Irony peaked with the "Weekend Campout" colorway of Nike's classic Air Monarch. The Monarch has earned its title of being the daddest dad shoe of them all, and sneaker collectors have laced them up ironically for years. But the Weekend Campout colorway brought the sneaker to the next level, offering an elevated version of the shoe. Doing so in limited numbers throttled supply and raised demand.
After Lance Mountain brought a layered customization to the Jordan 1 and Virgil Abloh tore it apart and sewed it back together, Nigel Sylvester took those bold moves and blended them into subtler, personal flourishes on his latest collaboration. Taking inspiration from how his own pairs look after being heavily worn, the result is a sophisticated design with alluring details, and definitely a top pick from the year.
Another entry in the reappearing retro runners, the latest collaboration between Supreme and Nike took the surprising form of the Zoom Streak Spectrum Plus. They feature the classic combination of mesh and leather in sharp waves across the upper. Not satisfied enough with the old-school material design, each colorway is covered in flames. The effect is at once respectful of the past, while also giving it a cheeky update. These were by no means Supreme’s most popular collaboration, but they’re fresh and fit squarely into what the industry has been up to this year.
Pharrell caught some flack for this "Blank Canvas" collection with Adidas, offering white knit versions of everything from the Stan Smith to his signature Running Hu. The problem: They were released as a canvas around the Hindu holiday of Holi, where bright powders are launched into the air to fill the world with color. Whether it was an act of appropriation or reverence is a debate for another time. Either way, the sneakers were a very fresh option and set the scene for popular customization like we'd see later on the Off-White Air Prestos.
LeBron’s sneaker line slowed down over the last few years, bringing us uninspired offerings and fading into the background. But this year, that all changed. Nike and LeBron finally approached the tech sneaker with lifestyle responsibilities. The first few colorways sold out immediately, but the real intro came when LeBron teamed up with Ronnie Fieg and Kith for this “Long Live the King” collection. The shoes dive deep into royal symbology, creating a series of styles that transcend the technical aspects of the sneaker. When the kicks released, there was no way to know that LeBron would lose out on a ring, leave Cleveland, and create a school set to reshape a generation of youth in Ohio, but these remind us that 2018 has been a roller coaster.
People often associate arch support with active footwear like running or hiking shoes. That same level of support, however, is just as important in everyday wear. We spend a lot of time on our feet, and deserve support through every step. We take our sandals off when we get to the beach because we love the way the sand cradles our feet. Let that feeling follow you onto the concrete, to work, to the trailhead — wherever your favorite pair of OluKai sandals take you.
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“The Ten” Collection from Nike and Off-White that launched last year expanded in 2018, going way beyond the original list of 10 pairs. The first expansion was a European-only release of the remixed Air Jordan 1 done up in bright white from toe to heel. Plus, a couple hits of purple to make you feel like royalty. This was the original colorway Abloh designed for the 2017 collection, but the brands decided to stick with Chicago for the launch to classify the sneaker as an immediate success. It worked. The OG Chicago colorway and these white pairs continue to inspire thirst.