It's a good time to be a sneaker designer, but a challenging one too. Relatively newer names, such as Li-Ning, are pushing sneaker silhouettes as far as they possibly can, transporting us to a distant sneaker future with their designs.
Sneaker designs have become so futuristic, that they now look fit for the cyber-punk-populated, barren plains of Mad Max or dystopian cityscapes of Blade Runner. But we're not complaining.
A host of recent sneaker releases have arrived dressed in fire colorways that make them look like they've been used to traverse sandy, deserted roads by someone who trades robot scraps for a living. Who knows, though, such apocalyptic environments may be closer to our reality than we think.
Whether it’s Raf Simons’ new Cylon-21 Runner, Prada’s Technical sneaker or Kiko Kostadinov’s latest ASICS sneaker, this selection shows the scope of the brave new world of footwear. It’s a world based around intricately detailed uppers, distressed luxury materials, and dusty colorways. At least look good when it all goes down in flames.
Shop some of our favorite futuristic sneakers below.
Raf Simons Cylon-21
The Black Eyed Peas said it best when they said (and I’m paraphrasing): “Raf Simons is living in 3008, we’re all just living in 2000 and late.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, don’t sleep on Raf Simons footwear. The adidas Ozweego took over a year to sell out everywhere but has become an absolute icon. The same could be true of Raf Simons’ Cylon-21.
Salomon XT-4 ADV “Tie-Dye”
Salomon’s XT-4, one of the brand’s most popular models, is technically made for trail-running, however, I can definitely see these bad boys running through the dusty plains of Mars — especially in that colorway.
032c x adidas GSG Mule
So you might be wondering why a pair of mules is considered futuristic, but a pair of mules based off of a tactical military boot used by Germany’s equivalent of SWAT most definitely fits the bill.
Rick Owens DRKSHDW x Converse Chuck 70 TURBODRK
The Converse Chuck 70 is one of the most classic sneakers, but Rick Owens’ recently-released take, takes the silhouette in a completely new direction. If they’re still wearing Converse in 3021, it’ll be these.
Prada Cloudbust Air Sneakers
Ever since the release of the Cloudbust, Prada has made some of the best, futuristic sneakers in the luxury market. This technical sneaker is no different thanks to the huge air bubble sole and stealthy upper.
ASICS FB1-S GEL-Preleus
The ASICS GEL-Preleus is technically a retro sneaker, but Kiko Kostadinov’s remix shows that old designs don’t need to stay in the past.
Nike hasn’t always hit the target when it’s tried to mix old-school designs with contemporary codes. The Overbreak, however, is honestly the best balance of both worlds.
Raf Simons Cylon-22
Like the Cylon-21 above, the Raf Simons Cylon-22 is sleek, stealthy, and you wouldn’t bat an eye if you saw it on the set of a sci-fi blockbuster. Anyone getting Dune vibes?
Mihara Yasuhiro Hank Low
In a dystopian future we hopefully don’t end up in, our sneakers will look as distorted as Mihara Yasuhiro’s designs, which take the trend of deconstruction and crank up the heat (almost literally).
Salomon S-Lab XA Apline-2 LTD
If the XT-4 is Salomon’s most popular sneaker, the S-Lab XA Alpine 2 LTD is the brand’s most technical. I could easily see this sneaker being part of a space exploration outfit in the next 50 years.
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