Kendrick Lamar moving from Reebok to Nike was a natural because Nike gave him the Cortez, and nary has a combination of sneaker and artist felt more seamless. Kendrick used the opportunity to put out a series of colorways inspired by his music and evolving identity, offering a range of aesthetics. The Cortez Kenny III is the best one yet. Black, white, and red play off classic sneaker colorways, but Lamar injected the sneakers with details like Chinese characters embroidered into the toe and "BET IT BACK" printed on the tongue ribbon. It's a brilliant pairing.
The Skylon 2 is anything but new, yet we added it to this list because Nike brought it back at just the right time. The shoe is pure retro; Nike hasn't changed it a bit. That intensity of retro styling (everything from the synthetic suede to the color gradation on the quarter) might be too much for those who aren't hip to the trend. Or those who just don't want to remember the late '80s and early '90s when sneakers like the Skylon were the wave. But on the tail end of the retro runner craze, this was the right moment to dive deep into that nostalgia and bring the Skylon 2 right back to the forefront. Plus, the color combos are amazing.

It would be a lie to say that there's nothing special about the Court Purple and Pine Green Air Jordan 1s. Sort of. It's actually their simplicity that makes them special. The Jordan 1 is arguably the sneaker that launched all of sneaker culture, and while classic colorways are what sneakerheads use to measure the truth of the industry, the recent new colorways from Jordan Brand have been quickly metabolized into the mainstream. Both green and purple are colors that the larger brands seldom use in popular sneaker designs, so to see both of them used as major shades on the Jordan 1 the same week was a great move for everyone.
After initially teased in collaboration with Undercover, the Element React 87 became one of the most highly anticipated sneakers of the summer. The shoe combines the sole tech of the React with an innovative translucent upper that reflects some subtler trends in the sneaker industry. The shoes have only released in the black and white versions, each selling out whip quick. Expect Nike to roll out a ton more colorways of this sneaker. Nike has been hurting for a win like this. They finally got it.

Easily one of the most hyped sneakers of the year, the duo of black and white Air Prestos from Nike and Off-White were also one of the best. Virgil Abloh snapped with the original Air Presto from his "The Ten" collection last year, and, while the design was initially overlooked, it has since proven itself to be one of the most progressive from the collection. The complexity of the silhouette lends itself well to the subtleties of black and white to let the textures come through. Fans lapped up both colorways, and many of the white pairs have become canvases for homemade customs to near unanimous positive results.
At first blush, the Travis Scott Air Force 1s with Nike don't seem like much. In fact, they might even seem familiar because the silhouette was introduced late last year. But if you take a closer look, you'll see how special this version actually is. The canvas-like upper lends itself beautifully to customization, something we've already seen work out gloriously. But the shoe goes even further. The unique piping all over the sneaker is colored 3M, and the swooshes are removable; each sneaker comes with a collection of different swooshes made from different materials that can be swapped out depending on your mood. These Travis Scott Air Force 1s end up representing our favorite kind of footwear—the kind where there's more than meets the eye and invites a personal touch.

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It's never a bad time for a gold sneaker, and the combination of gold and patent leather on these Jordan 1s is a winner. To be fair, the Top 3 Gold 1s from 2017 were slightly better, but this more conservative take on the look is a great consolation pair. The funny thing about sneakers like the Patent Gold Toe Jordan 1 is that, as much as they feel luxe, they also feel accessible. These sneakers can take you anywhere. They may even help you fly like Mike.

Some manufacturers utilize sandals that are made from a combination of materials. This tends to be a man-made material for the soles along with fabric for the straps. The fabric straps can be quite comfortable as they will breathe a little better than leather will when it is hot outside. The other great benefit you will receive when you have sandals made from man-made materials is the ability to simply chuck them into the wash whenever they start to stink. After all, it is hot outside and you will be sweating in your cute sandals. Having something that you can easily wash will give you the comfort of being able to wear your cute sandals a little more often throughout the summer. You may find that with this ease of maintenance that you wear them more often.
If 2018 represented the transition from bold design to subtlety, few projects straddle that change as well as the Paris Saint-Germain collaboration with Air Jordan. The partnership resulted in two pairs: a Jordan V and a Jordan 1, but we're only including the V on this list because it's the one that did the most. At first blush, the shoe doesn't look so different from the classic Black/Metallic colorway, just rendered even darker. The tongue and quarter have been transitioned from grey to black, and an inclusion of "75" is embroidered at the heel. The shifts are subtle enough that the shoes catch the attention of older sneaker heads, but have the added hype details to make the younger generation take notice. This is what we're looking forward to in the future of sneaker collaborations.
Unless you're a hardcore sneaker collector that follows every contour of the sneaker community's ins and outs, you may have missed the second release between Packer Shoes and Adidas on the EQT models. The earlier release on the Cushion 91 set the tone for the partnership, bringing a well-designed sneaker with premium materials into a muddy forest, subverting the idea of streetwear luxury. But the following week, Packer released a pair of the 91/18s in a much more considered design —and in much more limited numbers. The streamlined sneakers pared down the color palate (this time using black, tan, and teal), letting the panels and textures play off one another for a shoe that feels just as engaged with the outdoors but is more progressive in design and sophisticated in palette. A truly quiet winner.
I have breathtakingly small feet, men’s size 6. At more than one socks-only apartment party, a host has wondered where the children’s shoes came from. While I’ve avoided actually buying from the boys section, they’re one of the several valid options for men with small feet, including trans men, and for women dressing in androgynous or traditionally “male” looks.
A sleeper hit, the LeBron 10 made in collaboration with John Elliott is pitch-perfect to Elliott’s aesthetic. The JE brand is known for taking daily staples and elevating them, and rather than purely elevating the LeBron 10, Elliott distilled the sneaker to its constituent parts, taking the shoe from an earlier era and bringing it into the present. After that work was done, he went about utilizing the panels and pieces in black and white to create depth and implicit texture. At a quick glance it may not appear that there’s much to these kicks, but there are layers to them and they deserve recognition.

Every year, the greatest basketball sneaker brand in the world brings together the greatest technology in the industry to create a new shoe in the name of the greatest player of the game. It's a heavy task and it doesn't always mean that the shoe will end up being the most aesthetically pleasing pair, but this year it all came together. The last few years Jordan Brand has drawn inspiration from the past, but this year it looked to the future. The upper is mostly a single piece of knit, the lacing system is simplified to wires, and the internal pieces of the shoe are top-of-the-line. Rather than trying to hide all the technology under an aesthetic perfected in the '80s, the shoe looks like it's as futuristic as it is, and one of the launch colorways—Desert Ore—leans into the smattering of colors we've come to expect from cutting-edge design. The shoes represent practically the entire color wheel, but they blend together into a chorus, making for a sneaker that sings.
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.

The sneaker community is split pretty drastically around the Legacy 312, and we understand why: The shoes represent a mash-up of some of the most beloved sneakers in the Nike and Jordan archives. Intensely nostalgic sneakerheads have called the combination Don C put together a travesty, but if you're willing to look forward, there's a lot to appreciate about the shoes. Depending on the colorway you grab, the shoes can be bold or subtle, a mirror of how you can see these sneakers as retro inspired or entirely new. There are more colorways of this sneaker coming that haven’t released yet so stay tuned.

The past decade of sneaker culture has been all about making a statement, and we’re approaching the end of how much the community is willing to continue that trend. We’re nearing a future that demands subdued aesthetics, making the Mocha III release from Jordan Brand perfectly timed. The Jordan III will never go out of style, but the Mocha has often been forgotten—it’s just not a visually exciting sneaker. A white upper includes the traditional combination of smooth and tumbled leathers, with a heel wrap and details done up in brown. “Brown shoe” is typically code for dressier (or more boring) shoes, explaining why we rarely see the shade on sneakers, but with the culture moving back towards minimalist color schemes, now is the perfect time for the return of the Mochas.

Always one to turn its sneaker releases into a massive event, Miami’s own SoleFly provides collaborations at minuscule scales. The numbers are always super small, forcing intense competition to grab pairs—and this year’s Air Jordan 1s for Art Basel fit that same mold. They made two pairs: one incredibly limited in patent leather, and another slightly less limited in smooth leather. Both pairs played with orange, green, and black in different ways, inspired by the store’s official colors and the color-blocking of OG Jordans, but the patent leather pair was next level. The “Art Basel Black” will join the SoleFly Jordan IIIs, and others, as some of the rarest sneakers in the game.
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.

Supreme got back with Nike on some Air Force 1s that, while maybe not the most sought-after pairs of the year, have grabbed their share of attention. Covered in NBA logos from toe to heel, the sneakers are practically a hot mess. But they are also an amazing play on the overbranding trend of this year. These pairs will go down as one of the most recognizable sneakers of the year and remind for us of what 2018 was all about.


A sleeper hit, the LeBron 10 made in collaboration with John Elliott is pitch-perfect to Elliott’s aesthetic. The JE brand is known for taking daily staples and elevating them, and rather than purely elevating the LeBron 10, Elliott distilled the sneaker to its constituent parts, taking the shoe from an earlier era and bringing it into the present. After that work was done, he went about utilizing the panels and pieces in black and white to create depth and implicit texture. At a quick glance it may not appear that there’s much to these kicks, but there are layers to them and they deserve recognition.
You likely don’t want to purchase our cheap sandals every year. While there are going to be a few shoes that you're going to buy simply because they are ones you cannot pass up, you're going to want to keep wearing your favorites year after year. The question is, how are you going to maintain these shoes throughout the year so they can be available to you. One of the best ways to maintain your cheap sandals is to do a little advance care. First, remember that these are shoes you're simply not going to be wearing any socks with. As a result, you're going to want to make sure that your feet are always clean before you put your shoes on.
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