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Ucasta's Top 10 Sneaker Releases of 2011

Disclaimer from Aaron (Ucasta) – "My list is only a reflection of my personal taste and opinion. It is not intended to represent any public attitude nor that of Jakey of jwdanklefs."

10. Nike Air Flow – I was surprised when the Swoosh decided to bring these back out. Every time I look at a pair of Prestos or Lunars, I can’t help but think about the Air Flows. It was a pair that was way ahead of its time. I may need a pair in my possession real soon.

9. Ronnie Fieg for David Z - Asics Gel Lyte III - Mint Leafs – I remember some of Ronnie’s earlier work with David Z: the multi colored GL IIIs that were way too eccentric for my personal taste. Mr. Fieg’s last collaboration with David Z was a memorable one. The GL III is another model I have to credit my close friend Shawn Rhoder for helping me appreciate. The split tongue is quite unconventional as it is esthetically pleasing. A Gel Lyte is a must for any fan of running silhouettes.

8. Nike Foamposite One Dark Royal – There are so many top notch models from the Nike’s 90s basketball catalog. Anyone who knows about my personal collection realizes very quickly that Penny Hardaway’s signatures are in constant rotation. Despite all the colorways that have come out, this is the only one I will ever need in my closet.

7. Adidas EQT running support – As my taste in sneakers has matured, I seem to find myself picking up more and more pairs of older running models. I have to credit the likes of my personal sneaker mentors (Fahad Mahali, Fred, and Shawn Rhoder) for exposing me to life beyond the swoosh several years ago. I am desperately seeking the OG white/green/lead colorway of these, size 9.5 anyone?

6. Jordan XI "Concord" Retro – As I have told those in my inner circle, this pair can come out every year and it would cause all the ruckus it did the morning of December 23, 2011. Nothing quite compares to this particular XI release. Basketball fans, sneaker enthusiasts, and people who could care less about Jordan and/or sneakers all together will recognize this Tinker Hatfield designed classic. The Jordan XI is the reason why retros moved from Wednesday morning to Saturday morning release. Bet you youngsters didn’t know that…

5. NB Concepts 999 – the 999 is nowhere near the top of my list of favorite NB models, but hats off to Concepts in Cambridge for a great combination colors, materials, and inspiration. I am more of a Bobby Kennedy fan myself; maybe I can do that colorway?

4. Run DMC Adidas Superstar 80s – There have been several Run DMC tributes the three stripes have produced over the last 6-7 years, and each one has been that much better than the last. The gold chain lace locks and 1986 stitching on the heels are a nice touch as well.

3. Air Mag - First of all, I must admit I am not the biggest fan of this particular pair. The Air Mag looks just as wild as it was back then. However, there are a couple of major reasons why it made it near the top of the list. Love it or hate it, the movie prop turned sneaker classic will always be remembered for that unforgettable scene in the year 2015 from BTTF II. As with most of the Swoosh's back catalog, it was bound to release as a retro eventually due to the tremendous demand. When all the viral teaser videos released, we all knew it was just a matter of time when the Air Mags would surface. The rest is history. The photos and personal narratives from the perspectives of those invited to the Air Mag preview were nothing short of incredible. The Swoosh took all the hype and demand these shoes would bring along and turned it into a perfect opportunity to give back via the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

2. Jordan III White/Cements – No surprise here. A timeless silhouette best known for taking off from the free throw line in 1988 will never get old to me, no matter how many people line up for them.

1. Ronnie Fieg for Kith - Asics Gel Lyte III - Salmon Toes – 2011 was the spotlight year for the Gel Lyte III (finally). Mr. Fieg was wise in shelving this colorway until the opening of his Brooklyn based shop. Everything about this pair screams my personal taste: simple colorway and quality materials on my favorite Asics silhouette. Thanks to the homie Chad for the assist on these.

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