2018 was an intense year for sneakers. We started the year heavy on the chunky soles and dad shoe trend, and, as the year wraps up, we're getting more into personalized pairs. White sneakers are appearing across every market, acting as canvases for amateur creatives to leave a personal touch on their kicks. Meanwhile, brands have also been focused on blending the past and the future; you’ll find this list is populated with shoes that draw inspiration or elements from the '80s and '90s, but play with them in very contemporary ways. And while technology used to be about running away from the past, the sneakers in 2018 show us that we can use it as a launching pad. This is our list of the best sneakers of 2018.
2018 can boast some truly innovative steps in sneaker design, and the DMX Fusion 1 from Reebok and Pyer Moss is squarely in the pantheon of that arena. The silhouette itself is like a dozen other sock runners, but the lacing system is almost mind-boggling. The laces start at the very toe and help inform the shape of the vamp as they pull back to the quarter. Once at the quarter they crisscross a few times through loops, which are rigged so low on the shoe, they're almost at the sole. The laces then wrap around the heel before coming back to the tongue for closure with a lacelock. It's a complicated but refreshing system, and it opens the door for a lot of customization.
When your cute sandals have become dirty, you're going to have to care for them dependent on the materials they are made from. As mentioned above, if they are made from man-made materials, you can simply toss them in the wash. If they are, however, made with leather, you will need some leather conditioning soap. Make sure to clean and air dry your cute sandals before you try to wear them again. When boxing them up for the year, it is best to put them in airtight plastic bags. This will keep them from drying out.
We don't want to confuse the two very different trends of Dad Shoes and Chunky Shoes, but the Balenciaga Triple-S represents the peak for both of them. Those trends are petering out, but we cannot deny that the Triple-S has had a massive impact, and the reverberation continues. Each chunky sneaker released since the Triple-S seems like a weak knock-off of the sneaker that truly set the tone. The year has also seen the silhouette develop and change in both look and price because the shoes sell out as quickly as Balenciaga can make them. It's truly a phenomenon.
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.
The addition of shearling is a textural detail that subtly transforms our most popular models into something unexpected. The Amazon Shearling lines its footbed with puffs of fur, and the Daytona takes its criss-cross strap and adorns one side with the same lambskin for the coziest cool weather look. These styles move easily between the transitional months where socks are optional.
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.
It's no secret that the Air Max 270 Bowfin is one of the stranger silhouettes that released this year, but it suddenly made sense when we caught the Atomic Violet colorway. The shoes are wild: The uppers are a mess of materials with an attached tongue, a ribbon-constructed lacing system that culminates in a lacelock, and even a ripstop top that acts as a shield for the rest of the shoe. The sole is a triumph on its own: texture and line come together with a bright mudguard, and then a 270-degree air bubble at the heel. There are subtler colorways of the kicks, but with a blend of lavender, pink, mustard, white, and black, the details of the shoe are elevated and we get to see what makes it truly unique.
Each season, we pull together must-have women’s shoes from hundreds of favorite brands, including of-the-moment trends, athletic picks, outdoor styles, and more. Within this assortment, you’ll find everyday essentials like sneakers, ballet flats, and ankle boots as well as styles for special events–from bridal options to vacation-ready flip-flops–and for any weather. Additionally, you’ll discover a range of price points, from budget-friendly picks to designer pairs.
We’re calling it now: 2018 was the last year that Off-White sneaker collabs were able to maintain their omnipresent dominance, and one of the last releases of the year was also one of the best. We’ve seen earlier incarnations of the Zoom Fly before, but this blisteringly pink take is a neck-breaker. We’ve been living with Off-White sneaker remixes for more than a year, so the premise has become familiar and Abloh needed to raise the bar—this shade of pink does exactly that. There’s only so much that can piled onto a single design, and while this combination of “reimagined sneaker” with “bright color” approaches being too much, its just the right balance without going over.
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.
You’re going to see every other end of year list place the Union L.A. Air Jordan 1s right near the top, and we totally get why: one of them certainly deserves it. The black, red, and white colorway is very dope and sits right in the new tradition, catalyzed by Acronym and perfected by Off-White, of remixing silhouettes of classic sneakers. This release was perfectly timed to hit all the best-of lists. Like a December movie release timed for Oscar season, Union's well-hyped collaboration was still fresh on everyone's minds while they wrote their lists. These are definitely one for the books, and we can't wait to see what their staying power proves to be.
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.
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Clearly you can find shoes at a local store, but you may find lower prices shopping online. Also, buying online is easier and cheaper than special ordering from a local store, especially if you need shoes in an atypical size or style. Shipping is one of the biggest drawbacks, but many online stores have begun offering free shipping, either on all orders or on orders that exceed a certain dollar amount.