When trying to determine the biggest trends in the sneaker world over the last 12 months, few are more clear than the current fascination brands and collectors have with transparency. Everywhere you look, it's likely you'll be able to literally look right through somebody's sneakers. Nike in particular is a big fan of the clear sneaker trend. Ever since Virgil Abloh's "The Ten" collection hit the market in late 2017, the brand has been replicating the aesthetic with a number of other models featuring the clear synthetic material utilized by the Off-White set.
The most notable transparent sneaker of 2018 was the Nike React Element 87, which instantly became a top contender for best debut model of the year when it released this summer and helped set the see-through trend for the following months. Reviewing the year's transparent sneakers, we've picked out all the rest of the most successful designs that dropped during 2018 and recapped them below in no particular order. And if our foresight is correct, we predict you'll be looking right through plenty more new models in 2019.
The React Element 87 broke onto the scene this summer and was a smash hit thanks to its technical performance-meets-fashion design that took full advantage of the clear material across its upper. Of course, the limited supplies certainly didn't hurt its appeal, but even if it had dropped in mass quantities, it would still be one of the year's most notable, trend-setting releases — especially thanks to the four-colorway Undercover collaboration.
Originally scheduled to release within the historic "The Ten" collection from Virgil Abloh and Nike, the lone Converse model included was delayed until May 2018, which of course, did nothing to hurt its appeal. In fact, its standalone launch likely increased its allure, as it would have surely been overshadowed by many of the other models within the massively-hyped set. Of all 2018's see-through sneakers this is certainly the clearest of them all, featuring the clear film for its entire upper with a translucent outsole to match.
The Zoom Fly SP debuted in 2017 as one of the first hints of the upcoming see-through trend to come. The performance runner with a lifestyle-minded makeover hit its full stride in 2018, arriving in a wide range of general release and collaborative editions throughout the year.
Even LeBron James and Nike Basketball joined the clear sneaker party, releasing the LeBron Icon designed by menswear virtuoso John Elliott. The unique design features Nike's favorite transparent material embroidered and printed with contrasting black lines across the upper, resulting in one of the cleanest models yet in LeBron's long line of sneakers.
Whether it was a direct response to Nike's clear sneakers or a coincidence, Kanye West is also set to drop his own see-through colorway of the famous Yeezy Boost 350 v2. Almost modified enough to warrant being designated the "Version 3," the silhouette gets an updated Primeknit upper that infuses clear thread for the large side stripes. Fans are definitely ready to get their hands on a pair when they officially drop later this month (or in early 2019).