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Kicks of the Year 2017

Kicks of the Year 2017

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Kicks of the Year 2017

Bleacher Report Kicks

As 2017 gets ready to close up shop and pull the curtains down, Bleacher Report wanted to reflect on the best sneakers released over the past 12 months.

Falling in love with kicks this year was easy. With Adidas and Nike trading blows and Under Armour finding its footing again thanks to the Curry 4, brand wars were prominent and gave consumers plenty of options on which to spend their hard-earned coin.

Outside of that spectacle, footwear changed. Trends evolved—say hello to the dad shoe—and the industry was forever altered thanks to the Ball family.

Sure, 2017 was hectic. But it was beautiful, messy and full of surprises. And in footwear, we wouldn't want it any other way.

Off-White x Air Jordan I

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A photo posted by Bleacher Report Kicks (@br_kicks)

Off-White mastermind Virgil Abloh became Nike's savior in 2017. His Ten Icons Reconstructed project put the Swoosh back on level footing with Adidas in terms of streetwear relevance and hype.

Using the timeless "Chicago" Air Jordan I style, Abloh tore down and rebuilt a classic. The sneaker was not only a fresh take on the Air Jordan I, but it also helped put the brand back in good standing, as it was worn by influencers, athletes and supermodels from across today's media landscape.

Abloh's decision to debut the kicks at the 2017 Met Gala, as reported by Nice Kicks' Ray P, was indicative of the shoe's success. From a brand perspective, you could make a case it was the most important Air Jordan I release in decades.

KAWS x Air Jordan IV

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Kicks of the Year 2017

Image courtesy of Nike.

This year was lively when it came to Nike collaborations. Between Off-White, Tom Sachs and KAWS, Phil Knight's empire delivered to its wide-ranging consumer base.

What's special about the KAWS x Air Jordan IV partnership is the concept it delivered on. By Nike News' account, the shoe "recognizes that behind every game-changer lies the desire to master one's craft."

Removing the sneaker's traditional plastic accents, KAWS instead covered the entire silhouette with premium gray suede and even added a glow-in-the-dark outsole. The end result was a beautiful, meticulously crafted sneaker.

We'll remember the KAWS x Air Jordan IV for its masterful design and its ability to call attention to one of Jordan's earliest signature models.

Big Baller Brand ZO2 Prime Remix

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A photo posted by Bleacher Report Kicks (@br_kicks)

If nothing else, Big Baller Brand's ZO2 Prime Remix deserves recognition for being the most polarizing sneaker released in 2017.

Emerging from the ashes after LaVar Ball's war with the world's top sneaker conglomerates, the ZO2 took social media by storm, partially because of its $495 price tag. It was Ball's way of changing the narrative, exploring how athletes can bypass the bigwigs and produce their own products if need be.

The elder Ball has been instrumental in preaching Big Baller Brand's message. And after linking up with Brandblack—known for its work with Jamal Crawford—the Prime Remix version was delivered.

It may not be a transcendent shoe. However, the ZO2 Prime Remix is a dream come true for anyone out there trying to compete with box-top brands. It will remain an important footnote in sneaker history and Lonzo Ball's career.

Under Armour Curry 4 'More Rings'

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A photo posted by Bleacher Report Kicks (@br_kicks)

Under Armour needed a hit after the Curry 3 struggled to produce, according to's Darren Rovell. The next edition would have to deliver in an aesthetic capacity, as well as in the performance realm.

Enter the Curry 4.

First worn during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the More Rings edition was stunning. The all-white base, speckled midsole, gold accents and icy sole became a manifesto of sorts for Curry and his line. The Golden State Warriors were back after winning another NBA title in convincing fashion over the rival Cleveland Cavaliers, and Curry's line was taking a dramatic step forward in terms of its look.

Tom Sachs x NikeCraft Mars Yard

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