2018 picked up where 2017 left off, with Nike back atop an industry it helped pioneer: sneakers. With its top competitors losing steam, the Beaverton-based sportswear brand used the success of last year’s Virgil Abloh collection, The Ten, to challenge a new crop of cultural juggernauts to out-innovate the innovator. Among them, Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God 1 found a balance of style and performance that has often eluded Nike Basketball, while iconic models like the Air Force 1 received reinterpretations from names like Supreme, Travis Scott, A-COLD-WALL*, John Elliot and others.
Nike SB even returned to the spotlight this year with collaborations from Stüssy, Concepts, Diamond Supply Co. and the NBA. Elsewhere, January’s release of the UltraBOOST killer, the Epic React, helped fill a void left by 2012’s Racer silhouette, but it was the runner’s more-casual cousin, the React Element, that would become 2018’s sneaker of the year. What brings all of the hype together is Nike’s ability to deliver all of this exciting product to its consumers swiftly and with little complications, by way of Amazon-rivaling experimental shopping experiences and a superior digital platform.
adidas, Converse, New Balance, and Asics