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.
When you get to the level of Alexander Wang, there's a confidence of design that seeps through into every piece. That confidence is on full display here. On paper the Puff Trainer shouldn't make any sense: the shoe features a quilted puffer upper with lacing that attaches to the sole and ties behind the heel, a sock entry (usually reserved for speedy, summer-based runners), and a color combination of black, maroon, and neon green. But when expertly balanced with appropriate restraint and flourish, the shoes are an achievement. Not to mention the sole unit is a show-stopper on its own. The sneaker is impressive from toe to heel, and is far and away one of the best offerings from 2018.
Since we started reviewing online shoe stores in 2016 we have spent over 30 hours exploring their features, their inventory, service policies and online support. We feel confident about our recommendations as a result. At some point, we contacted each of the stores in our lineup with various questions related to our findings and to clarify things we had a limited understanding of. The stores had no input or influence over our testing methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available by reading our reviews online. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Outer Sole: Specialized rubber manufacturers like Vibram offer durable treads for hiking and portaging over rough terrain. Stealth Rubber, featured in Five Ten climbing shoes and Astral river shoes, is designed to stick to rocks to keep you on your feet in the current. You can spend days researching rubbers but at the end of the day, reputable brands use excellent proprietary sole materials.
As with any walking shoes, you need to go to the experts to get properly fitted. A top quality outdoors store will have a selection of trail sandals, and a top quality running shoe store will have some running sandals. Another option is The Walking Company, which will also provide a digital foot analysis and has sandals available with different footbeds for different needs. Visit, get fitted, and compare prices both online and in the shop.
Always one to turn its sneaker releases into a massive event, Miami’s own SoleFly provides collaborations at minuscule scales. The numbers are always super small, forcing intense competition to grab pairs—and this year’s Air Jordan 1s for Art Basel fit that same mold. They made two pairs: one incredibly limited in patent leather, and another slightly less limited in smooth leather. Both pairs played with orange, green, and black in different ways, inspired by the store’s official colors and the color-blocking of OG Jordans, but the patent leather pair was next level. The “Art Basel Black” will join the SoleFly Jordan IIIs, and others, as some of the rarest sneakers in the game.
Closed Toe: Sandal manufacturers such as KEEN have heeded the cries of stubbed toes by extending the sandal outsole up and around the front portion of the foot to create a rubber shield for ultimate toe protection. Closed toe sandals are ideal for hiking and fording fast rivers where there is a higher likelihood that you will bash your feet on a rock. Closed toe sandals offer superior toe protection with the only downside being that debris can collect in the toe area.
It would be a lie to say that there's nothing special about the Court Purple and Pine Green Air Jordan 1s. Sort of. It's actually their simplicity that makes them special. The Jordan 1 is arguably the sneaker that launched all of sneaker culture, and while classic colorways are what sneakerheads use to measure the truth of the industry, the recent new colorways from Jordan Brand have been quickly metabolized into the mainstream. Both green and purple are colors that the larger brands seldom use in popular sneaker designs, so to see both of them used as major shades on the Jordan 1 the same week was a great move for everyone.
Outdoor, adventurous types can pick up a pair of weatherproof hiking boots, perfect for taming nature’s unexpected weather events. If you’re more of a concrete adventurer, slip into some rubber rain boots and keep your socks dry just as well. For a more ideal day when the sun is shining, zip up your fashionable booties, riding boots or motorcycle boots and connect with your inner fashionista. Match up your interests or hobbies to your style of footwear and find the ideal pair of boots for your one-of-a-kind lifestyle. Whether you’re treading on soil or pavement, your feet and your wallet will thank you.
The one that fits. A particular brand or style might be popular right now, but next season, that popular brand or style could change. Your best bet is to try all the brands and styles available in your price range and pick the one that feels best. If you hear great things about a shoe, try it on. If it feels good, wear it. If not, try another style.
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.