We’re calling it now: 2018 was the last year that Off-White sneaker collabs were able to maintain their omnipresent dominance, and one of the last releases of the year was also one of the best. We’ve seen earlier incarnations of the Zoom Fly before, but this blisteringly pink take is a neck-breaker. We’ve been living with Off-White sneaker remixes for more than a year, so the premise has become familiar and Abloh needed to raise the bar—this shade of pink does exactly that. There’s only so much that can piled onto a single design, and while this combination of “reimagined sneaker” with “bright color” approaches being too much, its just the right balance without going over.
Victor Cruz has made his transition off the field seamlessly, using his position to do good works for his community and his influence to inject more style into the lives of his fans. His first shoe in this new stage of life is the Air Force 1 Mid "V. Cruz" that elevates the shoe in every respect. Rolled edges, premium materials, and gold-toned hardware take the iconic AF1 to the next level. But what makes this a great shoe isn't just the aesthetics: Cruz has reshaped his public identity after his injury forced him off the field, and he's now a philanthropist and style magnate. These shoes represent the ability of a public figure to change and incorporate new contexts. When it comes to identity agility, Victor Cruz is a model we can all learn from, employing a skill set we all need to develop.
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.
The AlphaBounce has been a great sneaker for Adidas, opening the brand up to runners on a tighter budget. But the AlphaBounce Beyond is a whole new level. The one shortcoming of the AlphaBounce was always aesthetics; it was often an overkill combination of textures, materials, and patterns. But the new AlphaBounce Beyond edits and elevates the look to the next level. The sole design fits seamlessly into the upper, each of them playing off the same textural motifs. An arch plug adds a little bit of surprise. The Beyond demands a few dollars more than its predecessor, but it also represents more than a couple extra steps in the right direction.
“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.
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The one that fits. A particular brand or style might be popular right now, but next season, that popular brand or style could change. Your best bet is to try all the brands and styles available in your price range and pick the one that feels best. If you hear great things about a shoe, try it on. If it feels good, wear it. If not, try another style.
We know there are a lot of Jordan IIIs on this list (It makes sense; it is one of the very best basketball sneakers of all time.), but these "International Flight" Jordan IIIs are amazing and worthy of attention. They're not doing anything crazy—on the contrary, it's a colorway that seems like it should have released years ago. What's surprising about this sneaker is the off-white leather that dominates the upper. Jordan Brand is known for its combinations of white, black, red, and blue, so these more subtler tones add a sort of aged quality to the look in a way that's more than welcome. These are by no means classics, but they deserve recognition.
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.