We’re still quite fresh into the year, but it’s never too early to take a closer look at the best sneakers of 2018 so far, so you can remain updated 365 days of the year.
Although this year still has a number of big drops in-store from all of the footwear brands we cover here on Highsnobiety, we have included a handful of sneakers below that could take the title of “Sneaker of the Year” in our end-of-year Highsnobiety Crowns, which will be rolled out later in December.
While we will keep this list updated with the best sneakers of 2018, here is a selection of the best drops of the year (so far), including highlights from Air Jordan, adidas, Nike and more.
Levi’s x Nike Air Jordan IV
It’s not that first time that these two iconic American companies have linked up, but Levi’s and Nike put their heads together to re-work the Air Jordan IV in January. The mid-top basketball silhouette was re-worked entirely in denim, right down to the shoe’s cage, sole insert and laces. Usually found on the waistband of all Levi’s denim, the classic “Levi Strauss & Co” label appears on the sneaker’s tongue, with a Jumpman logo in place of the Levi’s two horse logo.
COMME des GARÇONS x Nike Air Max 180
Most collaborations can’t survive a single season, but COMME des GARÇONS and Nike have been going hard for literally decades, and it’s a worth taking note any time the two brands come together. Shown on the runway during the SS18 shows at Paris Fashion Week, the vivid Air Max 180 eventually released in a trio of colorways with pink used as the foundation of each sneaker. The sneakers were released exclusively at Dover Street Market as well as select retail partners.
Nike Air Max 98 “Gundam”
After the return of the somewhat mysterious Air Max 98 via a Supreme collaboration in 2016, new colorways started to land in early 2018. The “Gundam” colorawy is a nod to the RX-78-2 from the popular Gundam sci-fi series, featuring a blue and white upper with red details, including a red full-length air unit; a colorway that is perfectly suited to the vintage ’90s silhoeutte.
BVG x adidas Originals EQT 93/17
German transit company Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) teamed up with adidas for a very special EQT 93/17 that doubles as a train ticket. Decorated with the Flecktarn-inspired camouflage pattern found throughout Berlin’s U-Bahn train network, the EQT also featured a Jahreskarte (yearly train ticket) on the tongue, which is quite a clever design detail, if you ask us. While the sneaker’s price-tag was around $215 USD, the cost of a yearly ticket in Berlin is substantially more, at around $950 USD.
Dior Homme B22
Since the chunky sneaker trend has started to pick up steam, a number of luxury brands have weighed in with their own versions, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and others. Created by Dior Homme’s Kris Van Assche, the B22 silhouette is perhaps the most balanced example of the trend, featuring exaggerated proportions that find harmony with the shoe’s sporty aesthetic. Rope laces, well-appointed color blocking and a subtle Dior Homme badge round out the look.
Nike Air Jordan III “Black Cement”
Other than the original Air Jordan 1, the “Black Cement” III is surely the second most-important sneaker in the Jordan franchise. The first basketball sneaker to feature a visible air bubble, and the first design to feature the now-iconic cement print, Tinker Hatfield’s Jordan III design essentially saved the Air Jordan range, convincing the Chicago Bulls superstar to stay with Nike, instead of departing for adidas.
Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS GEL-BURZ 1
Merging elements from the brand’s GEL-NIMBUS 20 and GEL-VENTURE 6, Kostadinov’s take on the GEL-BURZ arrived in a trio of colorways. The shoe was an instant hit among discerning sneakerheads, however the shoe’s design is pure performance, featuring proprietary ASICS technology like FlyteFoam, and GEL cushioning throughout.
New Balance MADE 990v4 “1982”
When the first 990 was released in 1982, it came with an advertising campaign that noted: “Out of 1000, this shoe is a 990.” In April 2018, New Balance brought back the 990 in its signature grey colorway, complete with the original retail price of $100. While the shoe is now priced closer to $200 (a justifiable price given the quality and comfort of the shoe), New Balance slashed the price in half, celebrating the limited re-issue in 15 select cities, a feat which will not be duplicated soon, if ever.
Virgil Abloh x Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star
While nine of Virgil Abloh’s deconstructed sneaker designs from “The Ten” released last year in 2017, delays with the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star pushed the shoe’s release back until May 12. One of the most compelling and Instagrammable designs from Abloh and Nike, the re-worked Chucks featured a translucent upper, inverted Converse heel badge, “VULCANIZED” branding on the midsole, and asymmetrical toe details showing “LEFT” on the right foot, and vice versa.
The Broken Arm x Salomon XT-4
Perhaps not a collaboration for the hype crowd, Parisian boutique The Broken Arm and performance outerwear brand Salomon re-worked the trail-ready XT-4 in a fashion-friendly gradient colorway. The XT-4 keeps all its performance utility via a quick-lace closure and agressive outerwear tread. The duo started their collaboration in 2015, when the crossover between a curated boutique and a performance mountaineering brand was yet unheard of. Now the collaboration has cemented itself as one of the most progressive in the industry.
Nike React Element 87
Nike’s React Element 87 sneaker is named after the periodic element Francium, which is the 87th (and most explosive) element on the table. The sleek shoe features Nike’s React cushioning foam, saddled with a lightweight, transparent upper, and thoughtful details like an asymmetrical tongue. The shoe’s overall aesthetic borrows from Nike’s Internationalist (the tongue, toe, and heel clip) and select features from the more modern Zoom Fly SP.
Sneakerheads went into a frenzy when leaked images of a collaborative UNDERCOVER React Element 87 surfaced, however general release versions hit shelves first, as a strong consolation prize. The initial “Sail” and “Anthracite Black” colorways were released in June and July, both of which sold out almost immediately.
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