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My Top 5 Sneakers of 2017 – Noah Goldowitz

My Top 5 Sneakers of 2017 Noah Goldowitz

Editor’s Note: We now have an updated list of the Best Basketball Shoes. Click this link for our latest recommendations.

There is no hype on this list, and I’ve only picked sneakers I’ve worn in 2017.

As the editor at WearTesters, I see lots of sneakers and write about many more. 2017 was a good year; people that wanted hype got more of it than ever before, and customers who wanted value got great sneakers at good prices.

Here are a set of opinions that wrap up 2017 for me:

  • The VaporMax is way too uncomfortable and expensive without a midsole (so I’m waiting for the Air VaporMax Utility to hit outlets).
  • I started off 2017 all #BoostIsLife but after experiencing Bounce in adidas’ running line I have to pick Bounce — Boost just gets too mushy after a while.
  • The Air Jordan 1 Flyknit is way more comfortable than any other Air Jordan 1.
  • Watching the return of Stash has been dope.
  • Customizers went HAM this year, and sneaker art has exploded into all kinds of genres/formats/mediums.
  • Ewing Athletics had an awesome year of collabs that were all about the community — it did not go overlooked.
  • Nike and Jordan stay taking tech out of retro releases and adding Zoom to skate shoes.
  • The Way of Wade line is finally awesome.
  • Knit costs a ton — who knew? The designers.
  • When Yeezy makes a Reebok I question “the vision.”

My Top 5 Sneakers of 2017 list is in no particular order although I am (obviously) partial to one of these releases — it’s ours.

Arc Originals The Outset Vol. 1

Arc Originals the outset vol. 1 Test Shoot 11
Photo by Garrett Chorpenning

When a new company — the first sneaker brand from Scotland — offers this level of fantastic materials, craftsmanship, and quality for $130 it makes me feel like all the other brands are ripping us off.

The sneaker also comes in what I can only describe as the best presentation and box I have ever experienced. Watch for what comes from the Scottish Highlands in 2018.


UBIQ x Brandblack DJX Trainer

ubiq brandblack djx trainer 1
Photo by Noah Goldowitz

When I first saw the Ubiq x Brandblack DJX Trainer for DeSean Jackson I knew I had to have it. It was sleek, looked unlike anything I’d seen yet, and was one of my favorite colors (maroon).

The sneaker dropped at the top of 2017 and it is still in my rotation — it’s hard to keep it out of it. Pairs of the DJX Trainer are on sale at a couple places, so do yourself a favor.


Reebok Floatride Run

Reebok floatride run noah goldowitz
Photo by Noah Goldowitz

The Ultra Boost killer. The Reebok Floatride Run is the one I go for every time when I have a choice between it and the Ultra Boost. If you think that’s crazy peep this:

It’s so light, a couple ounces lighter than the UltraBoost. It’s $30 cheaper than the UB, Floatride foam is so much bouncier than Boost, and the shoe is great to run in because it inspires confidence — unlike the UB.

Finally, with eyes closed I don’t think many people could tell the difference between Reebok’s Ultraknit and adidas’ Primeknit. I couldn’t! And who owns Reebok? Right…I’m really excited for what Reebok does with Floatride in 2018.


adidas AlphaBounce 5.8 Zip

adidas alphabounce Zip 6
Photo by Sandy Dover

By far my most-worn sneaker in 2017. This AlphaBounce build is a super sleeper zipped up, has the ultimate all-day comfort Bounce offers, and offers grip for days. It isn’t quite as weather resistant as adidas claims and ventilation is minimal but I love this sneaker — it is exactly what I wanted from the AlphaBounce platform.


WearTesters x Brandblack Rare Metal

weartesters brandblack rare metal noah goldowitz
Photo by Noah Goldowitz

I have to salute the WearTesters captain Nightwing2303 and BRandblack for this one. I love the Rare Metal — it’s light, comfortable all day, and the pattern on our collab rocks. Plus, that black to metallic blue fade? Ridiculous.


Honorable Mentions

UAS Forge 1 Mid

UAS Forge 1 Mid 7
Photo by Noah Goldowitz

I didn’t expect footwear like this from Under Armour Sportswear. The mix of a contemporary knit and premium leathers is unique and refreshing, as is the shape, and once broken in it’s more comfortable than I thought it would be.

As you can tell, the sneaker is called the Forge 1 Mid, so let’s see what UAS does with the second iteration.



new.line halo brandblack bladerunner boot
Photo by Noah Goldowitz

The future of boots will probably look a lot like this here. The BladeRunner is a mixture of an interior knit construction and water-resistant nubuck/suede. The upper is super light and the only real weight comes from that Vibram RGS system hiker outsole (which has done very well on the slushy streets of New York these past couple days).

The tooling could use some additional shock absorption — the genuine leather insole is a great touch, just not enough for me — but a modern boot like this makes me put my Timbs deep in the closet, and I’m a New Yorker.


What do you think about my list? Share your top 5 or top 10 lists with me in the comments or on socials (@NoahGoldowitz).

Happy new year to all of the readers and watchers that rock with us — we’ve got big things coming for you all in 2018.

  1. i think the vapormax is actually a really comfy shoe, you just gotta size up at least half a size and break them in over a month of continuous wear, i love my pair and have always been looking to get another pair, but they are really expensive and i can’t bring myself to do it (i got my first pair on a steep discount)

  2. Didn’t buy nearly as many sneakers this year and barely any retros, especially since for the same price companies were making way more comfortable models.

    – Alphabounce EM with suede panels. Sort of agree about Bouce vs Boost except the heel gets hard after a while for me.
    – Khaki Ultraboost: worst part of those white midsoles is dirt easily getting to them. I keep these for sunny days.
    – BrandBlack Mirage Premium: one of the cleanest and most noticed mids I’ve ever worn. And was clearanced for $40.
    – BrandBlack August 2: Again with knit the low was a huge improvement on the August, more comfortable, and I wore the hell out of it all summer.
    – Saucony Letterman 2: I wish I got the entire Irish Coffee pack in 2016 so this was a good alternative with leather and wool on a gum bottom.

    Runners up: The Rock Delta trainer and the UA Treadborne Slingflex. The Rock Delta is just a more expensive Delta but it’s still my go to workout shoe. The Slingflex was amazingly comfortable but I got the white pair which attracted dirt and stains quicker than any shoe I’ve ever had.

    1. This is a great list! Thank you for sharing! The August 2 was fantastic — huge improvement. That khaki UltraBoost is dope but I’m trying to cop on sale lol. I agree with you about the heel of the UB but I pushed through that firm time and it got nice

  3. From Nike the Air Max 97’, SB Dunk Pro Low Wheat, Adidas Boost ST, Boost CrazyLight Vegas Edition, Navy Harden Vol. 1., Adidas Originals Gazelle, were all my favs of this past year. I just unboxed my last pair of the Adidas Supernatural Creator last month, then am enjoying those to the hilt to ball in. Too bad, because that is a masterpiece of a shoe.

  4. My top 5 consists of a hypebeast shoe, a hoop shoe, a runner, a casual, and a miscellaneous standout.

    Favorite hoop shoe this year was the Nike PG1. Refreshing to see this much value in performance, comfort, and looks in a signature product from the Swoosh. Got my pair for a steal too. ($22!!!)

    I was incredibly lucky to be able to get the Nike AF-1 Travis Scott from SNKRS, and those shoes are crazy. Love the gum/white combo and the small details complete the shoe.

    My go to runner shoe this year was the adidas Alphabounce. Not quite boost comfy, but it was more than enough, and I didn’t feel as bad getting it dirty as a pair of ultraboosts.

    Casual shoes are more of an impulse thing, as if I like the shoe enough I’ll rock it. But the pair I wore more than any other was just the basic Nike Free Distance RN. Ultralight, comfy soft lunarlon, breathable. Simple but effective.

    And finally the Brandblack Delta rounds out my top 5. I had so much hype for this shoe and I was not disappointed. The looks alone did it for me, and it was a solid hoop shoe as well, though not quite game changing as they had claimed.

    Biggest L was the Off White collection, not. one. pair. Especially the Air Maxes and the Blazers. Oh well.

    1. Man SO MANY PEOPLE took Ls on The Ten collection.

      Great list bro, the PG 1 and AlphaBounce are both better than higher-tier models in their respective lines. I’m glad you liked the Delta, it was stunning visually but I never grabbed a pair, when I tried it on it just didn’t feel right.

      Ridic that you got that PG 1 for $22, why didn’t you put me on?

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