Since 2019 isn't over and there are undoubtedly plenty of more hot releases to come, we're ending our celebratory look at the best sneakers of the Stadium Goods era here with 2018. Our third full year in business was another great one, both in respects to our own continued growth in the culture and, of course, another epic slate of releases throughout the year. 2018 was the year of some of the biggest collaborations we've all seen yet, with chart-topping rappers, respected boutiques, and former-thrift-shoppers-gone-famous-influencers all responsible for some of the most hyped releases of the year. As a matter of fact, three of our four picks for the most significant drops of the year below are all collabs. In celebration of our 4th anniversary, here are the four best sneakers of 2018.
First making a name for himself as a vintage streetwear and sneaker connoisseur and uncanny ability to find gems at thrift stores, Sean Wotherspoon is now known across the world for his outstanding Air Max creation. His hybrid Air Max 97 and Air Max 1 built in multicolored corduroy won Nike's "RevolutionAIR" contest in March 2017, which featured creatives from around the world mocking up their own unique Air Max designs; the winning vote-getter had their concept become a reality. The shoe was actually ready to go by the end of 2017, and Wotherspoon drove around LA in a customized van giving away free pairs. We're considering it a 2018 release, however, since it wasn't available at retail until the Air Max Day festivities for last year. Thanks to insane hype and very limited quantities, it instantly became one of the most memorable releases of the decade.
Travis Scott's rise to superstardom (and entrance into the Kardashian clan) coincided perfectly with his ascension into the status of Nike's most high-profile collaborator. His baby blue take on the Air Jordan 4 wasn't the first and certainly isn't the last of his designs, but when it's all said and done, this will likely be considered his quintessential sneaker.
When two Air Jordans are better than one. Los Angeles boutique Union snuck in one of 2018's best releases in at the last minute, dropping the two-colorway pack of Air Jordans 1s with a unique chop-and-sew construction that combines two original colorways into one. The concept was inspired by Union founder Chris Gibbs's affinity for vintage Jordan 1s found at flea markets in weathered and worn out condition. Also in a "Storm Blue" colorway, the Union x Jordan 1 in a "Black Toe" base with the never-retroed white and grey Jordan 1 for the ankle has become the favorite of the set for most collectors.
Jerry Lorenzo is no new face in the cultures of streetwear and sneakers, but 2018 saw his hard work and passion come to a head when his inaugural collaboration with Nike Sportswear was released. The obvious highlight of the partnership was the Nike Air Fear of God 1, a beautifully designed high-top that blurs the lines between a performance basketball shoe and streetwear silhouette. With this model under his belt along with the Fear of God Moccasin and Fear of God Raid, we're ready to see what else Mr. Lorenzo comes up with next.