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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.
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.
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.
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.
Sandals are best suited for shorter walks on surfaces that don't have much litter or gravel, which tends to get picked up by any sandal design. Once used to the sandals, some walkers wear them regularly for 10 kilometers or longer walks. While trail sandals are big sellers, hikers often report they are best used for daypacking or in camp rather than when carrying a heavy backpack on natural trails. That said, many long-distance walkers on the Camino de Santiago wear trail sandals some or all of the time. It is an individual choice. You should definitely try them on shorter walks before tackling long distance walks in sandals.
Off-White's collaborations with Nike will forever mark a turning point in what the major brands allowed collaborators to do with their beloved sneakers. As much as that represented a paradigm shift, there will always be projects like the MAGIC STICK Air Force 1, which creatively experiment within the limited confines of heritage silhouettes. The MAGIC STICK AF1s utilize unique materials (Tyvek and 3M in addition to leather and suede) for a look that is at once subtle and eye catching. With piping that reflects light and a neon ankle strap against the white upper, MAGIC STICK did a lot within a series of limitations that the industry is leaving behind.
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.
You'll want boots that last all season, keeping your stride comfortable and easy while standing up to the rigors of the pavement and the trail alike. Materials can make a huge difference in everyday wear. Leather is prized for its durability and elegant appearance while suede is soft, comfortable and is also relatively tough. Explore women's boots, plus even more types of fashionable footwear in our shoe department!