You know what time it is — sky is brighter, days are longer, sun is hotter, sleeves are shorter (or gone altogether). Summer is here, but more importantly summer sneakers are here. And that means more opportunities to get some fresh, limited-time-only fits. Whether hitting the beach, lounging poolside, or taking in the arts and nightlife that flourish in the warm weather, more people will be out. And summer crowds mean larger audience for unique styles, bright colors, and off-the-wall patterns — because as everybody knows, the most important part of any ensemble are the shoes.
Since sneaker culture hit the blogs in the middle of the last decade, it has exploded in popularity. Now, everyone from grandma to the local garbage man is flexing the latest, rarest heat on their feet. Uproxx took a look around, and found the models, colorways, and brands that are sure to be on fire during the summer months. These are the seven kicks you need to know about, and knowing is half the hustle — the rest is tracking them down and finding something to set them off.
Nike Cortez OG
I might be biased, I don’t know. South Central Los Angeles has a long, complex history with this particular model, but that’s beside the point. The point is, that this shoe — simply put — defines summer time. No air bubble here. You won’t see any flashy tech, complicated construction, or bubble gum colors either, but the Cortez never needed them. The summer is all about simplicity; less is more. Less clothing, less responsibility, less stress. This particular look has it all: Clean lines, an uncomplicated colorway, and a philosophy not entirely unlike that of its most popular promoter, Forrest Gump. You can tell a lot about a person from their shoes. If they’ve got on a pair of Cortez this summer, you know at least one thing: They’ve got impeccable taste. Bonus points if you nabbed the LBC/CPT pairs, but watch out. Infinite street cred is earned, not bought.
Adidas Yeezy Powerphase “Calabasas”
Sneakerheads went bananas over this surprise drop a couple of months ago, due largely to the big name and small supply associated with the release. But good news for everybody who missed out: “Calabasas” finally got a wider release last weekend. This time, they hit for a more reasonable $120 at retail, so those collectors who like to cop multiples found it a bit more feasible on the budget of a non-internationally-famous-rapper-producer hypebeast who just wants something simple and clean for the summer. The shoes sport a throwback look (some might say that they’re just a little too close to another company’s retro tennis shoe design for comfort), all-white colorway that screams “summertime,” and the name of Kanye’s California hideaway location in gold lettering on the sides. Anything with Yeezy’s name attached goes quick, so if you were smart last weekend, you got up early and will stay fresh straight through to August.
If you missed out, at least the re-sale will be less than $1000.
Nike Air Vapormax “Be True”
Vapormax are some of the most comfortable of Nike’s offerings on the market, and as such have been a hit ever since their introduction on Air Max Day this year. Likewise, “Be True” colorways of prior models have sold out almost instantly, with its rainbow colorway (that’s designed to pay homage to and celebrate the LGBTQ community) resonating with folks from all orientations and walks of life. It’s only natural that the two should be combined. And because the Vapormax “Be True” features a dark violet Flyknit upper and a rainbow colored VaporMax unit to represent the Pride flag, these runners are going to turn a few heads. Simple up top and flashy in the sole, these are for those who like a little color and a lot of attention. Pride month is over, but pride itself is never out of style.
Rihanna x Puma Fenty Trainer
You know I would not and could not leave out the ladies. What Kanye has done for Adidas, Rihanna has done for Puma’s women’s collection — inspiring massive reaction from even non-sneakerheads for anything and everything with her name on it. These are her most technical and sports-oriented collaboration with the brand yet, with her previous releases leaning more to the casual footwear side of things. The Fenty Trainers, however, feature a robust outsole and mid-foot strap across the upper, high ankle collars, and futuristic construction that suggests these are going to be more for actual gym-work than runway stunting. Something tells me we’ll still see quite a few of these at the club too.
Nike Mars Yard 2.0
New York heads are going to lose their minds over these when they hit, mark my words. NY-based artist Tom Sachs first collaborated with Nike on a shoe for Tommaso Rivellini, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA back in 2012. For the shoe, Sachs used the same material Rivellini used to invent airbags for Mars rovers, to commemorate Sachs’ SPACE PROGRAM installation in the Park Avenue Armory in New York. Needless to say, big hit, but apparently the sneakers themselves didn’t hold up too well to day-to-day wear-and-tear. Enter: the Mars Yard 2.0, using sturdier materials than the original, but keeping the same retro-futuristic design. Half trainer, half moon-shoe hiking boot, these will be a rarity on the West Coast but will shut down all the cool hipster parties in the Big Apple.
Jordan 13 Low “Chutney”
1998-2017. That’s how long it took these original colorways to retro. Good luck grabbing a pair before they hit resale. “Chutney” refers to the brownish gold coloring on the upper, with the wraparound black leather and black outsole providing a stylish contrast. The Jumpman logos on the rear quarter of the shoe are done in gold, suggesting the luxury that Jordan Brand symbolized once upon a time. These are more of a nighttime look than one for the day clubs, but then again, there might not be any bad time to pull these bad boys out. They’ve been waiting long enough.
Nike Air Foamposite “Fleece”
Fleece? In the summertime?
Yes. Duh. It’s unexpected, so it’s going to draw eyes. It’s a Foamposite, so it will go with just about anything other than a suit. I wouldn’t exactly recommend a fleece suit in the summertime, but there’s A/C blasting in any number of places, so hey, you might just get cold enough to get away with it. Barring rocking a suit in a standing freezer, you’ll get plenty of use out of these as the summer end. Because that’s the bittersweet part about summer: Eventually it has to end, and when it does, this shoe will transition perfectly from the dog days to cooler autumn climes more or less seamlessly (I promise that wasn’t a Foamposite technology joke). The fleece itself is actually on top of the foam, so it’s not like it will add that warmth anyway, it’s more for the look, and at night time in the summer I can’t think of a better one than these.