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2023: The Year in Sneakers

When designs became cartoonish, humility replaced hype and barbiecore pink faded to outdoor green.

WRITER: GRAEME CAMPBELL VISUAL ARTIST: EAMONN FREEL
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In 1950, adidas founder Adi Dassler developed a football shoe prototype to offer players a solid grip on frosty turf. Fast forward 70 years and the German visionary might be surprised at the impact his austere design continues to exert across the footwear landscape. If 2022 foreshadowed heritage footwear’s big moment among the style-savvy, 2023 saw the trend spark like cultural tinder.

Sneaker mythology dictates that nearly all silhouettes come with a hardwired expiration date, fluctuating in and out of vogue on a whim. Yet a cursory glance at the 2023 alias Seller Report suggests the landscape remained mostly unaltered over the last 12 months: Nike’s all-conquering ‘Panda’ Dunk was wildly coveted, just as performance-oriented brands like New Balance and ASICS continued their inexorable rise outside the running track. Dig a little deeper, however, and there’s much more to ponder, casting a spotlight on what lies ahead in 2024.

Below, we look back on the sneaker themes that rose above the white noise over the last 12 months—with one eye on what lies ahead in 2024.