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.
The Yeezy brand has taken a status hit this year, with a dizzying amount of releases in super high volumes, fronted by Kanye—who has become an embattled figure in his own right. But in terms of aesthetics, the Mauve Yeezy Boost 700 represents a high watermark in design. The right tones of deep purple are on grand display thanks to the textural variations of leather and suede, and get just the right break from two hits of neon green. If you can separate style from politics, these are the best sneakers from Kanye and Adidas in years.
Walking sandals must have enough adjustment points to keep your heel at the back of the sandal and prevent the foot "traveling" forward and back, rubbing against the straps with each step, which can lead to blisters. You must test sandals at an actual walking distance to see whether foot swelling during walking makes your toes bump against the toe guard, which can lead to black toenail or blisters, or just over the front edge.
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.
Victor Cruz has made his transition off the field seamlessly, using his position to do good works for his community and his influence to inject more style into the lives of his fans. His first shoe in this new stage of life is the Air Force 1 Mid "V. Cruz" that elevates the shoe in every respect. Rolled edges, premium materials, and gold-toned hardware take the iconic AF1 to the next level. But what makes this a great shoe isn't just the aesthetics: Cruz has reshaped his public identity after his injury forced him off the field, and he's now a philanthropist and style magnate. These shoes represent the ability of a public figure to change and incorporate new contexts. When it comes to identity agility, Victor Cruz is a model we can all learn from, employing a skill set we all need to develop.
The sentiment that Real Men Wear Pink was proven with the Comme des Garçons Air Max 180s. In a trio of pink scale sneakers, each version is fresher than the last. It offers a range of executions, from the subtlest black and pink to a full-on exploration of how many shades can fit on a single shoe. They sold out immediately and continue to break necks for those who were lucky enough to grab pairs.
Outdoor, adventurous types can pick up a pair of weatherproof hiking boots, perfect for taming nature’s unexpected weather events. If you’re more of a concrete adventurer, slip into some rubber rain boots and keep your socks dry just as well. For a more ideal day when the sun is shining, zip up your fashionable booties, riding boots or motorcycle boots and connect with your inner fashionista. Match up your interests or hobbies to your style of footwear and find the ideal pair of boots for your one-of-a-kind lifestyle. Whether you’re treading on soil or pavement, your feet and your wallet will thank you.
It was only two years ago that Acronym released its first Presto with Nike, even though it feels like a generation ago in terms of sneaker releases. Predating the Off-White collection, the remix that Acronym brought to the Presto was a big surprise—at that point Nike very rarely let collaborators edit its silhouettes. It was a shot across the bow for traditionalists, and caused a well-deserved fervor. This year they followed up the partnership with a trio of Prestos that played with pattern as much as texture, and color as much as expectations. We don't think the 2018 pairs quite live up to the 2016 pairs, but they're still a welcome addition to 2018's list.
Formal occasions call for a certain flair and our dress sandals have just that. Low heels and high heels are both great when you need to dress up, and strappy sandals always offer a touch of class. Speaking of heels, you can also find them on sling sandals, which are also available as flats. Either way, slings can help you transition easily from your workday to dinner dates, saving you time and letting you focus on the night ahead of you.
Walkers choose walking sandals or trail sandals for both short and long distance walks. As with any walking shoe, it is important to find a good fit and to test the walking sandals at shorter distances and with or without socks. Today's running sandals and trail sandals provide athletic shoe features such as motion control, flexibility, and secure strapping systems so your feet don't get rubbed raw by the straps.
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.
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.
The outdoor shoe came back with a vengeance this year, and that's in large part thanks to Kith's ongoing partnership with Adidas' Terrex brand. They released a slew of kicks, but our favorite is this TR Boost EEA. We love these because they straddle the line between an ostentatious outdoorsy shoe and a more digestible streetwear look. The classic Ronnie Fieg colors of navy and salmon pink appear all over the shoe, with a rugged sole that makes them work just as well on a hike as they do on Lafayette Street.
What started as a one-off has turned into an ongoing collaboration between Levi’s and Jordan brand. The first pair used Levi’s blue denim to cover a Jordan 4, creating the first officially sanctioned denim Jordan, years after the Jumpman created some on its own. Golden stitching and Levi’s tabs appear all over the sneaker, making for the most authentic translation from dungaree to sportswear possible. Since the first pair, we’ve seen white and black versions, too. We wouldn’t be surprised if the creative partnership continues with new colors materials or on new silhouettes.