This year saw the wide release of Adidas’s Futurecraft 4D, a true advancement in sneaker technology. Adidas has solved the problems around 3D printing, using a fast and efficient process to mass produce soles in a sustainable way. Each sole contains up to 12,000 "struts," or printed arms, that have been carefully and individually calibrated to create the most supportive sole possible. The 4D carries with it a massive price tag, but all advances come at a cost. The shoes look amazing and are honestly worth every penny.
We actually put Louis Vuitton's Archlight on our list for 2017 and the shoe didn't even drop that year. At the time we put it on our list the name hadn't been made public and all we saw were pictures. Now that we've had a year to see the shoe in action, it's good enough to make the list again (this time it's at least it’s official). The Archlight is a truly amazing in sneaker design for a few reasons, but the biggest is the most obvious: the sole. At a time when heavy, chunky soles are in vogue, Louis Vuitton has created a sole that plays with the eye to different ends: This was all about reshaping the perception of the foot and making it far more dynamic. And it works. For reconfiguring how we see our own biology, the Archlight is definitely one of the best of the year.
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.
When picking the right clothing and shoes for women, sometimes the brand makes a difference. That's why you'll find a great selection of the best names and styles in women's shoes and clothing, whether it's women's slip-ons from Skechers, The North Face jackets, OluKai flip-flops, Levi's jeans, Converse sneakers, Under Armour hoodies, or UGG slippers. Going for a more formal look? Shop Naturalizer pumps, Sam Edelman heels, Vionic slingbacks, and much more.
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.
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.
Another near subversion of a classic, the coral colorway of Nike’s Air Force 1 Foamposite Pro plays with expectations in a bright and fun way. Usually, the Air Force 1 Foamposite is marketed to the most fragile and masculine consumers in the community, so for Nike to release the shoe in a bright pink was a gauntlet thrown. This sneaker represents a challenge to consumers to expand, and that’s a challenge we can get behind. The color works great on the Foamposite material, highlighting the curves and ridges without being too abrasive.
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.
When Ronnie Fieg and Kith go big, they go big. The latest collaboration with New Balance featured an astounding six different pairs, each one with a third collaborator: United Arrows & Sons or Nonnative, brands that created some of Fieg’s own favorite New Balance collabs. The shoes are well-developed—starting with the originals as inspiration, the shoes use grays and tans as base tones and build on them with purple, pink, bright blue, and brown. The 997 acts as the base for half the shoes, but the other half is a new mashup of retro styling with more contemporary tooling. There’s a ton to choose from in this collection to meet any taste.
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.