We’re one week into 2019 and Tinker Hatfield has already designed kicks for the Golden Globes, Jeff Staple cornered a Nike SB 'Panda Pigeon', and Kanye West announced a presidential run in 2024. In that climate, Sneaker Freaker had no choice but to consult our crystal kicks for help forecasting the erratic sneaker conditions of the new year.
These are our style predictions for 2019 ...
POLITICS IN THE KICKS
Expect sneaker brands to continue to stomp loudly in 2019’s loaded political sphere. Nike provided the centrepiece last year with their bold ‘Dream Crazy’ campaign, prompting shade from the Oval Office and literal flames from some of Nike’s more conservative corners.
Despite the backlash, the gutsy campaign proved to be well-conceived. During September, Nike’s shares closed at a record high $83.49. The Beaverton brand have no reason to step away from sensitive issues in 2019; being strong on social issues not only proves to be financially beneficial, but also reinforces brand identity.
One month after Nike dropped ‘Dream Crazy’, the world’s most mercurial sneakerhead scrambled in the other direction, telling us his eyes were now ‘wide open’.
First day of 2019? ‘Trump all day’, alongside allusions to Kanye's presidential run in 2024.
It’s all part of a growing trend in the sneaker industry to vocalise a position; whether it’s Kanye's ‘eyes wide open’, PUMA and gun violence, or adidas and the environment, brands are now expected to use their platform to enforce change.
REVIVAL OF THE NIKE AIR MAX 2 LIGHT
Nike dropped in yet-again on the skateboarding market in 2018, reinvigorating the classic SB silhouette with some fresh lobster and the Diamond Supply link up. Propelled by high-profile leaks and collaborations, the SB will continue to kick-push-coast into 2019. But the Nike SB may be overshadowed by another familiar face of the 1990s: the Nike Air Max 2 Light. With the OG Air Max Light serving as the blueprint for many of Nike’s legendary Air Max models, the Air Max 2 Light is perfectly primed for a revival in 2019, Nike pushing their chips forward on a good dozen colourways to kick off the new year.
WHO NEEDS X-RAY VISION?
Galvanised by the inimitable Nike React Element 87 and its 100% TPE yarn textile upper, translucent uppers were adopted across the sneaker marketplace in 2018. Yeezy implemented translucent subtlety with the Yeezy BOOST 350 V2 ‘Static’, Off-White had fun manipulating the Chuck 70 and Zoom Fly SP, while the Jumpman experimented with the Air Jordan 33. Anticipate more transparency in 2019 as brands try to cash in on the runaway success of the Nike React Element 87.
Just please, wear socks.
REIGN OF CHUNK
Where do we go with the most obvious style trend of the 2010s?
The bulky battle continues to be fought across all sneaker markets. In the luxury sector, Balenciaga remains committed to the trend, rolling out multiple renditions of the Triple S alongside their popular new toy: the Track. Louis Vuitton built one of the most gargantuan heels of all time with the Archlight and Maison Margiela continued to remix the most nuclear sneaker of 2018 — the Fusion.
Within the mainstream market, Yeezy is going round two on the BOOST 700 with the V2, FILA filled the market with numerous Disruptor builds, PUMA dropped the RS-X and Thunder Spectra, Nike revisited the Monarch with the M2K, and adidas tapped the Kardashians to spruik the Falcon.
Expecting this trend to slow down in 2019?
THE LOUDER THE BETTER
Sneaker advertising campaigns ranged from the provocative to pornographic throughout 2018. Back in August, the Yeezy brand followed up from its NSFW 500 ‘Supermoon’ campaign with an equally raunchy BOOST 350 V2 push. PUMA personally called out Nike for busting Boogie’s ankles, and Nike decided to take on the whole political establishment.
And why the hell not?
As the cacophony of noise continues to barrel across social media, expect brands to go in even harder in 2019. Digital influencers? Augmented reality? VR?
Plug yourself in, 2019 is about to get loud.