Nike’s Air Max line is a staple in the industry and it grows each year as the family expands. Some silhouettes stick around, like the Air Max 90, while others from more recent years fall away. This year, the brand introduced the Air Max 270. It was so named for the 270-degree air bubble at the heel, a design that seems poised to stand the test of time. One of the first releases of the sneaker was this Black Pack that employed black uppers as the neutral counter to a bevy of bright colors on the bubble. After all, that bubble is the heart of the sneaker. This pack is still the best usage of the silhouette to introduce it to the world, and these will be considered classics for the 270's archive.
“The Ten” Collection from Nike and Off-White that launched last year expanded in 2018, going way beyond the original list of 10 pairs. The first expansion was a European-only release of the remixed Air Jordan 1 done up in bright white from toe to heel. Plus, a couple hits of purple to make you feel like royalty. This was the original colorway Abloh designed for the 2017 collection, but the brands decided to stick with Chicago for the launch to classify the sneaker as an immediate success. It worked. The OG Chicago colorway and these white pairs continue to inspire thirst.
We don't know how much time is left with the ongoing collaboration between Air Jordan and Drake's OVO brand, but each one of their releases has been a banger—even if you're not a fan of the rapper. Much energy has gone into speculating about Drake's relationship with Jordan Brand (and the possibility that he's moving over to Adidas), but regardless of where he ends up, the sophisticated color combinations of black, white, and gold have graced a number of classic Jordans. These black and white versions of the Jordan 8 are elevated staples. These will never go out of style, even if Drake's with the three stripes this time next year.
The sneaker community is split pretty drastically around the Legacy 312, and we understand why: The shoes represent a mash-up of some of the most beloved sneakers in the Nike and Jordan archives. Intensely nostalgic sneakerheads have called the combination Don C put together a travesty, but if you're willing to look forward, there's a lot to appreciate about the shoes. Depending on the colorway you grab, the shoes can be bold or subtle, a mirror of how you can see these sneakers as retro inspired or entirely new. There are more colorways of this sneaker coming that haven’t released yet so stay tuned.
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.
If you know Bape, you know it rips heritage designs from other companies, but that's also sort of their thing. Also sort of why we love them. The Bapesta is a shameless rip-off of the Air Force 1, and while Bape consistently puts Bapestas out year after year, it's far rarer that we see them in Bape's iconic "1st Camo." The 1st Camo is the graphic camouflage that made Bape famous, so the combination of camo and sneaker promised a firestorm of hype. And the shoes made good on that promise. Even if you're not caught in the hype, they have a unique charm to them and will ultimately prove to be one of the best releases of the year.
Sandals give you the comfort of being barefoot and the confidence of a bit of protection. Once reserved for post-hike fires and lazy days at the beach, sandals have earned a reputation as versatile footwear that are as perfect for burly trails as they are for the office (at least if you work at The Clymb!) and scrambling down bluffs in search of the next break.
It's never a bad time for a gold sneaker, and the combination of gold and patent leather on these Jordan 1s is a winner. To be fair, the Top 3 Gold 1s from 2017 were slightly better, but this more conservative take on the look is a great consolation pair. The funny thing about sneakers like the Patent Gold Toe Jordan 1 is that, as much as they feel luxe, they also feel accessible. These sneakers can take you anywhere. They may even help you fly like Mike.
Another entry in the reappearing retro runners, the latest collaboration between Supreme and Nike took the surprising form of the Zoom Streak Spectrum Plus. They feature the classic combination of mesh and leather in sharp waves across the upper. Not satisfied enough with the old-school material design, each colorway is covered in flames. The effect is at once respectful of the past, while also giving it a cheeky update. These were by no means Supreme’s most popular collaboration, but they’re fresh and fit squarely into what the industry has been up to this year.
It's no secret that the Air Max 270 Bowfin is one of the stranger silhouettes that released this year, but it suddenly made sense when we caught the Atomic Violet colorway. The shoes are wild: The uppers are a mess of materials with an attached tongue, a ribbon-constructed lacing system that culminates in a lacelock, and even a ripstop top that acts as a shield for the rest of the shoe. The sole is a triumph on its own: texture and line come together with a bright mudguard, and then a 270-degree air bubble at the heel. There are subtler colorways of the kicks, but with a blend of lavender, pink, mustard, white, and black, the details of the shoe are elevated and we get to see what makes it truly unique.