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.
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