We actually put Louis Vuitton's Archlight on our list for 2017 and the shoe didn't even drop that year. At the time we put it on our list the name hadn't been made public and all we saw were pictures. Now that we've had a year to see the shoe in action, it's good enough to make the list again (this time it's at least it’s official). The Archlight is a truly amazing in sneaker design for a few reasons, but the biggest is the most obvious: the sole. At a time when heavy, chunky soles are in vogue, Louis Vuitton has created a sole that plays with the eye to different ends: This was all about reshaping the perception of the foot and making it far more dynamic. And it works. For reconfiguring how we see our own biology, the Archlight is definitely one of the best of the year.
*2nd pair must be of equal or lesser value. Excludes accessories and certain styles, including but not limited to adidas, Asics, Bear Paw, Birkenstock, Converse, Dr. Martens, select Fila styles, Keds, Koolaburra by UGG, Merrell, Rainbow, Reebok, Rockport, Saucony, Sperry, Teva, Tommy Hilfiger Kids’, online Timberland & Timberland Pro, plus all Nike styles.
2018 will go down as the year Nike and Jordan Brand started thinking about the women’s market seriously. Jordan created an entire sub brand devoted to their female customers, and launched pieces with the “1 Reimagined” program. Ten new takes on the Jordan 1 and Air Force 1 offer complete shakeups of these classic designs, shuffled up for a female customer base. Don’t let the gender designation get in the way; some of these deserve full market distribution.
We know there are a lot of Jordan IIIs on this list (It makes sense; it is one of the very best basketball sneakers of all time.), but these "International Flight" Jordan IIIs are amazing and worthy of attention. They're not doing anything crazy—on the contrary, it's a colorway that seems like it should have released years ago. What's surprising about this sneaker is the off-white leather that dominates the upper. Jordan Brand is known for its combinations of white, black, red, and blue, so these more subtler tones add a sort of aged quality to the look in a way that's more than welcome. These are by no means classics, but they deserve recognition.
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 James put his money where his mouth is for the latest incarnation of his namesake sneaker. Every year he gets the opportunity to start a massive conversation when he releases his latest shoe, and this year he released the very first LeBron 16 with a design by Harlem Fashion Row: a collective of female designers of color lead by Brandice Daniels. Undra Celeste, Kimberly Goldson and Fe Noel. They blended their styles and processes to create a sneaker that works no matter who is wearing it, but delivers a message that breaks barriers not only in opportunities for designers but also in expectations from consumers.
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Your foot rolls through each step, and your walking sandal must be flexible enough to roll with it as well. Too stiff of sole will have your foot fighting the sandal with each step. The sandal should be able to flex in the forefoot. Look for running sandals or trails sandals that provide the cushioning, support, and flexibility features of athletic shoes.