“Stop, collaborate, and listen,” uttered hip-hop trailblazer Vanilla Ice in his 1990 hit “Ice Ice Baby,” and he might have been onto something. Jokes aside, a lot of great ideas are fostered from unrelated parties sitting down together and coming up with a solution that benefits all. This has been going on for nearly two decades in the footwear industry, and it’s not only used as a tool to gain more brand awareness or to come up with better footwear—the ultimate goal is to create hype for both parties while making coveted shoes in the process.
A lot has changed over the years when it comes to these sneaker collaborations. No longer does it simply take a boutique slapping a new colorway on a running shoe from the ’90s and adding premium materials to generate a buzz. They need to be truly groundbreaking and memorable, and that’s what occurred this year. Whether it was Nike giving an all-new model to someone who won a crowdsourced competition, or Nike SB reigniting the brand’s energy from nearly 15 years ago, 2018 had it all. Here are the best of the best sneaker collaborations from the past 12 months.