Sneakerheads Reveal 2017’s Best Brands Delivering Top-Notch Quality

Footwear News caught up with some prominent sneakerheads to get their take on the best brands of 2017. For FN’s sneaker issue (which debuted Nov. 6), we heard from Yu-Ming Wu and Mike Camargo about which brands are delivering the best quality and who’s up next in the sneaker world.

Mike “Upscale Vandal” Camargo
Consultant, Upscale Vandal Group 

Mike "Upscale Vandal" Camargo
CREDIT: Courtesy of Mike Camargo

Best Place to Buy Kicks:
“Social Status. They have multiple doors in areas that there isn’t so much hype, so I’m able to get in easy.”

Brands With Surprising Quality Drops:
“Karhu. I started wearing that brand maybe last year. Yeezy [Kanye West] started wearing them after me, and everybody jumped on them then. The quality of their shoes is amazing. I wear one model, the Fusion 2.0. It’s comfortable, and for the price, you get a lot of paneling and good materials.”

Brand With the Most Promising Future:
Jordan Brand, and the reason is because of Frank Cooker and Gemo Wong — they’re in charge of all the special interests. With their understanding of the culture and being able to tap in directly to the culture, the more leeway Jordan gives them, the more they can grow. They understand the landscape of what’s cool more than anybody.”

Who Deserves a Signature Sneaker:
Aside from myself? J Balvin. He represents the sneaker enthusiast outside of the United States. He represents international culture and how far things have reached. People like Skepta getting a shoe is cool and pushes the boundaries in the U.K., but it’s still an English-speaking country that has similar sensibilities to us. J being from South America, coming from Colombia, a country where sneaker culture doesn’t have the same prominence, it’s important for him to represent our culture on an international and global level because of how repetitive can we get with the same s**t we do here. We need an injection of lifestyle and understanding from other places.”

Yu-Ming Wu
Founder, Sneaker News; CMO, Stadium Goods

Yu-Ming Wu
CREDIT: Courtesy of Yu-Ming Wu

Best Place to Buy Kicks:
“I shop at so many different places online that it’s hard to say just one. Every online store has to have a different offering. I shop at Stadium Goods, on eBay a lot,, Sneakersnstuff, the domestic guys as well.”

Brands With Surprising Quality Drops:
“Converse is coming back around and has done some interesting collabs, starting with the Tyler, The Creator collection. I did not think there would be a big reception, but there was a huge reception for it. Converse is getting behind some different audiences, and they’re a little bit of an underdog. For them to come out and use heritage models is pretty cool.”

Brands With the Most Promising Future:
“The competition has driven everyone to take a look at their business. Nike and Jordan have been the No. 1 and 2 for a very long time, and for Adidas to come behind and get to the No. 2 place is incredible. It is pushing the market to do interesting and new things. Nike doing the Off-white collab was something new and incredible. I don’t know if that was possible if there wasn’t an Adidas knocking on the door. Adidas has been killing it with the [Ultra] Boosts and the Yeezys, Puma with the Rihanna collection, [and] Reebok is doing some interesting things within the fashion world.”

Who Deserves a Signature Sneaker:
“I think a signature shoe should stay in the sports world. I definitely do not want to see influencers with signature sneakers. They should have their own colorway and collaborate with different companies. Really big-time performers, that makes sense. Travis Scott and whatnot, I know Don C is not a traditional performer, is doing things with Nike. These guys are incredible, but I can’t see a Travis Scott signature sneaker, but I can see a Travis Scott designed sneaker with Nike.”


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