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.

After Lance Mountain brought a layered customization to the Jordan 1 and Virgil Abloh tore it apart and sewed it back together, Nigel Sylvester took those bold moves and blended them into subtler, personal flourishes on his latest collaboration. Taking inspiration from how his own pairs look after being heavily worn, the result is a sophisticated design with alluring details, and definitely a top pick from the year.
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.
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If 2018 represented the transition from bold design to subtlety, few projects straddle that change as well as the Paris Saint-Germain collaboration with Air Jordan. The partnership resulted in two pairs: a Jordan V and a Jordan 1, but we're only including the V on this list because it's the one that did the most. At first blush, the shoe doesn't look so different from the classic Black/Metallic colorway, just rendered even darker. The tongue and quarter have been transitioned from grey to black, and an inclusion of "75" is embroidered at the heel. The shifts are subtle enough that the shoes catch the attention of older sneaker heads, but have the added hype details to make the younger generation take notice. This is what we're looking forward to in the future of sneaker collaborations.
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.
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