In terms of summer footwear, a nice pair of sneakers reigns supreme. In any other season, you’ll see people in boots, ranging from Chelsea boots, to combat boots, to Timberlands, or a pair of dressier shoes even for casual occasions. However, in the summer where the wardrobe is often limited to shorts and a tee shirt, the sneaker is king. Sneakers are becoming more comfortable and more breathable as companies experiment with bouncing foam soles and breathable knit uppers. Despite this, however, many of the classic rubber sole and leather upper sneakers are still in style. With that, let’s jump into what I believe are the top 5 sneakers for summer in 2016.
5. Nike Air PrestoImage via Sneakernews
After a long hiatus, the Air Presto is finally back. It fits in the bracket of modern runner, despite being originally released in 2000. It’s a sock-like runner (you’ll be hearing that a lot in this article) that has functionality and looks to boot. Originally, the Presto ran in clothing sizes, ranging from XXXS to XXXL. Luckily for us, Nike did away with the clothing sizes when they brought back the Presto last year. There are two styles of the Nike Presto, the first being the original, basic mesh, which runs about $120, and the second being Nike’s twist on a classic, the Flyknit Presto. The addition of Flyknit to the runner adds for an even more sock-like fit, as the Flyknit is a stretchy material that wraps snugly around the foot. The Flyknit Presto is a bit more expensive at $160. You can buy the Presto here.
4. Adidas Stan SmithImage via Highsnobiety
The timeless tennis shoe is as perfect as they come in terms of minimalistic sneakers. For the price point- just $75- you won’t find much better. It’s a shoe that gets better with wear seemingly; while a fresh pair of Stans looks pristine, a beat pair has a bit of character to it. While the Stan Smith does boast a low price point, if you’re willing to spend a little more, or a lot more, there are options. Adidas recently released the Primeknit Stan Smith. Primeknit is Adidas’ answer to Nike’s Flyknit. In my experience, it’s more stretchy and but less breathable. Regardless, the Primeknit Stan Smith adds a modern flair to a timeless classic, and at $110, it’s still very much affordable. For those into designer sneakers, the Raf Simons Stan Smith is a good shout. While some colorways are almost indistinguishable from the normal Stan Smith apart from the R instead of the 3 stripes, others are eye-catching, from the metallic bronze, to the salmon pink, to the aged white (a personal favorite of mine, which I have been eyeing up for a while now). The Raf Stans usually retail for around $400, but they’re often on sale for around $250. You can buy the Stan Smith here.
3. Nike Flyknit Racer
The Flyknit Racer fits in the bracket of modern runners. Outfitted with a Flyknit upper and an EVA sole, the Flyknit Racer is comfortable and really, really light. Just one shoe is lighter than my phone; I wouldn’t be surprised if both pairs combined are still lighter than my phone. The price point on Flyknit Racers is a bit high at $150, but a pair is well worth the money. There are many colorways, ranging from the black and white “Orca” to the pink, volt, and blue mish-mash that is the Multicolor colorway. You can buy the Flyknit Racer here.
2. Adidas Ultra Boost
It took everything in my power not to put the Ultra Boost at #1. It has everything; the looks, the comfort, the versatility. Well, maybe not everything; the pricing. A pair of Ultra Boosts will set you back $180. They can also be fairly hard to come by. Once you get your hands on a pair, though, you will be hard pressed to find a better shoe. The combination of a Primeknit upper and a Boost sole is heaven for feet. Adidas recently released a second style of the Ultra Boost, the Ultra Boost Uncaged. The normal Ultra Boost has a plastic lace cage for added support. The Uncaged Ultra Boost, as the name suggests, does away with the plastic cage and adds a primeknit collar for a truly sock like fit. Despite the rarity and the price tag, the Ultra Boost, Uncaged or not, is well worth it. You can buy the Ultra Boost here.
1. Adidas NMDImage via Highsnobiety
At #1, I have what I and many others believe to be the shoe of the summer: the Adidas NMD. The silhouette has been making waves recently, and it’s easy to see why; it’s very simple, very comfortable, and very affordable. There are 3 styles of the NMD: the first and cheapest being the mesh upper version, which costs $120. The knit upper costs slightly more at $130, and the Primeknit upper version costs $170. The NMD has minimal branding, very basic color blocking, and probably the biggest selling point for many: the Boost sole. As Adidas releases more and more colorways of the NMD, it’s clear they want this to be their flagship shoe, and in my and many other peoples’ eyes, they couldn’t have picked a better shoe. You can buy the NMD here, but you may be better off checking out your local Adidas retailer.