When discussing the brand that had the best 2018, arguments could be made for several. Nike delivered tons of quality releases, Adidas experienced strong consistent growth, Reebok’s retro drops were hard to beat, and smaller labels including Fila and K-Swiss experienced resurgences.
While debates over 2018 continue, labels are gearing up to dominate 2019. Here, eight sneaker influencers and retailers discuss the brands they believe will own next year.
Brian Nadav, founder and creative director of Lapstone & Hammer
“The market is so weird right now, with hype being the driving factor, and hype these days is so volatile. The obvious leader in 2019 will be Nike, as they are the behemoth of the sportswear world, and they continue to really push the envelope with innovations. They are not afraid to take chances, and that’s one of the reasons they are always winning. The success of the Off-White partnership was refreshing from a design perspective, as it really showed the creative freedom they were willing give and execute. Also the fact that they continue to introduce new styles that resonate and sell through at all levels. The VaporMax and Max 270 this year really jumped off everywhere, with mass production numbers and distribution from malls to top boutiques. Also the Air Fear of God is a brand-new silhouette that I have mad love for, not due to the hype factor but because this really is a killer new sneaker with the unmatched comfort of double-stacked Zoom as well as creating a performance basketball style with major lifestyle appeal.”
Mr. Foamer Simpson, sneaker influencer
“I think Nike will have the best year in 2019. Why? Because it’s Nike. I don’t think there’s really a sneaker brand that can actually compete with them currently. Nike won 2018 by a landslide, and I haven’t seen anything to indicate 2019 will be any different.”
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Victoria Chiang, sneaker influencer
“Aside from Nike continuing their success, I think New Balance will have a really unexpectedly strong 2019. They’re now on the young consumer’s radar due to the resurgence of the 990, and I think they’ll take advantage of this and continue to focus on the power and influence of youth culture, with their other heritage models. I think they have a great collaboration model and align with the right cultural tastemakers in an authentic way.”
Kidane “Fresco” Wilson, manager at Stadium Goods
“I must say that the brand that will have the best 2019 once again will be Nike. Their collaborative efforts have been continuously booming along with the some strong new silhouettes, spearheaded by the Element React 87. I don’t see another brand surpassing them in 2019.”
Mayor, co-founder of Stadium Status Group
“I see Nike carrying it over to next year, and I see Puma making a little splash. Puma is not afraid to put its money where its mouth is, it looks like.”
Derek Curry, owner of Sneaker Politics
“Nike was really strong in 2018, and I don’t see them slowing down. They have great collaborations and some more new technology that will make waves in 2019.”
Henry “Henrock” Francois, sneaker influencer
“Nike is going to have the best 2019. They seem to be firing on all cylinders. We’ve seen the best LeBron in quite some time in the LeBron 16. I’m sure we’ll see Nike basketball retro a few more popular LeBron silhouettes. The Kyrie 5 is absolutely on fire, as his sneaker seems to resonate with the youth. Nike will definitely capitalize off the hype of last year’s Sean Wotherspoon’s release with the ‘Have a Nike Day’ dropping in March. Also we’ll continue to see the SB line re-emerge.”
Ankur Amin, CEO of TGS (parent company to retailers including Extra Butter)
“Nike should continue to dominate, but I can see Adidas making a strong claim for higher market share.”
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