Whether or not you’re one of the diehard sneakerheads who will wait in line 10-plus hours to ensure you can get in on the latest drop, chances are you still know a thing or two when it comes to hyped up footwear releases. Thanks to social media, celebrity collaborations and general leaning in towards sneaker culture by high fashion designers, the masses are aware of the latest Air Jordan release and Nike’s newest design technologies. They’re aware of it, and they want in on it.
While it’s not unusual for high-brow sneakers to run $800 or more (we’re looking at you, Balenciaga), there are a slew of excellent options that come in under $300. That’s still a relative chunk of change but when you consider the wear and style you’ll get out of a quality pair of design-focused shoes, it’s more than worth it. Below are five of the coolest sneaker releases of 2018 so far, none of which will break the bank. Whether you prefer retro, high-top, athletic or colorful, there’ll be one that’ll satiate your sneaker needs.
Dubbed “the second most-important sneaker in the Jordan franchise” by Esquire, the Air Jordan 3 was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated and exciting releases of 2018. The colorway first dropped in 1988, then again in 1994, 2001, 2008 and 2011—to say it’s a legacy style would be an understatement. Featuring its namesake Cement Grey print on its toe and heel, and a Black and Fire Red color scheme throughout, the basketball sneaker is as iconic as ever for its 30th anniversary release.
When Tyler the Creator left former partner Vans for Converse, fans knew something big was coming. His subsequent Converse GOLF le FLEUR* range was an instant hit, with an entirely new and colorful take on the classic low-top Converse One Star sneaker at its center. This summer, Tyler took his vision one step further with a limited-edition collection of two-tone styles, which unsurprisingly sold out immediately. Featuring color combinations like powder pink and orange, kelly green and deep violet and powder pink and pastel blue, the lineup was vivid coolness at its best. If you can’t get your hands on a pair, don’t worry—new instalments in the collaboration are guaranteed to arrive throughout 2019. They’ll surely be worth waiting in line for.
An undeniably retro design featuring a chunky sole and slew of color-blocked colorways, the PUMA Thunder Spectra was inspired by the brand’s iconic collaboration with Alexander McQueen, specifically its McQ range for 2005. Now available in eight colorways, four for women and four for men, each variation of the Thunder Spectra was inspired by a natural phenomenon. They’re bulky, bold and like something your dad probably wore in his heyday. Which, incase you haven’t heard, means stylish as hell these days.
No, these aren’t by YEEZY, they’re by adidas, which means camping to obtain a pair isn’t necessary and they won’t cost you your monthly rent. A new take on adidas’ ‘90s
Falcon Dorf running sneaker, the style join the ranks of other retro-tinged releases but with a modern appeal that’s all its own. Available in four colorways (two that are solid and two that are tri-tone), the Original Yung 1 features a thick sole and is composed of a mix of suede and nylon materials. While the multi-color offerings read sportier and more casual, the solid black and white iterations are sleek enough to be worn to a party or other more dressed-up event. They’re the ultimate versatile sneaker.
Virgil Abloh has come to define himself as a visionary who is at the forefront of every creative industry he touches. As a DJ he’s in high demand. But as a fashion designer he’s nearly untouchable. Along with serving as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, he helms his own label, Off-White, which he founded in 2013. Last year, Off-White collaborated with Nike on a collection called “The Ten” and this year, a style from it, the Air Presto, was re-released. Available in two colorways (black and white), the shoe features a complex, almost architectural silhouette thanks to a structured cage and combination of textured materials. A zip tie detail and chunky sole uniquely round off the style.