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.
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. Look for stability, motion control, and cushioning features needed for longer walks. Some designs have a closed toe for more protection against rocks and roots, while others are open-toed as with traditional sandals. Popular brands of walking sandals include Teva, Keen, and Birkenstock. Flip flops are usually a less-recommended choice and you will need to learn how to pick healthier flip flops.
It's never a bad time for a gold sneaker, and the combination of gold and patent leather on these Jordan 1s is a winner. To be fair, the Top 3 Gold 1s from 2017 were slightly better, but this more conservative take on the look is a great consolation pair. The funny thing about sneakers like the Patent Gold Toe Jordan 1 is that, as much as they feel luxe, they also feel accessible. These sneakers can take you anywhere. They may even help you fly like Mike.
The sock runner trend, perfected by the Balenciaga Speed Trainer, hit its apogee with Reebok's Run.r. Like we said, Balenciaga perfected the look, but these Sock Run.rs are still amazing. The upper is about as simple a sock you can get, with some printing on the throat, but the sole is what's most interesting about the shoe. The seemingly multi-unit sole features what looks like a separated toe (it's connected to the rest of the sole under the sneaker), a taller section at the ball for stability, and a heel cup at the back. The look is intense but surprisingly well balanced.
Unless you're a hardcore sneaker collector that follows every contour of the sneaker community's ins and outs, you may have missed the second release between Packer Shoes and Adidas on the EQT models. The earlier release on the Cushion 91 set the tone for the partnership, bringing a well-designed sneaker with premium materials into a muddy forest, subverting the idea of streetwear luxury. But the following week, Packer released a pair of the 91/18s in a much more considered design —and in much more limited numbers. The streamlined sneakers pared down the color palate (this time using black, tan, and teal), letting the panels and textures play off one another for a shoe that feels just as engaged with the outdoors but is more progressive in design and sophisticated in palette. A truly quiet winner.
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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.
Best in class construction- The bedrock of a quality shoe is one that promotes healthy, supported feet. The original BIRKENSTOCK footbed, renowned for expert construction that’s been perfected over decades, is the standard of custom comfort. Created with optimal materials to provide overall support and cushioning—cork, jute, plush EVA and suede, among others—our footbed also isolates individual areas to ensure that different regions of the foot are properly served—the toes enjoy extra room for natural movement and foot alignment, and the heel is cradled and cushioned through its deep cup.
Have you ever wanted to order pizza but you couldn’t be bothered to reach for your phone? Pizza Hut solved that perennial challenge with its Pie Tops II, designed and manufactured by Shoe Surgeon. The sneakers have obvious retro sneaker inspiration, but the killer is that they are optimized with tech to order a pizza for you and then pause your TV when the delivery guy arrives. They may not satisfy your sneaker thirst, but they can satisfy your hunger.
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.
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