It’s a good time to be a sneaker designer, but a challenging one too. Newer-on-the-scene names like Li-Ning are pushing sneaker silhouettes as far as they possibly can, pretty much time traveling to a distant sneaker future with some of the designs they’re thinking up.
The thing is, sneakers of late have become that futuristic that they now look fit for the cyber-punk-populated, barren plains of Mad Max or dystopian cityscapes of Blade Runner. But we’re not complaining.
A host of recent sneaker releases have arrived dressed in fire colorways that make them look like they’ve been used to traverse sandy, deserted roads by someone who trades robot scraps for a living. Who knows, though, such apocalyptic environments may be drawing closer to our reality than we think. We’ll see what the week brings.
Whether it’s Li-Ning x Random Identities, Packer x Reebok, or Axel Arigato, this selection shows the scope of the brave new world of footwear. It’s a world based around intricately detailed uppers, distressed luxury materials, and dusty colorways. At least look good when it all goes down in flames.
Having made a name for itself in minimal leather footwear, Axel Arigato’s new Marathon Sneakers take a decidedly different tack. Hand-dyed buffed leather upper and mesh have a disheveled aesthetic which contrasts with their luxury credentials while a substantial sole unit rounds out this eye-catching silhouette.
Released on October 30, Reebok’s collaboration with Packer boasts one of the year’s best colorways. An earth-tone upper is punctuated by a wave of washed-out blue which adds impact to the chunky silhouette made up of mesh, suede, and leather. Metallic gauze inserts to the mid-section instill an industrial, dystopian aesthetic.
Li-Ning’s unmistakable footwear collections are hard to take your eyes off. Unorthodox, multi-colored uppers sit atop bulbous sole units but it all just… works. In collaboration with Random Identities, the Aurora Skywalker tones things down by way of color, but futuristic detailing in the form of an inner sock, bungee lace closure, and press-to-activate LED light to the vamp distinguish this pair.
Salomon’s XT-6 is undoubtedly one of the shoes of the moment, and probably the year. Taking utilitarian aesthetics as a starting point leads this pair down a successful track that’s helped along handsomely by flawless color schemes like this brown, orange, and red outfit.
This collaboration silhouette between adidas Originals and OAMC borrows aspects of sandals as well as the ever-popular hiking trainer for a luxurious but heavily utilitarian aesthetic.
The Nike Overbreak SP upper doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary. The vintage purple and brown uppers are constructed from canvas and suede, but just below the surface lurks a monstrously fascinating sole unit that demarcates this as one of Nike’s most memorable recent releases.
Balenciaga’s Track.2 Sneakers are just one pair in a line of wildly successful footwear designs from the luxury house. In keeping with the label’s avant-garde aesthetic, this pair boasts a multi-layered upper, ridged outsole, and metallic color palette.
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