Another year has passed, and in it we saw another slew of emerging trends and styles come to the forefront. As we begin to jump into 2024, and what to expect in the year to come, let’s take a look back at what we saw in 2023. 

adidas Samba x Wales Bonner

This is a catch-all for the multiple pairs of collaborative sneakers that were released under this partnership this year. From the spring/summer, which saw not only two, Jamaica inspired colourways of the retro-runner model, the SL72 Knit, but also the release of the shoe that launched a thousand outfit pics, the silver Samba. The two pairs of low-top trainers that were part of the S/S23 collaboration were on polar ends of the spectrum statement-wise. 

One pair was delivered in a low-key beige and brown option, with the only discernible difference versus a general release pair being the classic-feeling oversized tongue (a now hallmark design of the Wales Bonner collaborations) and the subtle branding on the side of the heel. The other? An all-out silver statement sneaker that took over this summer. Again, the style features the hallmark motifs we’ve come to expect with the Wales Bonner collaborations — extended tongue, subtle branding and crochet stitching throughout make the ‘silver surfers’ (as they came to be known on TikTok), unmistakable even from afar. 

To follow that level of impact is no small feat, and instead of trying to replicate the success with more metallics, the team at Wales Bonner and adidas delivered an animal print rival for the end of the year. Releasing in a collection of four pairs, all of them Sambas, we saw pony hair and leopard print had replaced the shiny upper that turned heads in the summer and pairs began selling out quickly on release day. This is a collaboration that shows no plans of slowing down, so expect to see adidas x Wales Bonner continue to grab headlines in 2024. 

Metallic Sneakers

With the Wales Bonner Sambas in mind, it’s time to talk about the shiniest trend of 2023 — metallics. 

We spoke at length about this trend back in November, but it’s really one that shone through this year (no pun intended) as a defining shift, aesthetically. Despite the poster child for the trend being the silvered Samba mentioned above, this trend hasn’t been just about taking the silhouettes we’re loving and dipping them in chrome, it’s come with a whole heaping of Y2K nostalgia wrapped up in it too, coming from brands utilising archival early 2000’s  models to jump aboard the metallics wave authentically. 

The trend saw brands like ASICS begin to surface as new options for the sneaker brand du jour thanks to the plethora of shiny styles already available at decidedly non-Wales Bonner pricing. 

Air Jordan 4’s 

Crowned as the Laced shoe of the year 2023, this release wasn’t bold, or bright in it’s design. The pair up between Nike SB and the Jordan brand wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, but while it may not have been a rock-the-boat release, it most definitely made waves. 

Anything Air Jordan is likely to be popular — the line of 30+ sneakers carries with it a legacy that’s fairly unmatched in the industry, and has the rare accolade of having designs that continue to match up the legacy and further it. That’s especially true of the Air Jordan 4, which, in 2023, saw some staggeringly sought-after releases of the silhouette that would give less popular sneakers a new lease on life —  the Air Jordan 4, however, only became further immortalised. 

Not only was the pair up between Nike SB heralded as a must-have, the women’s only release of the ‘Frozen Moments’ delivered a suitably cool-toned grey sneaker that had eye-catching metallic details on the iconic ankle support design, and eyelets. The name itself pays homage to the legacy it’s now a part of, referencing the late ‘90s ads that featured Michael Jordan moving through a basketball court that was frozen in time, displaying his almost mystical prowess on the court. 

Despite there being a total of nine Jordan 4 releases in 2023, the final most standout pair was the return of the ‘Craft’ sublime giving us the final outing. A more subtle offering in dark tones of green and black with stitching detail synonymous with the ‘Craft’ lines approach of creating sneaker that feel more handmade. 


As 2023 saw a return to the heady days of the turn of the millennium, so too did it see the full return of the shoe of that era. Sheepskin-lined and until now culturally-maligned, UGG saw a huge swing to prominence this year, aided by restocks of the Mini Boot and releases like the chunky soled Tazz Slipper. 

A post-pandemic landscape of hybrid working and comfort-seeking Gen Z shoppers, with a helping of celebrity endorsements from influential megastars like Bella and Gigi Hadid meant that UGG didn’t have a hard time reaching an audience of eager shoppers looking for the next ‘it’ shoe silhouette to buy into. 

We wrote about this return earlier this year too, and as we continue into the cold months of January and February, don’t expect anyone to be putting their UGGs away soon. 

Pharrell at LV

When Virgil Abloh suddenly passed away at the tail end of 2021, he left behind shoes that nobody thought could be filled, his position at Louis Vuitton was an historic appointment, being the person of African descent to hold the Artistic Director of the iconic brands menswear line, and one of only a few POC designers at the helm of a major French fashion house. 

Rumours spread like no tomorrow about who would be tapped to take over from the visionary mind behind Off-White and one of the most influential people working in fashion. Emerging designers like Grace Wales Bonner and Martine Rose were reportedly spoken to about the role (although unconfirmed), but in February of 2023, it was announced that Skateboard P himself, Pharrell Williams would be taking the reins. 

It was an announcement that came as a shock to some and a complete no-brainer to others Pharrell is as multi-hyphenate as Abloh was, and comes from the same world of culture meeting artistic expression and that expression feeding back into the culture in this never ending feedback loop of inspiration and output. 

Pharrell at Louis Vuitton allows the brand to continue holding on to the customers that it gained under Virgil’s influence, while still acquiring a new cohort of customers who will be coming from Pharrell’s extensive history of fashion projects like Billionaire Boys Club, Ice Cream and Human Made. 

Pharrell’s first show for LV debuted in June 2023, offering us all the first look at what his tenure under the most luxury of luxury houses was going to look like. It felt very much like a spiritual continuation of the work that Virgil had been doing before him, the mixing of house codes with distinctly streetwear influenced silhouettes and design motifs, but it wasn’t a retread. Pharrell makes a point in his first show to establish some of his own signature style choices into the codes of LV — primary coloured holdall bags that are reminiscent of the colour palette you’d see in Billionaire Boys Club collections, appropriately oversized headwear harks back to the infamous Vivienne Westwood hat that Pharrell iconically wore to death. Louis Vuitton cannot help but continue without Virgil leading it, but thanks to the new stewardship of one of hip hop and fashion’s most influential men, what he started there isn’t going anywhere. 

Tiffany x Nike

In March of 2023, the biggest jewellery brand in the world, and the biggest sportswear brand in the world made headlines by announcing a collaborative pair of sneakers that were, in their words, ‘legendary’. 

It’s easy to be used to huge collaborative outings in the current climate of streetwear and sneakers, it can often seem like partnerships get announced at a rate of knots and luxury brands are aware more than ever of the impact that sneakers can have in regards to bringing in a dedicated shopping force — but partnerships like Tiffany x Nike don’t happen every day. Even 10 years ago it would have seemed far-fetched to pitch the idea, but must-have sneakers have become a valuable commodity often reaching the upper echelon of luxury notoriety that’s usually only reserved for watches and, of course, jewellery.

There was only one option, it seems, when it came to what shoe was going to be given the Tiffany blue treatment. With Dior taking the Air Jordan off the table to the high-end collab, the obvious choice for a ‘legendary’ pair of sneakers was one of the most-worn on the planet, the Air Force 1. A striking Tiffany blue on the swoosh of an all-black suede upper made for a standout, and altogether luxurious take on the iconic sneaker.