We don’t love the high fashion trend of distressed sneakers: it makes sense on denim, and maybe even a top or two, but aren’t we supposed to keep our sneakers as crispy white as possible? (Yes. The answer is yes.) But there’s something about these Vetements Reeboks that flip the script and make for an amazing pair of kicks. Maybe it’s the retro silhouette, the nostalgic colorway, or the contrast of the distressing, but all together the look is insane (as is the price tag). These have hardly turned into a fan favorite, and even though you’ll probably never find us dropping a stack to get them them, they’re more than deserving of their spot on this list.
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.
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.
The straps on sandals are another thing you're going to want to consider. The point of the straps is to maintain the position of the shoes on your feet. This can be accomplished with the use of straps that crisscross over the over the tops of your feet. The most common sandals cross your foot in a horizontal pattern. The straps connect to the sides of the shoes and can be adjusted utilizing buckles in certain straps across the shoe. There are also those straps that utilize Velcro in order to keep the shoe properly in place. You can decide which is more comfortable for you as you're shopping for your shoes.
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.
Nike’s Air Max line is a staple in the industry and it grows each year as the family expands. Some silhouettes stick around, like the Air Max 90, while others from more recent years fall away. This year, the brand introduced the Air Max 270. It was so named for the 270-degree air bubble at the heel, a design that seems poised to stand the test of time. One of the first releases of the sneaker was this Black Pack that employed black uppers as the neutral counter to a bevy of bright colors on the bubble. After all, that bubble is the heart of the sneaker. This pack is still the best usage of the silhouette to introduce it to the world, and these will be considered classics for the 270's archive.
Once the 2 Chainz sneaker with Versace was announced, all eyes turned to the brand in anticipation of what it would be. Not because of 2 Chainz, but because of Salehe Bembury, the newly minted lead footwear designer at Versace. Bembury designed with Greats and Cole Haan in the past before heading over to Kanye's Yeezy brand. The Chain Reaction was his first big sneaker with Versace, and it is literally big. The sole is a massive reconstruction of Cuban chain links, while the upper is a veritable canvas for whatever designs the Versace team or collaborators can dream up. And you know a shoe this big comes with an equally big price tag.
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.