Adidas is currently engaged in a global push to reduce its carbon footprint, and one of the more interesting ways the brand has approached the issue is to be hyper-local. The new AM4 program underscores the brand's abilities at the SpeedFactories, which are manufacturing centers that operate in each of the global markets. In 2018, Adidas has toured around to major cities releasing local versions of a new BOOST runner calibrated for the aesthetics of each city. The shoes may not be the most aesthetically appealing pairs, but they promise a new future of manufacturing and that's huge.
The UltraBoost has been a homerun for Adidas year after year, but sometimes we wonder if the three stripes is resting on its laurels with that one. This year, it offered a refreshing update: the UltraBoost Clima. It quickly followed up with a Parley for the Oceans collaboration. The Clima version of the UltraBoost utilizes breathability for a ton of added texture without disrupting the silhouette that's made the sneaker so popular. The blue Parley yarn is a welcome injection of color into the otherwise entirely neutral sneaker. Plus, because the yarn is made from ocean waste, each pair of these shoes represents a cleaner planet.
Y-3's newest sneaker, the Kaiwa, represents a beautiful confluence of sneaker trends from the last couple years, all combining into one show-stopping sneaker. Y-3 is known for progressive design with technical aesthetics. While the Kaiwa employs that in the sole (which is very chunky, like many pairs that are currently popular), the upper retains the implication of significant quality that comes with a leather paneled sneaker. But the upper isn't totally traditional; it has a sock shape instead of using a tongue. All of these elements could make the sneaker too busy, but it somehow retains a near minimalism.
What started as a one-off has turned into an ongoing collaboration between Levi’s and Jordan brand. The first pair used Levi’s blue denim to cover a Jordan 4, creating the first officially sanctioned denim Jordan, years after the Jumpman created some on its own. Golden stitching and Levi’s tabs appear all over the sneaker, making for the most authentic translation from dungaree to sportswear possible. Since the first pair, we’ve seen white and black versions, too. We wouldn’t be surprised if the creative partnership continues with new colors materials or on new silhouettes.
Kendrick Lamar moving from Reebok to Nike was a natural because Nike gave him the Cortez, and nary has a combination of sneaker and artist felt more seamless. Kendrick used the opportunity to put out a series of colorways inspired by his music and evolving identity, offering a range of aesthetics. The Cortez Kenny III is the best one yet. Black, white, and red play off classic sneaker colorways, but Lamar injected the sneakers with details like Chinese characters embroidered into the toe and "BET IT BACK" printed on the tongue ribbon. It's a brilliant pairing.
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.
Sandals are best suited for shorter walks on surfaces that don't have much litter or gravel, which tends to get picked up by any sandal design. Once used to the sandals, some walkers wear them regularly for 10 kilometers or longer walks. While trail sandals are big sellers, hikers often report they are best used for daypacking or in camp rather than when carrying a heavy backpack on natural trails. That said, many long-distance walkers on the Camino de Santiago wear trail sandals some or all of the time. It is an individual choice. You should definitely try them on shorter walks before tackling long distance walks in sandals.