martine Rose and Nike forged an industry disrupting silhouette in 2022 and the team was back this year with bolder colorways that became an instant hit. Honorable mentions in sneaker collaborations also include GANNI and New Balance as well as Wales Bonner and adidas’ Sambas which were named the biggest shoe of the year according to Lyst.

The characterization of footwear caught our eyes – and feet – this year with offerings such as JW Anderson and Wellipets’ Clogs, MSCHF’s Big Red Boots and AVAVAV x YUME YUME’s “Finger Flops,” while collaborations between Jorja Smith and Clarks Originals, Stüssy and Birkenstock and Feng Chen Wang and Crocs kept us on our toes. Lastly, we can’t forget the boots that broke the internet, the Maison Margiela Tabi – for reasons no one had on their 2023 bingo card.

Read on to see the best footwear releases this year, as chosen by our editors, and while you’re here check out our favorite fashion moments of 2023.

SNEAKER COLLABORATIONS

Wales Bonner x adidas Samba

While Wales Bonner and adidas aren’t new to collaborative design, this year they were cemented as a cult-loved duo with multiple adidas Samba releases. Though fall-toned colorways including the “Fox Brown/Sandy Beige/Lucky Blue” became quick cops, the standout for 2023 was the silver chrome hue adorned with white lace lateral stripes and exposed stitching.

The Wales Bonner x adidas Samba in silver is available from select resale platforms like StockX, starting at $350 USD.

Cecilie Bahnsen x ASICS GEL GT-2160

Cecilie Bahnsen and ASICS unveiled a myriad of collaborations this year but the one that took the gold is the metalic silver GEL GT-2160. The women’s silhouette offers both a velcro strap as well as a thin two-eyelet lace setup and blends transparent floral panels with dainty embellishments.

While the shoe is now sold out on both brand’s websites, the Cecilie Bahnsen x ASICS GEL GT-2160 can be found on resalers such as Depop, starting at $290 USD.

Sandy Liang x Salomon XT-6 Expanse

Securing Hypebeast’s Womenswear Brand Of The Year award, Sandy Liang has become the it-girl uniform, completed by her partnership with Salomon which unveiled a new Salomon RX Moc 3.0 and XT-6 Expanse. The collaborative XT-6 Expanse comes in a “Cradle Pink/Jolly Green/Black” colorway and is inspired by Liang’s memories growing up in the ’90s.

The Sandy Liang x Salomon XT-6 Expanse is available from platforms like Farfetch, starting at $567 USD.

GANNI x New Balance 1906R

Arriving as a three-part collection, GANNI and New Balance unveiled the 1906R in two colorways of “Egret” and “Blazing Yellow.” Featuring mesh uppers and rope laces, the running shoe is perfectly reimagined for the style industries of today inspired by early ’00s athleisure.

The GANNI x New Balance 1906R is available from the brand’s website, priced at $170 USD.

Martine Rose x Nike Shox Mule MR4

Martine Rose and Nike reimagined their collaborative Shox Mule MR4 this year in “Safety Orange” and, our favorite, ”Scuba Blue.” Featuring jet black healed soles and blue and purple gradient uppers, the shoe became an immediate fashion staple. Our chirstmas wish? More colorways for 2024!

The Martine Rose x Nike Shox Mule MR4 is available on resale sites, starting at $322 USD.

FLATS AND MULES

Jorja Smith x Clarks Originals “Desert Nomad” Mule

Clarks Originals joined forces with British singer-songwriter Jorja Smith for the release of the new “Desert Nomad” Mule silhouette. Featuring a sustainable suede upper and recycled laces, the shoe recreates the brand’s “Desert Nomad” into a mule fit for any season.

The Jorja Smith x Clarks Originals “Desert Nomad” Mule is available via the brand website, priced at $190 USD.

Blumarine x SUICOKE “Moto” Slides

Calling all Y2K natives — Italian brand Blumarine teamed up with Japanese label SUICOKE to unveil the “Moto” Slides. While a flat version is available, the wedge gave the collaboration the extra lift needed to get into our “Best Of 2023” list. The pink hued sandal features a soft satin upper, a SUICOKE EVA antibacterial outsole and rhinestone embellishments on the straps.

Priced at $550 USD, the “Moto” slides are available on Blumarine’s website.

AVAVAV x YUME YUME “Finger Flop”

Not one to shy away from the unexpected, AVAVAV partnered with Amsterdam-based brand YUME YUME on a fantastical new sandal dubbed the “Finger Flop” – which takes inspiration from YUME YUME’s “Suki” sandal. The four-fingered design comes in a variety of hues including balck, red and beige with a thick thonged strap.

Priced between $95-$190 USD, the collaborative sandal is available via YUME YUME and AVAVAV websites.

Stüssy x Birkenstock “Solana” Slide

After success from its collaborations with TEKLA, Clarks Originals, Converse and more, Stüssy teamed up with the OGs in comfort, Birkenstock, to unveil a new silhouette called the “Solana.” Inspired by Birkenstock’s “Kyoto” shoe, the slip-on arrives in three colorways including “Bone,” “Caramel” and “Washed Green” while boasting embossed Stüssy branding.

The new Stüssy x Birkenstock collaboration is priced at $195 USD and available on the brand’s website.

JW Anderson x Wellipets Clogs

Arriving fresh off of the hype of its 2022 Pigeon Clutch Bag, JW Anderson teamed up with British brand Wellipets to bring life to adorable, frog-faced clogs. First teased at Milan Fashion Week, the recycled-rubber silhouette comes in green, yellow and blue hues and with an Italian suede insole.

The clog is available from brand’s website and in-store at select JW Anderson locations, priced at $510 USD.

BOOTS AND HEELS

Ancuta Sarca “Lithium” Ankle Strap Sandal

Between her multiple upcycled clogs, heels and boots, Ancuta Sarca inarguably deserves her own “Best Of 2023” list. But, after tough deliberation, we have to give flowers to the “Lithium” Ankle Strap Sandal. The heel beautifully blends chrome metallics with soft white mesh while the square toe and silver laces make the shoe standout from any crowd.

The “Lithium” Ankle Strap Sandal is sold out on the brand website but you can opt for its sister silhouette, the “Lithium” Sandal, priced at $769 USD.

MSCHF Big Red Boots

MSCHF stayed true to it’s name with the internet breaking release of its Big Red Boots. Since the launch, new colorways and spinoffs have been revealed with the likes of Paris Hilton and Crocs taking part in the comedically large silhouette.

MSCHF’s Big Red Boots sold out immediately on its website but can be found on resale sites, starting at $350 USD.

Feng Chen Wang x Crocs “Echo” and “Siren” Clogs

Chinese designer Feng Chen Wang unveiled some star-studded team ups this year – from UGG to Nike – but it’s collaboration with Crocs has to take the cake. The duo released a two-piece, unisex collection comprising the “Siren” and “Echo” Clogs in jet black hues. While the “Echo” is designed with a removable ankle cuff the “Siren” takes it a step further with a three-in-one silhouette converting between a heeled clog, knee-length boot and biker boot.

The Crocs x Feng Chen Wang boots are available from select resale sites, starting at approximately $175 USD.

Maison Margiela Tabi Western Boots

Maison Margiela Tabis had a big year – with the viral Tabi Swiper story helping them become a revived fashion IT-item. While we love Tabi’s in all shapes and sizes, our favorite silhouette of the year has to go to the Western Boot. The shoe is crafted with black calf leather, an almond shaped Tabi toe and an fun-loving, slouchy body.

The Tabi Western Boots are priced at $1,890 USD over at Maison Margiela’s website.

Palace x UGG Boot “Chestnut”

While London-based label Palace and UGG collaborated on a festive “Tasman” Slipper this year, – we can’t get over their first collaboration, a fur-lined classic arriving in “Chesnut” and “Black” colorways with lighting bolt adornments. The boot, which is one of UGG’s most popular products, was given a streetwear facelift with Palace’s electric graphics and bold logo placement on the back.

While these boots are tricky to come by online, you can find them on select resale sites like StockX, starting at $500 USD.

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