Shoe Trends for 2018: Essential Footwear for Conquering Your Fitness Goals This Year

shoe trends 2018 footwear fitness goals

If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve made at least a couple of resolutions to work toward in 2018, and the chances are excellent that they’re fitness-related. Last year, a whopping 21.4% of people who made New Year’s resolutions said they wanted to eat healthier or lose weight, making that the most popular resolution by a landslide. An additional 5.5% said they wanted to work out more often. That adds up to just over a quarter of all resolution-makers hoping for a better, healthier body in the year to come.

Statistically speaking, though, only about 8% of all people keep their New Year’s resolutions, so the great majority of all those hopeful folks went into 2018 still wanting those things. You may even be one of them. So, what makes the difference between success and failure? What does that 8% understand that everyone else apparently doesn’t?

A big part of the equation when it comes to fitness is having the right gear in your corner, and that definitely includes your choice in athletic shoes. Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know to choose the right option for you. We’ll cover some of the most exciting upcoming trends in fitness footwear as well.

Does Your Choice of Footwear Really Matter That Much?

closeup person hiking shoes

If you’re relatively new to fitness, it might be tempting to think that one pair of sneakers is as good as another. They just need to fit well and be comfortable, right? Actually, no. When you’re choosing a new pair of kicks for practical use, as opposed to just for fashion purposes, you need footwear that’s designed with your activity of choice in mind. Here’s why.

You’ll be less likely to hurt yourself.

Naturally, injuries are a huge concern when it comes to any sort of physical activity. Yes, maintaining proper form and just plain being careful are important when it comes to avoiding injuries and setbacks, but so is your choice in shoes.

Each type of athletic shoe is specially designed for a given sport. Tennis shoes feature soft, flexible soles that support your feet through the abrupt side-to-side movements tennis players tend to make. Basketball shoes guard against impact-related injuries caused by jumping and landing. Running and walking shoes are designed with those pursuits in mind, while cross-trainers are for people who engage in multiple activities or sports over the course of a typical workout.

You’ll get more out of your activity of choice.

Choosing the right type of athletic shoe doesn’t just protect you from pain, discomfort, or serious injury, either. It’s also the best way to help you be the best you can be at your chosen fitness endeavor this year.

man getting ready run

Taking care to choose the right shoe can help you meet your fitness goals by supporting the exact types of movements you need to make. It’ll be easier to perform those movements correctly, and it will make the process of excelling at your activity of choice a much simpler process.

Taking the time to shop for and select a truly excellent pair of athletic shoes makes you feel more invested in your goals as well. They’ll serve as proof positive that you’re serious about making 2018 the year you finally become a better you, and that will help you feel encouraged to keep going when the going gets rough.

Spotlight on 2018: Athletic Shoe Trends to Get Excited About

Of course, there’s no law that says serious athletic shoes have to be merely practical. Fitness-minded people are just as interested in having footwear, gear, and apparel that reflects their personal style as anyone else is. That said, the world of fitness fashion definitely has its trends that come and go. The following are some of our favorite up-and-coming fitness footwear trends for 2018.

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Muted Tones and Subtle Palettes

The ubiquitous white cross-trainers we know and love are classics for a reason. They’re crisp-looking, clean, and they complement just about any look. They also look good on anyone who likes to focus on the nitty-gritty when it comes to a fitness routine.

Plain white sneakers and cross-trainers definitely won’t be going anywhere in 2018, since they never go out of style. However, you will see people giving them an upgrade by going for similar styles in muted, delicate alt-neutral tones like dove grey, shell pink, and coral—especially as we move forward into spring. Take a closer look at the Fresh Riley from Vionic for a great example of what we mean.

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Fashion-Forward Styles

athletic shoes purchase 75Here in the United States, an astonishing 75% of all sneakers and athletic shoes are purchased for fashion reasons, as opposed to fitness regimens. Athletic shoe designers are taking note and putting out product that looks as good as it performs.

This year, keep an eye out for running shoes, tennis shoes, basketball shoes, and many more options that don’t stop at helping you get more out of your workout of choice. Think classic styles elevated to the next level by fashionable color combinations, vibrant patterns, and eye-catching embellishments—shoes that you can confidently wear straight out of the gym and out to meet friends at the mall. The more unique, the better!

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Slip-On Sneakers

Speaking of athletic shoes that are great for more than just working out, you might want to take a closer look at today’s red-hot slip-on sneaker trend if walking is your workout of choice. Slip-on sneakers from top names in the industry combine the utility of a bona fide walking shoe with a sleek, easy to wear style that looks fantastic with any outfit.

Take the You Walk from Skechers, to name just one example. No-nonsense features like memory foam footbeds, flexible outsoles, and antimicrobial linings make it an excellent shoe for walking. Soft fabric mesh uppers and fashionable color choices make it a shoe that looks as fantastic as it is functional.

These are perfect for people who don’t always lace up and hit the trail when it’s time to get their exercise! Just slip them on and you’re ready to walk a blue streak at the mall, the local park, or anywhere else your adventures might take you.

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Retro Fabulous Kicks

Shirts, pants, and jackets aren’t the only things that have a way of coming back into style if you just wait long enough. Footwear definitely tends to make its way back around for another turn in the sun. Lately, the 90s have returned with a vengeance, as evidenced by the return of knitted beanies, flannel shirts, and slip dresses. Keep an eye out for athletic shoes that follow suit.

90s inspired shoes quote

As we continue through winter and transition into spring, look for 90s-inspired shoes that remind you of funkier days gone by. Think chunky cross-trainers, ultra-playful patterns, and exclusive collections specifically marketed as throwbacks. You’re likely to see a lot of day-glo neon tones making the rounds, as well. Lace up a pair of your own and inject a little retro appeal into your workout look.

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Unisex Styles

woman stretching balancing using manThis year, we’re seeing a push toward unisex trends in every sense of the word. This is definitely the case when it comes to some of the latest and greatest sneakers making the rounds lately. Rihanna’s very own Fenty by Puma line is just one famous example.

The further into 2018 we get, the more momentum this trend is likely to gain. Watch for re-releases that are designed, marketed, and engineered to be appropriate for either men or women. Detailing, styles, colors, and more are going to be more gender neutral as well.

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Alternative Hiking Footwear

Not everyone is about hitting the gym or the jogging trail when they feel like engaging in a little physical activity. Many people get more out of their exercise routine when they can feel the sun on their skin and the breeze on their face as they enjoy Mother Nature.

If you’re into hiking, don’t make the mistake of thinking your go-to footwear needs to be a standard hiking boot, though. Some of today’s trendiest footwear for hiking are cross-trainers from brands like Timberland—shoes that pack the utility and safety features of a hiking boot into the fashionable, streamlined package of a cross-trainer.

Hiking sandals from brands like Chaco and Birkenstock were big news last year when it came to hikers and outdoor adventurers. They’ll be making a big comeback once winter’s over and milder days become increasingly frequent. Definitely, give some consideration to scoring a pair of your own.

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Futuristic Footwear

Think back to the time travel and sci-fi movies you loved so much as a kid. Now picture what people’s shoes looked like in “the future.” Think juicy neon colors, shiny metallics, and sleek designs that looked like they’d be right at home on the feet of any spaceman.

In 2018, it’s pretty safe to say that the future is now, so get ready for space-age athletic shoes that remind you that you’re living in a brave new world. Look for incredible cross-trainers that shimmer in metallic tones like rose gold, bronze, and silver. Neon piping, day-glo color panels, and unusual closures that think outside the standard laces will make an appearance as well.

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Ocean-Toned Footwear

Over the holiday season, we saw people dressing beyond the usual colors and styles. We especially liked the way so many fashion-forward people looked towards the ocean for inspiration when it came to their footwear. Colors like aqua, sea foam, and cerulean continue to be popular, as were merfolk-inspired embellishments like sequins.

While we don’t expect to see many sequins showing up on 2018’s crop of athletic shoes, you should keep an eye out for cool, watery tones that make you think of a perfectly tranquil blue sea on a sunny day. We’re personally in love with the Siren Edge from Merrell. It features the same breathable linings, supportive arch shanks, and heavy-duty footbeds you’d expect from a brand like Merrell, but in aquatic colors that are positively spot on with current trends.

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Fitness Clogs

Another fantastic option that’s perfect for people who want to be able to wear their workout shoes for more than just exercise is the fitness clog. As with the slip-on sneaker, fitness clogs are designed to deliver the utility of a walking shoe for outdoor exercise routines.

pair blue clogs rocks

Easy Spirit is an example of one iconic walking shoe brand that’s embracing the fitness clog in a big way this year. They feature the same breathable liners, shock-absorbent insoles, and skid-proof outsoles you’d expect from a bona fide walker, but it’s a shoe that’s as easy to put on, take off, and wear every day. Add a pair to your closet, and we guarantee you’ll have a new go-to favorite shoe for everything from housework to evening walks around the block, to chasing the kids through the park.

At the end of the day, choosing an athletic shoe that’s a perfect fit for your goals has a lot in common with choosing the right shoe for any other purpose. Start by looking for features and designs that were made with your specific activity of choice in mind. For example, if you prefer varied workouts that include more than one type of move, you can’t go wrong with a cross-trainer. Then find an appropriate footwear option that looks as good as it feels. You’ll get so much more out of your workouts—and you’ll look great, too!