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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.
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.
Prize Drawings. One (1) prize will be awarded for each month during the Promotion Period (“Monthly Period”). To be eligible for a prize, entries must be received between 12 a.m. ET on the first day of the Monthly Period and 11:59 p.m. ET on the last day of the Monthly Period. Winners will be determined within three (3) weeks after each Monthly Period, in a random drawing from eligible entries received during that Monthly Period. Potential winners will be notified within three (3) days of the drawing by e-mail, and may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility/liability release. A prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner selected if the prize notification is returned to Sponsor as undeliverable, or if the selected entrant: (a) does not respond to the prize notification within three (3) business days, (b) does not meet eligibility criteria, or (c) does not fully comply with these rules. Prizes. Twelve (12) Monthly Prizes: each consisting of a $125 electronic gift certificate valid towards the purchase of any merchandise at www.catfootwear.com. Prizes are non-transferable and cannot be substituted or redeemed for cash except in the sole discretion of Sponsor, which reserves the right to substitute a prize or equal or greater value. Gift certificates expire 90 days after issuance. Eligibility. No Purchase Necessary to Enter or Win. Must be 18 years or older at the time of entry and a legal resident of the United States. Void where prohibited by law. Employees of Sponsor and its licensed dealers, agents and affiliates, and such employees’ immediate families are ineligible. Immediate family members include relatives living at the same address as an employee. All national, federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. General. Acceptance of a prize constitutes the winner’s consent to the use of their name and/or likeness for advertising without additional compensation, where not prohibited by law. All taxes and other expenses are the sole responsibility of the winners. Sponsor is not responsible for and shall not be liable for: (a) illegible, incomplete, damaged, misdirected, stolen, late, or lost entries; (b) errors or delays in entering; (c) any condition caused by events beyond the control of the Sponsor which may cause the Sweepstakes to be disrupted or corrupted; and (d) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by the prize or resulting from acceptance or use of the prize, or from participation in the Sweepstakes. Any entrant attempting to defraud or in any way tamper with this Contest, including but not limited to using automated processes for entry, will be ineligible. If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as originally planned, Sponsor at its sole discretion reserves the right to modify or cancel the Contest. Sponsor/Administrator. The Sponsor/Administrator of the Promotion is Cat® Footwear, a part of Wolverine World Wide, Inc., 9341 Courtland Drive NE, Rockford, Michigan 49351 (“Sponsor”). Winner. The names of Prize winners may be requested by sending Sponsor a self-addressed, stamped envelope, attn: Cat® Footwear Monthly Enter to Win Contest, by December 31, 2019. Privacy Policy. By participating in this Contest, entrants accept and agree to Sponsor’s Privacy Policy, located at www.catfootwear.com, including receiving marketing messages as further set forth in such policy.
We’re glad you asked. Look at the bottom of the shoe. If there is one continuous sole heel-to-toe, that’s a unisole. If there are two distinct sole pieces — one at the front and one at the heel — that’s a split sole. Unisoles generally provide greater grip while the split sole is generally more flexible. This is kind of a big deal because wrestlers invariably prefer one over the other. Best advice, though, is to go with the one that feels best when you try them on and test them out a bit. If you find your choice doesn’t live up to expectations, try the other style the next time you buy shoes.

Pharrell caught some flack for this "Blank Canvas" collection with Adidas, offering white knit versions of everything from the Stan Smith to his signature Running Hu. The problem: They were released as a canvas around the Hindu holiday of Holi, where bright powders are launched into the air to fill the world with color. Whether it was an act of appropriation or reverence is a debate for another time. Either way, the sneakers were a very fresh option and set the scene for popular customization like we'd see later on the Off-White Air Prestos.
You were probably surprised when you saw Brooklyn-based sneaker brand Greats created a collaborative sneaker with Showtime hit show Billions. We were too. Greats is all about getting high-quality Italian craftsmanship at an affordable price, and when collaborating with a show about how money changes people and relationships, they leaned in. The sneakers are subtle, with a black suede upper, waxed laces, and an off-white sole, but it's the sockliner that tells the story. "What's the point of having FUCK YOU MONEY if you never say 'FUCK YOU'," is printed on the inside of the sneaker to help remind you who you are with every step.
Supreme got back with Nike on some Air Force 1s that, while maybe not the most sought-after pairs of the year, have grabbed their share of attention. Covered in NBA logos from toe to heel, the sneakers are practically a hot mess. But they are also an amazing play on the overbranding trend of this year. These pairs will go down as one of the most recognizable sneakers of the year and remind for us of what 2018 was all about.

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.
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.
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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.

The Yeezy brand has taken a status hit this year, with a dizzying amount of releases in super high volumes, fronted by Kanye—who has become an embattled figure in his own right. But in terms of aesthetics, the Mauve Yeezy Boost 700 represents a high watermark in design. The right tones of deep purple are on grand display thanks to the textural variations of leather and suede, and get just the right break from two hits of neon green. If you can separate style from politics, these are the best sneakers from Kanye and Adidas in years.
Stock up on strappy sandals for women from GoJane and you'll save so much, you'll have some extra cash to get a pedicure to complete the look. Flat, strappy sandals are a must-have in any girl's warm weather wardrobe, mainly because they go with pretty much anything. Neutral sandals will give you that classy look that's perfect to wear with a sundress, while shimmery metallic sandals add a touch of glam that can even go from day to night.
If you want wear your strappy sandals for a hot date or all of those summer parties on the beach, GoJane also carries wedge sandals that will elongate your legs and bring a breezy summer style to your favorite outfit. Flip flop wedge sandals are the perfect blend of casual and dressy, while wedge sandals with tribal prints, tassels and floral prints add a pop of color and texture that looks straight off the runway.

Each year in sneaker hierarchy can be measured in technical innovation just as well as hype or style. This year, Jordan Brand applied Flyknit technology to the Air Jordan III, a move that required amazing dexterity and development when it comes to creating new textures from the material. The III is famous for combining smooth and tumbled leathers with the legendary elephant skin print. Jordan was able to get all those textures, and more, in 3D out of the Flyknit, making for a sneaker—and a process—that combines old and new.
Pharrell caught some flack for this "Blank Canvas" collection with Adidas, offering white knit versions of everything from the Stan Smith to his signature Running Hu. The problem: They were released as a canvas around the Hindu holiday of Holi, where bright powders are launched into the air to fill the world with color. Whether it was an act of appropriation or reverence is a debate for another time. Either way, the sneakers were a very fresh option and set the scene for popular customization like we'd see later on the Off-White Air Prestos.
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.
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.
LeBron James put his money where his mouth is for the latest incarnation of his namesake sneaker. Every year he gets the opportunity to start a massive conversation when he releases his latest shoe, and this year he released the very first LeBron 16 with a design by Harlem Fashion Row: a collective of female designers of color lead by Brandice Daniels. Undra Celeste, Kimberly Goldson and Fe Noel. They blended their styles and processes to create a sneaker that works no matter who is wearing it, but delivers a message that breaks barriers not only in opportunities for designers but also in expectations from consumers.
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.
It wouldn't be overly self-important to say that sneaker culture started in the U.S. and has lead the industry since the community really got rolling in the '80s. But now, that community is now global, and it's about time the brands really played to each of those markets. This spring, Jordan Brand created a pair of Jordan 3s for Seoul Korea to celebrate the Olympics. On a quick look, they look like a strange version of the True Blues or maybe White Cements. But upon closer inspection, you'll notice they're a play on the Korean flag, with the actual flag elements appearing as embroidery on the tongue. They're a very subtle flex, considering not many pairs of them exist in the world.

A-Cold-Wall*’s Air Force 1 from 2016 is this writer’s favorite sneaker of the last decade, so any related follow-up is going to land squarely on this list. What made the original such an incredible pair was how it took fresh out-of-the-box lacing and turned that into the default for a pair of Forces—it formalized a counter-culture aesthetic into the only option. The Low version released at the end of this year continues the same lacing pattern with a mostly smooth upper that approximates the panels of the high. We’ve lost some of the textures off the original, but ACW has hit it out of the park again thanks to their grasp on how sneaker culture interacts with the wider world.


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.


It’s been more than a decade since The Devil Wears Prada, and we’ve traveled more than time since that window opened into the fashion industry. With Jordan’s new women’s brand up and running, Vogue left its mark on this duo of Jordan IIIs. Each has a unique texture that offers real depth, but the achievement is a women’s line that’s strong and expressive, while providing sneakers that are covetable without being desperately "girly." These represent a cultural win on multiple fronts.
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