The 5 Key Shoes of 2019

In a year that has seen a more gradual transition back to a non sneaker dominated world we’ve still seen several collaborations that not only became staples of any hypebeasts rotation but in fact again changed the realms of the resale market. On the other hand the more traditional boot saw a revival, with the classic blundstone enjoying a continued revival throughout 2019 whilst the more niche silhouettes of the Magiella Tabi boot and Raf Simon Geobasket also came back into prominence for different reasons.

Travis Scott x Nike Jordan 1 Retro High

After a roaring rise to mainstream magnitude in 2018 following his hit album Astroworld released and his relationship with Kylie Jenner was plastered across the internet at every opportunity it was hard to imagine it was possible for him to maintain this level of prominence, let alone grow it but that’s exactly what’s happened. Through an array of means such as arguably the fit of year at the Met Gala, releasing more hits (highest in the room) and his own netflix documentary. However it was his sneaker releases that really made waves this year. The retro high collab releasing back in May was the first Jordan 1 (as far as i’m aware..) to have a backwards swoosh since the notorious mismade jordan 1 (XXXX LINK) back in X. This detail combined with the understated but universally wearable colour-way, the limited release and obviously the cult like followings that both sneakers and Travis Scott have resulted in the most hyped shoe of the year. There was no better way to reflect this than through the stockx yearly report where it highlighted it had the highest number of trades in 2019 as everyone tried to get hold of a pair, exchanging hands over 24,000 times resulting in the biggest marketshare of the stockx market taking $26.6m worth of sales in what’s an incredible feat.

Sacai Nike

A shoe that at one point felt like it was on the every second person you walked passed in London yet you still never got sick of. The second of the Nike collabs that make the top five and one that possesses a lot of similarities to that of the Travis Scott collab. With a selection of sneakers that again have stuck to a simple aesthetic and stuck with it whilst driving its own twist, in this case effectively reversing what was so prominent in Virgils ten last year, deconstruction, and pushing its counterpart, reconstruction. In-fact it’s effectively just duplicating the shoe itself. Two swooshes, two sets of laces, two tongues and two soles.  On paper it sounds like it should be a monstrosity, especially given the slimline silhouette the Nike Waffle occupies however the execution and the colour-ways were perfect every single time. Nothing less should have been expected of Chitose Abe who at Sacai has consistently shown ways to evolve and strike a cord with how to cut patterns in a way which is unique, pushes boundaries but remains a genuinely wearable piece. The sneaker itself was a perfect epitome of what the year was, the gradually transition away from chunky, overbearing aesthetic whilst still maintaining some of its sole.

The blundstones

The reemergence of this classic silhouette was an epidemic throughout the year as the classic boot regained popularity across both men and women as the adaptability and versatility of the shoe really came to fruition. This a result of a combination of the intensity of the ever-changing sneaker world wearing thin alongside the conundrum of the everyday worn silhouette chopping and changing, between a boot cut to a tapered jean and then to a pair of heavyweight cords the blundstone became the answer to all. The more unique and fashionable alternative to the saturated doc marten and one that was widely available at different levels from the traditional blundstones to the more luxe prada Chelsea boot copy

Tabi boot

The Margiela Tabi boot was a force from the beginning of the year until the very end, appearing on the feet of instagramers and celebrities alike. Like the blundstones there was a shared popularity across both the male and female demographic however this was the year that the landscape shifted and started to swing towards the male audience. In a world where there’s a seeming necessity to provoke whilst appearing understated the Tabi boot does exactly that. Offering a low-key Chelsea/cowboy boot-esque silhouette yet having a sense of extremism with the split toe whilst also being laced with such a prevalent history (no fashion orientated boot has tried to replicate the feature) further draws in the cult like following this show has continued to develop over the past year.

Raf Simons Geobasket

The selection into the top five for the geobasket was more down to its prevalence in the fashion meme space, finding itself at the forefront of a genre which went from strength to strength. As the year progressed a meme account popped up every other day to capitalise on the potential clout to be gained at the expense of CDG wearers or CCP disciples.  The shoe itself didn’t become anymore popular in numbers, more so becoming increasingly popular within the cult following Rick Owens has deservedly acquired over the year to the extent the scale of how much you loved or rated the shoe was determined by how crusty the sole was. Ultimately this is a shoe which will always be worn, but this was the year it hit the mainstream yet still remained tied to its roots.

Honourable mentions

The Gucci Loafer – The loafer itself is a staple every year so it’s hard to either include or exclude it from the top 5, however the sway back towards the dress shoe definitely gained further traction as the year went on meaning the Gucci loafers impact itself grew hand in hand.

Suicoke – The suicoke sandals were sandals answer to the techwear phenom that we saw continue to dominate streetwear trends throughout 2019. The footwear frequently worn by Tyler the creator saw a rise to mainstream prominence in 2019 that saw them collab with the likes of john elliot and bape

Birkenstock- In a similar fashion to the gucci loafer but on a much more limited scale the birkenstock really saw a big growth of wear across the year as the need for comfy, non sneaker footwear became a necessity and these fit the bill. A wide variety of colours and styles and a key collab with none other than rick owens saw the style trickle down through all generations.