It's a good time to be a sneaker designer, but a challenging one too. Relatively newer names, such as Li-Ning and Eytys 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, Axel Arigato's Marathon Runner, or Boris Bidjan Saberi's Bamba 2, 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 up in flames.
Shop some of our favorite futuristic sneakers below.
Axel Arigato Marathon Dip-Dye Sneakers
Axel Arigato's silhouettes stretch from the positively understated through to dystopian maximalism as exemplified by the Marathon. This dip-dyed iteration is set for post-apocalyptic stomps.
Burberry Arthur Sneakers
It seems odd to be classing one of heritage house Burberry's designs as futuristic or, even, dystopian. But, when it comes to the Arthur, it'd be justified. This trail-style sneaker proves how comfortable Burberry is with the fast-evolving tastes in footwear.
Li-Ning Essence 2 Sneakers
Li-Ning has set up shop in the midst of the sneaker-style revolution. The designer's unmistakably future-facing pieces focus on complex upper builds with unorthodox lacing systems for their distinctive style.
Y-3 Ultraboost 22 Sneakers
Yohji Yamamoto's Y-3 imprint has long given adidas silhouettes the futuristic treatment. This time around, the Three Stripes' Ultraboost 22 is updated with a crisscrossing elastic lacing system to complement the chunky Boost sole unit.
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.
1017 ALYX 9SM Mono Slip On
Matthew Williams' footwear output is never anything less than striking and the Mono Slip-On is no departure. In a full silver hue, the spaceship-ready design is already in our apocalypse suitcase.
Eytys Aphex Mamba Sneakers
Eytys introduced the Fugu sneaker last season which took a hold of our psyche with its spiky sole unit inspired by the poisonous pufferfish. Now, we're treated to the same bold sole unit with a high-top upper in the Aphex Mamba Sneakers.
HOKA One One Clifton L Sneakers
HOKA One One's sneakers might not feel that futuristic now, but that's mostly because we've grown accustomed to the highly technical platform sole units. When the label first began propagating its bulbous styles, they were impossible to miss. This alternating color palette — different on right and left feet — resurrects the unmissability of the Californian brand.
Balenciaga Runner Sneakers
You've no doubt seen the Balenciaga Runner everywhere since it was previewed on the feet of Justin Bieber last year. Although inspired by '90s and '00s training kicks, this pair — complete with distressed rips and mismatched panels — falls comfortably into the futuristic sneakers category.
11 by Boris Bidjan Saberi x Salomon Bamba 2 Sneakers
Boris Bidjan Saberi has been working in tandem with Salomon for a long time without ever gaining the recognition that we think he deserves. The Bamba 2 is easily one of our favorite futuristic sneakers on the market right now, and it's not just because of its amazing distressed colorways.
adidas Originals x Craig Green Phormar Sneakers
Many of the futuristic sneakers in today's roundup are the product of a luxury-sportswear collaboration. This one is, too. Craig Green's futuristic utility takes center stage as we get the latest edition of the Phormar Sneakers.
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