We are in the final week of 2016 and our next feature for #KoFBestOf2016 takes a look at the Top 10 Air Jordans that dropped this year. Unlike the typical hypebeast who might just pick the usual suspects and call it a day, we uh, picked the usual suspects (and a few surprises and non-retros) and called it a day.

Air Jordan 12 Wings

Nike

Even without the gold wings that become visible after a few wears (or a few viscous rubdowns), the Air Jordan 12 Wings cracks the top 10 by taking a winning formula (the Air Jordan 12 Playoffs) and adding some gold accents to it. Originally believed to be a Macklemore PE, proceeds from the sale benefited the WINGS charity that was initiated by Jordan Brand to help foster creativity and empowerment to children and schools around the world.

Air Jordan 1 Reverse Shattered Backboard

Nike

How do you top a Jordan that many consider to be the best new retro to come out in many years? By dropping a sequel that doesn’t stray far from what makes it great. While 2015’s Air Jordan 1 Shattered Backboard borrows elements from a few classics like the Black Toe and Royal pairs, the Alternate edition that came out this year uses the iconic Chicago colorway as an inspiration. What was once red is now orange and with that you’ve the makings of another hit. While it didn’t capture the hearts and minds of the sneaker community like the original, this will be one release that won’t be soon forgotten.

Just Don x Air Jordan 2 Beach

Nike

All the credit in the world goes to Don C for unlocking the full potential of the Air Jordan 2. This was the year when we saw Jordan Brand really step up their Premium/Pinnacle initiative, releasing classic Jordan models and remixing them with luxury materials, not to mention luxury price points, that look more at home at a Bloomingdale’s than a Foot Locker. While some Jordans looked so out of place it was kind of embarrassing, it was the Air Jordan 2 – a shoe that was designed with luxury in mind – that set the bar high with two collabs with from the Chicago native. It was so high that no other PRM retro made the list.

Air Jordan XXX Cosmos

English Sole

To show you how far we’ve come in a single year, it was back in January that we were just talking about the Air Jordan XXX. It hasn’t even been a full cycle since and we’re already through a handful of Air Jordan XXX1 releases. The consensus among those who attended the launch of the XXX was that despite the tech benefits, the shoe’s design felt like it was rushed through the process in order to get it out the door and make way for the XXX1. One release of the XXX that shouldn’t be forgotten is the Cosmos colorway, which was worn by Russell Westbrook during the 2016 NBA All-Star Game and dropped in obscenely limited numbers as part of Jordan Brand’s Quai 54 Collection.

Air Jordan XXX1 Black Cat

Nike

I can’t stand the Jumpman on the XXX1. If the design document of the XXX1’s mission was to reboot the franchise and start from the Air Jordan 1 again, then that shoe should not have the Jumpman on it. I felt that giant MJ silhouette actually detracted from the shoe and the Wings logo should have more prominence. The PRM that was first revealed by DJ Clark Kent actually was the answer to my sneaker prayers as we not only got a premium take with the suede and leather upper but it got rid of the Jumpman and relegated it to the sockliner and back tongue tab.

Air Jordan 3 True Blue

Kicks On Fire

Right now, you can go online or walk into any big box retailer and come away with a pair of the Air Jordan 3 True Blue without zero hassle. That shouldn’t sound crazy at all, but the fact that one of the most beloved Jordan silhouettes of all time in one of its most popular colorways and was brought back as close to the OG standard (we all know a true 1:1 remake is impossible or way too cost prohibitive) is still available a month after it came out is a true sign that things really have changed for Jordan Brand and their stature in the community. Now it will be really interesting to see where it goes once the price drops. It might be time to call a red alert in Beaverton if you can still buy True Blues for less than $160.

Air Jordan 1 Banned

Nike

This should always be the de facto #1, but the colorways comes out so often that it just isn’t fair to the rest of the field, so it lands safely at the #4 position where we don’t really need to rehash everything that’s so great about this shoe and how it launched a revolutio… ah, shut up already, Juan.

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam

Nike

How crazy is it that we now live in a world where a straight-up trade between this year’s Air Jordan 11, a “Space Jam” release, and 2013’s maligned Gamma Blue colorway would be unfair for the side that owns the Gamma Blue? That’s a sign of a few things: just how many 2016 Space Jams there are out in the wild, the backlash from the design of the shoe and the apathy from retros in general. But should the aftermarket value discourage you from copping a pair? Hell no, because while this isn’t the actual Space Jam sneaker that Michael Jordan wore in the movie, it is the PE that he wore when he first came back to the NBA. The cut on the patent leather overlay might be weird to some, but the “45” on the heel makes it all worthwhile.

Air Jordan Kobe Pack

No, the Air Jordan Kobe Pack did not get a retail release in 2016 (we’re still hoping for 2017 though…), but enough friends and family and influencers received the pack that it would be foolish for us to ignore how great the pack really was. The Air Jordan 3 and 8 were done up in the same style and colors as the PEs that Kobe Bryant received during his epic season of sneaker free agency and those were lucky enough to be seeded the pack also came away with an epic Jordan Brand x Kobe box that makes me cry every time I see it. I have a thing for boxes, don’t judge…

Air Jordan 12 Flu Game

Kicks On Fire

Jordan Brand actually had the nerve to put together a pop-up shop for the release of the Flu Game 12s in Salt Lake City. But then again, if some unscrupulous pizza delivery guys messed with my meal and gave me food poisoning the night before a big game (allegedly), I would be petty as hell too and open a pop-up shop highlighting one of my greatest achievements in the city where it happened. Not only that, I would release the shoe that I wore on that day and try to make it as close to the original as possible without the stupid emojis or suede uppers so that those kids who saw me play the game of my (literal) life can something to remember it by. And that level of competitiveness that borders on insane levels of pettiness is why we had to name the Air Jordan 12 Flu Game the best Jordan retro of the year. #TeamPetty

The post #KoFBestOf2016: Top 10 Air Jordans appeared first on KicksOnFire.com.

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