If you know Bape, you know it rips heritage designs from other companies, but that's also sort of their thing. Also sort of why we love them. The Bapesta is a shameless rip-off of the Air Force 1, and while Bape consistently puts Bapestas out year after year, it's far rarer that we see them in Bape's iconic "1st Camo." The 1st Camo is the graphic camouflage that made Bape famous, so the combination of camo and sneaker promised a firestorm of hype. And the shoes made good on that promise. Even if you're not caught in the hype, they have a unique charm to them and will ultimately prove to be one of the best releases of the year.
The addition of shearling is a textural detail that subtly transforms our most popular models into something unexpected. The Amazon Shearling lines its footbed with puffs of fur, and the Daytona takes its criss-cross strap and adorns one side with the same lambskin for the coziest cool weather look. These styles move easily between the transitional months where socks are optional.
You’re going to see every other end of year list place the Union L.A. Air Jordan 1s right near the top, and we totally get why: one of them certainly deserves it. The black, red, and white colorway is very dope and sits right in the new tradition, catalyzed by Acronym and perfected by Off-White, of remixing silhouettes of classic sneakers. This release was perfectly timed to hit all the best-of lists. Like a December movie release timed for Oscar season, Union's well-hyped collaboration was still fresh on everyone's minds while they wrote their lists. These are definitely one for the books, and we can't wait to see what their staying power proves to be.
Irony peaked with the "Weekend Campout" colorway of Nike's classic Air Monarch. The Monarch has earned its title of being the daddest dad shoe of them all, and sneaker collectors have laced them up ironically for years. But the Weekend Campout colorway brought the sneaker to the next level, offering an elevated version of the shoe. Doing so in limited numbers throttled supply and raised demand.
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.
2018 can boast some truly innovative steps in sneaker design, and the DMX Fusion 1 from Reebok and Pyer Moss is squarely in the pantheon of that arena. The silhouette itself is like a dozen other sock runners, but the lacing system is almost mind-boggling. The laces start at the very toe and help inform the shape of the vamp as they pull back to the quarter. Once at the quarter they crisscross a few times through loops, which are rigged so low on the shoe, they're almost at the sole. The laces then wrap around the heel before coming back to the tongue for closure with a lacelock. It's a complicated but refreshing system, and it opens the door for a lot of customization.
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.
For eligible purchases made with the SaksFirst Credit Card in Saks Fifth Avenue stores, catalogs and at saks.com. During this event, SaksFirst members will earn 2 base points plus 4 bonus points per eligible dollar spent from $1 to $4999, 4 base points plus 8 bonus points per eligible dollar spent from $5000 to $9999, and 6 base points plus 12 bonus points per eligible dollar spent thereafter, based on your calendar year-to-date net purchases. Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores, saksoff5th.com, corporate gifts and gift card purchases are not eligible for this bonus points event. Certain exclusions including some designer and licensed departments, salon products and services, alterations, restaurants, taxes, gratuities and delivery charges apply. See style advisor for full list of exclusions. Offer valid in Saks Fifth Avenue stores from 3/7/19 to 3/8/19 and on saks.com from 3/7/19 at 12:01 AM (ET) through 3/8/19 at 11:59PM (ET).
Flips: If lying low is the goal, a standard pair of flip flops, or thongs, can’t be beat. A pair slips on and off in seconds, packs easy and weighs little. In terms of comfort, leather flips are tough to beat after some breaking in but they can become slick when wet. Rubber top soles don’t compare comfort-wise, but are more utilitarian.
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.
Adidas's Handball Top is a real throwback and a true example of how great shoes were in the 1980s. Once basketball and running took over sneaker trends, soles got pretty boring. If a company wasn't trying to inject as much air as possible into the sneaker, they were just creating waves of EVA and rubber. The sole on these relatively understated kicks have vertical ridges that would be unexpected in 2018, while the upper is old school without feeling tired. The Oyster Holdings collaboration utilized muted tones for sneakers that make a statement but don't scream.
We know there are a lot of Jordan IIIs on this list (It makes sense; it is one of the very best basketball sneakers of all time.), but these "International Flight" Jordan IIIs are amazing and worthy of attention. They're not doing anything crazy—on the contrary, it's a colorway that seems like it should have released years ago. What's surprising about this sneaker is the off-white leather that dominates the upper. Jordan Brand is known for its combinations of white, black, red, and blue, so these more subtler tones add a sort of aged quality to the look in a way that's more than welcome. These are by no means classics, but they deserve recognition.
You likely don’t want to purchase our cheap sandals every year. While there are going to be a few shoes that you're going to buy simply because they are ones you cannot pass up, you're going to want to keep wearing your favorites year after year. The question is, how are you going to maintain these shoes throughout the year so they can be available to you. One of the best ways to maintain your cheap sandals is to do a little advance care. First, remember that these are shoes you're simply not going to be wearing any socks with. As a result, you're going to want to make sure that your feet are always clean before you put your shoes on.
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.