Five Sneaker Trends That Defined 2018

A summary of 2018's most notable sneaker trends.



Novelty Embellishments

There has been nothing subtle about some of the sneaker designs that hit the market in 2018. Brands were wanting to stand out in a highly saturated market, while consumers were in search of a point of difference and recognisability which allows their footwear to stand out on a crowded street.

The result was a highly decorated and none too understated series of releases that have transformed footwear from an accessory to a centrepiece of many ensembles. Logos, patches and even interactive elements all made sneakers into an experience.

Stand out releases demonstrating this trend included:

The limited-edition collection from NASA and Vans, which featured pull out tabs on the tongues and signature NASA logos.

The Dolce and Gabbana Appliqued embellished leather sneakers, which featured bold Roman script along the sole and a large beaded heart on the side of the shoe.











Exaggerated Soles

Exaggerated soles became a hot trend for sneakers. The resultant look sat somewhere between a platform shoe and a wedged sneaker.

The result was an exaggerated silhouette which offered a modern and eye-catching appearance and became a popular style in both men’s and women’s sneakers.

Brands that were dominating in this trend include:

Nike, who have been on this trend well before 2018. Their extensive Air Force range offered a fresh variant on the trend, while their more recent Air Huarache range presented a subtler interpretation.

The BVG and Adidas collaboration for the EQT Support 93/17 was immensely popular. Their exaggerated sole created a uniquely sharp and structured design which proved a hit with consumers.









Unusual Collaborations

We are used to seeing an array of collaborations within the fashion industry to bring consumers inventive new collections. However, 2018 saw some unexpected partnerships between fashion giants and companies from a variety of different fields.

Customers were elated at the idea of their fashion ensembles reflecting their love of food, entertainment and pop culture, and footwear giants have been heeding their call. The result was a collection of limited-edition releases which captured the sense of joy and playfulness that makes the fashion industry so appealing.

Stand out releases have included:

A partnership between Saucony and Dunkin’ Donuts, the pair released a collaborative sneaker in honour of the Boston Marathon. The sneaker was available in both men’s and women’s sizes and featured the food chains signature colours across the rubber soles and sprinkles on the heel.

PUMA partnered up with the iconic Barbie brand to release a sportswear range which mixed the two companies’ emblematic styles. The range included a suede sneaker in a bold colour with a silk bow across the heel, which sported the iconic Barbie logo.





Unique Materials

Sneakers are no longer designed just for functionality; unusual materials have become a popular stylistic element for a range of footwear collections. Materials that offer an eye-catching experience have been a hit with consumers, and the trend has been picked up around the world.

From metallics and glitter to exotic skins and even merino wool, interesting materials were engaging consumers and drawing their attention away from the more traditional footwear models.

Some of the most memorable editions to this trend include:

The Converse and Chiara Ferragni One Star Glitter Platform sneaker. The shoe had a substantial rubber sole while the top was covered in silver glitter, making them shimmer and standout. Converse’s signature red trimming tied together the look, and the result was a sneaker which dominated the women’s footwear market.

Nike’s Air Max 94 included a design with snakeskin and cowhide detailing, which alongside the earthy colour scheme made for a memorable look perfect for the fall.

The Tory Sport Ruffle Trainers were constructed from mirrored leather in a selection of eye-catching colours, resulting in a chic and feminine take on athletic footwear, inspired by the iconic seventies sports style.


Throwing it Back

With so many crazy and striking new trends it is surprising that throwback footwear was an equally popular trend this year. A variety of brands provided nostalgia and timeless style as they bought back some of their signature designs for the modern sneaker enthusiast to fawn over.

The most notable editions to this trend were:

Converse’s Chuck 70 Hi, which was brought back into the mainstream this season, using the same materials as the original releases. This iconic sneaker sat deep in the heart of street style footwear and made an excellent addition to the year’s most memorable releases.

Nike’s Jordan Brand reimagined their original aesthetic to bring a collection of women’s footwear to the market. The range utilised a chic metallic material and came in a variety of cool neon colours with the same classic silhouette.

Adidas released an updated version of their Originals ZX 500 RM, which combined the same nostalgic 80s design with modern performance technology to provide the ultimate sneaker both in terms of style and functionality.