We don't want to confuse the two very different trends of Dad Shoes and Chunky Shoes, but the Balenciaga Triple-S represents the peak for both of them. Those trends are petering out, but we cannot deny that the Triple-S has had a massive impact, and the reverberation continues. Each chunky sneaker released since the Triple-S seems like a weak knock-off of the sneaker that truly set the tone. The year has also seen the silhouette develop and change in both look and price because the shoes sell out as quickly as Balenciaga can make them. It's truly a phenomenon.
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.
Hiking: Going big in sandals require some strapping for security. Teva and Chaco are the most common technical hiking or trekking sandals. Unlike flips, hiking sandals have straps that wrap around the heel and typically incorporate a cinch buckle for a snug fit on all types of terrain. Usually equipped with a more rugged, hiking-shoe-style outsole, such as Vibram rubber, hiking sandals also have a stiffer midsole that makes difficult tasks like scrambling or launching canoes safer. The toe on hikers is usually more robust and some people prefer sizing up a half-size for a bigger buffer between their little piggies and obstacles. The “Hiking” style sandal has been widely adopted by kayakers and rafters after years of losing flip flops in rapids and twisting ankles during portages.
Huaraches: A recent arrival to the mainstream market but tried-and-true for centuries is the huarache sandal. A mix between a flip and a hiking sandal, these ultra-light sandals are composed of a simple rubber sole (typically Vibram) and narrow webbing that splits the big toe like a flip and hugs the heel and cinches like a hiker. The simplicity of these sandals, with the omission of top and midsoles, makes huaraches the closest option to going barefoot. Some folks run 100-mile endurance races in these, but the weight and design also makes them great as a packable and versatile sandal.
At first blush, the Travis Scott Air Force 1s with Nike don't seem like much. In fact, they might even seem familiar because the silhouette was introduced late last year. But if you take a closer look, you'll see how special this version actually is. The canvas-like upper lends itself beautifully to customization, something we've already seen work out gloriously. But the shoe goes even further. The unique piping all over the sneaker is colored 3M, and the swooshes are removable; each sneaker comes with a collection of different swooshes made from different materials that can be swapped out depending on your mood. These Travis Scott Air Force 1s end up representing our favorite kind of footwear—the kind where there's more than meets the eye and invites a personal touch.