Release Date: 2/16/24
Price: $120
If anyone told you just 12 months ago that an Adidas Basketball model was a serious contender for the best, most interesting sneaker of 2024, you probably wouldn’t believe them. Adidas is a capable brand with a rich archive, but its basketball shoes haven’t often been more than middling in the past decade. Plus, it’s been well documented that people really don’t care that much about performance basketball sneakers right now. And while it’s mostly shaken the stigma off, the post-Yeezy slump is a real thing.

All of which makes the Adidas AE1, the first signature shoe for Anthony Edwards, that much more impressive. (Technically the sneaker debuted at the end of 2023, but arrived after we’d made our “best of” rankings for that year, and hence is qualified for this year.) The shoe manages to look contemporary and teched-out without appearing overwrought, unlike a lot of Nike’s basketball sneakers from the past few years. And it’s been lifted by Edwards’ electric play. The ads helped too, some of them Air Jordan-esque (yeah, we said it) in their ability to imbue a shoe with emotion. The campaigns accidentally pitted one of the NBA’s brightest young superstars against Cam’ron, instigating a mini battle over Adidas’ marketing. The Adidas AE1 is admittedly not that salient in the real world—you’ll see less people wearing these outside than a lot of other big entries on this list—but it is nonetheless the most interesting, refreshing, and best sneaker this year has given us. Believe that. —Brendan Dunne

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