Top 5 Sneakers of 2018

As you may have guessed, the team here at Project Destroyer are sneakerheads. Our collective love of sneakers is what brought us to this industry. We have our favorites & our go-to pairs. And just like you, we want to pick up grails at retail. The Air Jordan 12 OVO Black Stingray was the release that first got me interested in sneaker bots. When the site crashed during that drop, I went to sneaker twitter for answers. After a lot of research, the solution was clear: for more success on hyped drops, I needed a bot. I’m guessing your story may sound pretty similar. Though you may have missed a few must-have drops, hopefully, you’ve been able to pick up a grail or two in 2018. In this article, we’ve compiled our list of grail-worthy releases from the year.


5. Lebron XV x KITH Long Live the KING Collection

   To kick off the list, we are starting with one of the hottest designers today, Ronnie Fieg, & his stunning take on the LeBron XV. Of late, LeBron’s sneaker line has been slowing down due to over-saturating the market with uninspired colorways and bulky silhouettes. But in 2018, LeBron x Nike found a new direction. The first few colorways of the LeBron XV sold out instantly. But the real heat began when LeBron teamed up with Ronnie Fieg to drop the Long Live the King collection. The shoes are emblazoned with royal symbology and some of the highest quality embroidering ever applied to a pair of basketball sneakers. The LeBron XV x Kith Closing Ceremony, in particular, is a shoe fit for a king. LeBron wore them in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game and took home his 3rd All-Star MVP trophy while playing with his hand-picked team of fellow all-stars, and of course, they were named, Team LeBron.


4. Air Jordan 3 Black Cement

   Time for a lesson in sneaker history for the younger crowd. Along with the OG Air Jordan 1, the Black Cement 3 is one of the most important silhouettes in the entire Jordan franchise. Originally released in 1988, this is the shoe that started the long-standing partnership between Tinker Hatfield & Michael Jordan. For many, this was the birth of modern sneaker culture and design. Tinker brought revolutionary elements to the Air Jordan 3, including the first visible Air unit. He also developed the elephant print & the iconic Jumpman logo (inspired by one of MJ’s dunks in the 1988 dunk contest). Hatfield’s Jordan 3 was so impactful, it was the reason Jordan stayed with Nike rather than signing with Adidas. This shoe paved the way for Air Jordans 4-13, plus countless other sneakers. This is truly one of the sneaker world’s most notable models & the 2018 release is the most accurate execution since 1988.


3. Nike React Element 87 Sail

   Third on our list is the React Element 87 “Sail”. First released in the EU, it became an immediate hit with sneakerheads all over the world. The React Element 87 gets its name from the element, Francium, which happens to be the 87th and most ‘explosive’ element of all. The uppers and heel portion of the React come from the 1980 runners, called The Internationalist – other portions are borrowed from the Zoom Fly SP.  Featuring Nike’s revolutionary new React foam technology, the translucent, sleek, futuristic runners are a must-have for any sneakerhead.


2. Virgil Abloh x Chuck Taylor All-Star 70

   When pictures of these first surfaced with the rest of Off-White x Nike’s “The Ten” collection,  we were all absolutely amazed. Sadly, only nine of Abloh’s deconstructed sneakers from “The Ten” released last year in 2017, and delays with the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star pushed the shoe’s release back. But fortunately, on May 12th, the final installation of “The Ten” arrived. Anyone who had Instagram and Twitter was posting pictures of these like crazy, and I don’t blame them. Virgil broke down the original Chuck Taylor All-Star and reconstructed them with a translucent upper, inverted Converse heel badge, and a beautiful icy blue bottom. Of course, he added his signature quotes all around the shoes with “VULCANIZED” on the midsole, and “LEFT” and “RIGHT” on each foot. If you’re a fan of the Converse Chuck Taylor or Off-White, this is another must-have pair.


1. Union LA x Jordan 1 Retro High Black Toe / Varsity Red

   This was an easy decision. Chris Gibbs’, owner/operator of Union LA, put a marvelous spin on the iconic Jordan 1 OG and it is an absolute smash. The Black Toe colorway of this collab takes the cake between the two. Its execution aligns perfectly with Gibbs’ concept: a vintage pair of customized Jordans. From the yellowed soles to the dual-colored laces, the shoe has a vintage vibe straight out of the box. The upper is highlighted by exposed, bright blue stitching and weathered nubuck to add the finishing touches to this masterpiece.  Gibbs shared his inspiration for the design, “The Jordan stuff I wear now is like if I go to a vintage market and I find some really old stuff that’s kind of painted or weathered in,” he says. “To me, the vintage nature of it allows you to kind of wear it outside of its intended purpose.” In addition to fusing together two classic Air Jordan 1 colorways, the sneakers also celebrate DIY culture and vintage hunting, as mentioned by Gibbs.




Honorable Mentions

Flamin’ Hot Air Max 1s – Good execution & incredible quality, but the price point is too high.

Concord 11s – Without a doubt, one of the most significant sneakers ever designed. The only consideration knocking these out of the top 5 is stock numbers.

Adidas Futurecraft 4D F&F – One of my favorite silhouettes of the year – however, due to the extremely limited numbers, these weren’t accessible enough to make the list.

Travis Scott AF1 – This was a great shoe, but true sneakerheads know that John Geiger and The Shoe Surgeon did it first.