True sneakerheads would not give a damn about how hyped a sneaker is, or even how exclusive it is. In fact, all they care about is whether or not they think the sneaker is fire and if it suits their tastes. That being said, we’ve compiled a list of the fifteen most underrated sneakers that you can buy right now.
1. Nike Air Force 1
The Air Force 1 (or AF1 or AF-1) was never originally called the Air Force. The name is a reference to Air Force One, the plane that carries the President of the United States. The shoes are sold in 5 different styles, low, mid, superlow, high and super high. The mid comes with a connected strap.
The high-top Air Force 1s come with a velcro strap; the mid-top strap is secured to the shoe while the high-top’s strap is movable and removable on some versions. Although the shoe comes in different colors and color schemes, the most common Air Force 1s sold are solid white (also referred to as “white on white”), the second most common being solid black (“black on black”).
2. Nike Air Foamposites 1
Originally released in 1997, Nike Basketball debuted its Foamposite technology in the form of two models — the Nike Air Foamposite One and Air Foamposite Pro. Penny Hardaway debuted the One in the only original colorway to release, which also featured his 1CENT logo. The Pros featured an added jewel Swoosh on the sides and no Penny branding to help set to two apart. After the Foamposite Pro became the first of the two to retro, it took quite some time for the Foamposite One to make its return —an idea hard to fathom today.
3. Air Jordan 7
The Air Jordan VII was the shoe worn by MJ on his way to becoming a international icon. Not only did he repeat as a NBA champion, Finals MVP and MVP during the regular season, he also led the USA to a gold medal at the 1992 summer games in Barcelona.
As MJ’s prominence rose, the AJ VII steered the Air Jordan line in a new direction. In an effort to distinguish Air Jordan from Nike as a whole, the shoe saw two daring omissions by design — exterior Nike branding and a visible Air window. Foreshadowing even bigger changes to come, the Air Jordan line now began to be marketed separately from Nike Basketball.
4. Air Jordan 5
In his 1989 — 1990 season, it was clear that MJ was better than ever. Setting a points per game personal record, he drained 69 points against Cleveland. He hit 92 three-pointers, compared to only 68 in all prior seasons combined. Every aspect of MJ’s game was flawless, but it was his dogfight-like flight that separated him from every other player on the planet.
Tinker Hatfield took inspiration from Jordan’s biting style and, likening it to an American WWII fighter plane, he designed the Air Jordan V with shark-tooth shapes on the midsole. Paired with a clear outsole, the shoe a imbued a ferocity reminiscent of its relentless muse.
5. Nike LeBron 11
The Nike LeBron 11 made its debut in October of 2013. They feature Nike Hyperposite technology and supportive dynamic Flywire technology in a new way. While they will mainly go down in history as the signature shoe LeBron James decided not to wear, the LeBron 11 still held up its end from a fan standpoint. Nine colorways dropped in 2013, which included numerous themed pairs such as the ‘Forging Iron,’ ‘Terracotta Warrior, ‘King’s Pride,’ and ‘X-Mas’ editions.
2014 continued to ride the wave of the Nike LeBron 11 as over thirty different colorways were released. They even came in a few different versions, including the Elite, Elite SE, Low and Low SE. Following in the footsteps of the LeBron X, the 11 also came in a few ‘EXT’ editions such as suede and denim. Nike also created a unique ‘2K14’ edition that people needed a code to purchase the sneakers, in-game playing NBA 2K14 on either Playstation 4 or X-Box One. They were limited to 2, 014 pairs and once all pairs were claimed, that was it, they were not sold at a later date.
But, arguably the most popular LeBron 11 was the ‘What The’ edition. This version took inspiration from previous LeBron signature shoes, using elements, colors and designs from GR’s to PE’s. While Nike prepares to unveil the LeBron 12, we can say goodbye to the final signature shoe LeBron James wore in South Beach. But before we put them in the vault, let’s take one last look at the history of the Nike LeBron 11 from its first release up to the most recent below.
6. Nike LeBron 10
The Nike LeBron X was the tenth signature sneaker for LeBron James. Released from 2012-13, they were designed by Jason Petrie. They feature one-piece Hyperfuse upper with Flywire, an asymmetrical collar and diamond inspired detailing. Other features include a Phylon midsole, full-length visible Zoom Air cushioning and a solid rubber outsole.
7. Jordan Melo 8
The Melo M8 was released as soon as Carmelo joined forces with the New York Knicks. An initial colorway was inspired by the team’s colors. The shoe comes packed with visible Max Air in the heel and Zoom Air installed in the forefront for high performance. Flywire technology can be found on the upper along with the Jumpman logo and patent leather wrapped around it. The shoe stands as one of the best models in Carmelo’s signature line.
8. Air Jordan 10
Designed while Jordan was away from the game, the Air Jordan X featured clean lines and lateral stripes on the soles that paid tribute to each of his 10 early career milestones. Little did anyone know, MJ was eager to take care of some unfinished business. He would return during the 1994–95 season in time to play in the AJ X, with his temporary number — 45 — emblazoned on its side.
The Air Jordan X wasn’t solely built as a tribute to its eponymous legend. Just like the other nine shoes in the series, its superior performance translated to the court, and MJ proved it with his 55-point onslaught in his first game back in New York City on March 18th in 1995, the infamous “double nickel” game.
9. Air Jordan 12
Jordan’s 1996–97 season is one for the history books. In Game 5 of The Finals, MJ put on a legendary performance, scoring 38 points, grabbing seven rebounds and handing out five assists while suffering a 103-degree temperature against the Utah Jazz. MJ would ultimately lead his team to yet another title.
Similar to MJ’s enduring drive, the technology and construction of the Air Jordan XII helped solidify it as one of the most durable Air Jordan’s of all time. And like Michael’s own style, the design of the shoe communicated a bold and striking elegance.
10. Nike KD 6
Released in June 2014, the Nike KD 6 ‘What The KD’ features 35 graphics and colors from past KD 6 colorways with cement speckled midsoles, and green and blue outsoles.