With 2018 in the rear view, I wanted to take a look back at all of the sneaker drops and compile a list of the 10 best. Last year was a HUGE year for sneakerheads, with 30 Jordan 1 releases, several Yeezy restocks, and the return of the grails: the Jordan 3 Black Cement and the Jordan 11 Concord. So as I started looking back and jotting down my favorite releases, I realized I couldn’t limit myself and expand the list to the top 25.
Shoes that did not make the cut that some people might cry about: Any Yeezy 700 or 500, Any Adidas NMD HU Pharrell, Any Parra x Nike Air Max, Adidas Yeezy 350 v2 “Frozen Yellow”, and the Nike Air Fear of God 1. No disrespect to anyone who has love for these kicks, I personally don’t feel like they belong anywhere near the top 25, even though I own a few myself.
Honorable Mentions: Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High University Blue released 6/23/18, Nigel Sylvester x Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High, Diamond Supply Co. x Nike SB White Diamond, Diamond Supply Co. x Nike SB Canary Diamond, Levi’s x Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro White Denim, Levi’s x Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Black Denim, Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro “Best Hand in the Game” Pack (all colors), Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro “Not For Resale” Varsity Red and Varsity Maize, Union x Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High Blue, Alexander Wang x Adidas Turnout Trainer Core Black, and the Adidas Yeezy 350 v2 “Sesame” and “Zebra”. I’m a fan of all of these, just not as much as the kicks below.
And now, without further ado, here are your top 25 sneakers of 2018:
25. Don C x Nike Air Jordan Legacy 312 Storm Blue released 7/14/18
Alright, alright. I know what you’re thinking. “Fuck this list, these joints are trash.” I admit, Don C and Jordan brand created some sort of Frankenstein’s monster of a sneaker with these, but a couple of the OG colorways go hard, especially the Storm Blue. Sneakerheads on social media seem to overwhelmingly hate the silhouette, but every time I wear a pair of Legacy 312s I get multiple compliments. I think these are fire.
24. Neighborhood x Adidas I-5923 released 9/1/18
Overpriced and underhyped, the Nieghborhood x Adidas Iniki Runner is a beautiful shoe. These can be copped at about half the original retail price on most resale sites right now, and are my personal favorite of the silhouette.
23. Nike Air Jordan 33 Future of Flight released 10/18/18
Easily the best Jordan in years (since the 13s in my opinion), the Jordan 33 Future of Flight comes packaged in a beautiful box. The sneakers themselves are extremely comfortable, and feature a laceless pull to tighten and release mechanism that is revolutionary for basketball shoes. I don’t know if I’d hit the court with these, but my feet feel great after standing for 7 hours at work when I rock the Future of Flights.
22. Atmos x Nike Air Max 1 Animal Pack 2.0 released 3/17/18
I’m a sucker for anything Atmos, and this crazy mashup is no exception. Just a well executed sneaker with African safari vibes. These will turn heads no matter where you wear ’em.
21. Neighborhood x Adidas NMD R1 Core Black released 2/24/18
The NMD R1 was the sneaker to own in 2016, but an oversaturated market in 2017 killed the vibe. I still love this collaboration with Neighborhood, giving the NMD R1 an aggressive look.
20. Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Shadow” released 4/14/18
Just a clean shoe and a must-have for any sneakerhead. Plain and simple.
19. Acronym x Nike Air Presto Mid “Cool Grey” released 9/20/18
The original Acronym x Nike Air Presto Mids topped sneaker of the year lists when they dropped in 2016, and will run you about 3x retail if you want to cop an OG pair. The 2nd run in 2018 kinda sat on shelves, but I still love these cool greys that you can cop for about retail price on the secondary market.
18. Diamond Supply Co. x Nike SB Dunk Black Diamond released 11/8/18
The OG Diamond Supply Co. x Nike SB collab is a grail for most. I’ve owned em, sold em, rebought em, sold and rebought again (they’re currently sitting in my closet next to these), so I was hyped when I heard there were 3 more colorways of the lows dropping. Out of the 3, I prefer the black over the white and the impossible to acquire canary yellow. The removable swoosh reveals that tiffany blue us sneakerheads have come to know and love.
17. Nike Air Jordan 3 Flyknit Black released 8/15/18
I’m in the minority but I feel like these flyknit 3s are straight fire. The glow bottom really sets them off. This release was scheduled for early in the year and got pushed back to August. Jordan brand making me wait probably influenced me to like these even more.
16. Travis Scott x Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro “Cactus Jack” released 6/9/18
Travis Scott is going to own 2019. The fire he has coming out might make me forget about this baby blue 4 that is simply underrated by most.
15. Levi’s x Nike Air Jordan 4 Blue Denim released 1/17/18
By now I’m sure you see the trend, collaborations were hot in 2018. Levi’s and Nike Air Jordan teamed up for 3 colorways of denim 4s this past year, none hotter than the OG blue denim.
14. Kith x Nike LeBron Performance 15 “Closing Ceremony” released 8/31/18
Very difficult to cop as bots seem to own Kith launches, these LeBron 15s are a work of art.
13. Nike Air Jordan 3 NRG JTH released 2/4/18
Dropping during halftime of the Super Bowl, Justin Timberlake debuted a new version of the Jordan 3 we hadn’t seen before. Who would have thought adding a swoosh to this iconic silhouette would really set it off? While I couldn’t get my hand on a pair, I did cop a few of the Nike Air Jordan 3 Tinker NRG released 3/24/18 which I love.
12. Adidas Yeezy 350 v2 “Static” released 12/27/18
Released in a reflective limited run and a wider non-reflective release, the Static Yeezy 350 v2s are the best colorway of the year, hands down.
11. Nike SB Dunk High Bred released 11/23/18
Simple shoe overlooked by many, this SB High has Jordan 11 Bred vibes. I’m a huge fan.
10. Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro White Cement “Free-throw Line” released 2/14/18
Paying homage to MJ’s iconic dunk contest free-throw line dunk, these 3s are fire, and hard to get. If I didn’t have so many 3’s, I would have paid resale for these.
9. Bape x Adidas Dame 4 Green Camo released 2/16/18
It took a Bape collaboration to make this silhouette palatable. It’s a perfect fit for the shoe designed on a YouTube series competition. Hard to find, even harder to cop due to bots, the Bape Dame 4 is the only Adidas shoe to crack my top 10 this year.
8. Off-White x Nike Air Presto Black released 7/27/18
The best Virgil drop of the year was the black presto in my opinion. Hype beasts were paying around $800 resale for these kicks, and I had to let em go seeing that they only came in full size run and I wear a 10.5. They were just a little too snug for me.
7. Undercover x Nike React Element 87 “Light Beige Chalk/Signal Blue” released 9/13/18
Perhaps the best “new” sneaker of 2018, the Element 87 was released in 2 OG colorways before this collab with Undercover. This is my favorite of the bunch.
6. Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Bred Toe” released 2/24/18
I had 3 pairs and sold em all to justify some other cops. I should have kept 1. I’ll regret this for a long time.
5. Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro Black Cement released 2/17/18
I stocked my closet with a couple of backups, and rocked this grail more than any other sneaker I own in 2018. I don’t have to say much, the Black Cement 3 speaks for itself.
4. Nike Air Jordan 11 “Concord” released 12/8/18
Back to back grails on my list. You’re not a true sneakerhead if you didn’t buy 1 to rock and 1 to stock.
3. Nike x John Elliot LeBron Icon released 8/4/2018
I thought this shoe was going to be sneaker of the year when I bought em. It’s innovative, stylish, and one of the few basketball shoes you can wear almost anywhere. John Elliott and Nike hit a home run with these.
2. Union x Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG NRG Varsity Red released 11/17/18
I know a few people were able to cop these on the restock manually, or via the Frenzy app. I overslept and missed out on one of the best sneakers of the year, if not the decade.
- Nike Air Max 1/97 Sean Wotherspoon released 3/26/18
Unless you voted for these or had a bot, chances are you had to pay resale to cop a pair of the shoe of the year. Combining the best nuances of the Air Max 1 and Air Max 97, Sean Wotherspoon created something special. Seeing that I struck out on these myself, I’m looking forward to the SW2s dropping in 2019.
Battle it out in the comments below if I left one of your favorites of the year out.