Normally, I’m the one to set up on some high horse and lecture sneakerheads about all the brands they missed out on. But, this time around, I’m the one guilty of sleeping on a few releases. As such, this is a good chance to stray away from the usual Best of 2016 sort of list. That’s way too difficult for me to narrow down anyway.
So, to keep from droning on too much, I’ve narrowed it down to two specific releases from brands that I hadn’t really even heard of before 2016. The entire legitimacy of my claim to “dude who is all about shoes” is on the line.
Up first is Karhu. Honestly, I have a feeling that my increased awareness of this brand is mostly due to the fact that I just happen to be closer to Europe now. Either way, it’s downright criminal to have let the Finnish sneaker brand slip under my radar. A particularly loud wake up call was the collaborative effort with Footpatrol on the Karhu Fusion 2.0.
For lack of a better summary, this thing’s gorgeous. Now, this specific project was interesting in terms of being a call to notice. Normally, I associate Footpatrol with some high quality work. Their ‘Hotstepper’ Reebok Ventilator is one of my favorite versions of the Reebok model. But, they seem to have kind of called it in for their 2016 Karhu project.
The highlights of this project are the Fusion 2.0’s suede and nubuck upper. Well, that material combination is relatively standard with the 2.0. We see the same sort of motif on the Mt. Saana, Mt. Pallas, and Villapaita packs. And that’s what struck me. That combo of fantastic materials and beautiful shape is something that comes standard on the Fusion 2.0 (no hard feelings, Footpatrol. Still a dope a colorway!)
The other brand I definitely slept on was Brooks. Known for their competent running sneakers, I’d always kept it moving simply because they looked like the perfect companion to a rigorous power walk. Then, I stumbled across their Heritage section, which includes the Brooks Regent. That led me further down the rabbit hole of low-key great collabs, including one with BAIT. My favorite piece so far has to be the special release together with Pink+Dolphin. Sure, I’m a sucker for all things pastel. But, I fall just as easily for great stories and clean shapes, both of which this wood block art inspired model boasts.
In a year when we’ve seen just as many hyped releases as usual, I felt like my taste was sort of zoned in. Don’t get me wrong. I still wish I could have snagged 2016’s Flu Game 12’s or just about any NMD model. There’s a little hype beast in all of us. But, finding out about gems such as the Fusion 2.0 and Regent made clear for me what it is I prefer. I am super into suede, nuts about nubuck, and clearly smitten over clean silhouettes.
Even if they’re not extremely popular at the moment, these brands and sneakers stuck out to me. They also reminded me that this sneaker nonsense we obsess over is all about what you like to see on your feet, even if you’re just gonna throw them on for a rigorous power walk.
Happy holidays, folks!