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.
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.
Each year, the major sneaker brands trip over themselves to capture the LGBT market during Pride Month, but Nike was one of the first. With a team of LGBT designers, the brand consistently creates some of the most authentic designs, year after year. This time, it focused on a handful of newer silhouettes, like the Air Max 270, Epic React, Air Vapormax Plus, and Zoom Fly. Each year, Nike's BeTrue designs become subtler. While two of the four designs used the tried-and-true rainbow motif, the runners leaned more into neutral tones with hits of color in the form of the Pink Triangle. As the LGBT community is recognized as an accepted group inside of mainstream American culture, the Pride designs must follow suit. That's exactly what Nike did this year.
The Adidas Crazy BYW deserves to be on every list it can get on. The shoe perfectly blends the heritage of Adidas’ Crazy line that launched in the early '90s while incorporating contemporary materials and design. Further, it’s an amazing representation of how Adidas is forming a new identity in the last few years: wild soles, fun texture, and playful lines. One of our earliest introductions to the shoe was the collaboration with Bristol Studio that brought us not just one take on the silhouette but two. The collaboration represented and early apex for the shoe that has been approached since, but never quite met again.
The Teva Universal Premier sandal can be your go-to walking sandal throughout the warmer months. It is available in a version with leather uppers and one with quick-drying polyester webbing uppers in a variety of colors. The straps are well-padded, even underneath the rings that connect the straps. This is an important feature to reduce the risk of rubbing, irritation, and blisters that sandal straps can give you, especially on longer walks.