The 20 Best Designer Sneakers of the Season

best designer sneakers
Courtesy of Selfridges
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In this new era of WFH and an almost-enforced casual style, where does that leave the world of men’s designer sneakers? NYFW has just passed, and while we caught a glimpse of what the best designer sneakers will look like for fall, what will they look like for spring and summer 2021? According to trend forecaster Sharon Graubard, Founder and Creative Director of MintModa, in an email interview, sneakers aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’re going to be as important to your wardrobe as our clothing becomes more athleisurewear oriented.

Circling back to Fashion Week, we’ve seen the rise of the classic two-tone (and sometimes multi-hued) running shoe. They popped up in The Stolen Garment, Ka Wa Key and Onyrmrk shows. Colin LoCasio added a pop of neon to his chunky sneakers, so don’t toss yours out. And if you’ve been loving your old school high-top Converse, they were mixed with Nahimas’ fall looks. For fall, Celine showed white sneakers with colored accents and checkerboard soles on his shoes. Virgil Abloh seemed to one-up him, as he’s got that going on with his Off-White sneakers that you can buy now. While it used to be that if you wanted to know what was going on in the world of men’s designer sneakers you followed what Prada showed on the runway, for the past few years that pole position has been given to Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga’s Creative Director. He single-handedly brought on the chunky sneaker phenom as well as the knitted sock boot and sneaker. Now, he’s showing a streamlined running shoe, and everyone else will be sure to follow.

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What are the best designer sneakers to buy now? White sneakers will never go out of style, they’re crisp looking, and designers have lots of options that will look good in your closet. Same goes for chunky-soled sneakers and dad shoes. No one wants to give up those deeply cushioned dad shoes. No one. As mentioned earlier, look for 70s influenced running shoes, classic tennis shoes, sneakers that have a hiking twist to them, and basketball shoes that look as if they popped out an 80s commercial. The silhouettes haven’t been messed with, but now you’ve got lots of fabric and color choices. Men’s designer sneakers are starting to equally embrace function and style.

Since the weather is getting warmer, scroll through to find the best designer sneakers to kick around in for spring and summer.

  

1.Common Projects Track Classic Sneaker

BEST OVERALL

Common Projects was created in 2004 because Flavio Girolami and Peter Poopat wanted to make the perfect shoe. Now, Common Projects is a cult favorite with fans never blinking an eye at CP’s often exorbitant prices. It could be because all Common Projects shoes are made in a factory in the Marche region of Italy, it could be due to the high quality of the leather or it could be because they feel soo good on your feet. Their new Tracks Classic Sneaker looks like it snuck off the fall 2021 runways. The design is so on-trend it hurts. The designers have taken the best of 70s running shoes; the two matching shades of suede and non-suede and reconstructed that fossil into a future classic.

Common Projects Track Classic Sneaker - Best Designer Sneaker Courtesy of Nordstrom

Common Projects Track Classic Sneaker

$489.00
  

2.Off-White Vulcanized Low-Top Sneakers

RUNNER UP

Fashion designer Virgil Abloh always adds a drop of Marcel Duchamp and cheeky humor into his designs. His spring sneakers showcase the brand’s stripes on the sides. Making one wonder if Hedi Slimane was inspired by them when he designed Celine’s fall footwear.

Off-White Vulcanized Low-Top Sneakers Best Designer Sneaker Courtesy of FarFetch

Off-White Vulcanized Low-Top Sneakers

$255.00
  

3.Alexander McQueen Show Leather Platform Trainers

BEST PLATFORM

Once you get used to a trend, you find yourself falling a little bit in love with it. For everyone who would feel lost without a chunky-soled sneaker, Alexander McQueen’s platform designer shoes will hold the fort. The leather sneaker has navy accents at the heel.

Alexander McQueen Show Leather Platform Trainers Best Designer Sneakers Courtesy of Selfridges

Alexander McQueen Show Leather Platform Trainers

$495.00
  

4.Bally Wilsy 18 Low-Top Sneakers

MOST SPORTY

A couple of years ago, Bally made a fashion comeback; they’d gone from fusty to fashion trendsetter. These blue calf leather sneakers have a sporty red and white stripe detailing and a croc-embossed leather heel pad.

Bally Wilsy 18 Low-Top Sneakers Courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman

Bally Wilsy 18 Low-Top Sneakers

$306.00
  

5.Golden Goose Superstar Distressed Leather and Suede Sneakers

MOST INDIVIDUAL

Golden Goose is a niche luxury sneaker brand whose styles don’t change. They’re the perfect example of a high-end sneaker; the styles are never in or out, they’re distinctive and slightly iconic. These sneakers are hand-distressed so that no two pairs will look alike.

Golden Goose Sneaker -Best Designer Sneaker Courtesy of Mr Porter

Golden Goose Superstar Sneakers

$495.00
  

6.Balenciaga Two-Tone Caged Sneakers

MOST FASHION FORWARD

There are many people who bow at the altar of Denma Gvasalia. His prescient designs seem to change fashion overnight. There aren’t that many designers around who can influence so many of their peers, but Gvasalia does. We’re most likely looking at a track shoe that will be copied by everyone next year.

Balenciaga Two-Tone Caged Sneakers - best designer sneakers Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Balenciaga Two-Tone Caged Sneakers

$695.00
  

7.Prada A&P Luna Rossa 21 Sneaker

BEST COLLAB

The A&P stands for Adidas and Prada; this sneaker is a combined effort of the two brands. Made from Primegreen recycled materials, it has a hydrophobic shell that encases the upper part of the Adidas ergonomically designed sneaker.

Prada A&P Luna Rossa 21 Sneaker -Best Designer Sneaker Courtesy of Prada

Prada A&P Luna Rossa 21 Sneaker

$695.00
  

8.Reebok + Maison Margiela Classic Tabi Leather Sneakers

RUNNER UP COLLAB

Maison Margiela and Reebok came together to create a white sneaker with a twist. While the design is based on Reebok’s classic 80s style, Margiela added the split-toe, a nod to the designer’s Tabi boot.

Reebok + Maison Margiela Classic Tabi Leather Sneakers - Best Designer Sneakers Courtesy of Mr. Porter

Reebok + Maison Margiela Classic Tabi Leather Sneaker

$300.00
  

9.Gucci Tennis 1977 Denim Low Top Sneaker

MOST UPDATED CLASSIC

Alessandro Michelle, Gucci’s Creative Director has single-handedly revived the venerable brand. Whatever he creates, he adds a twist of nostalgia to his designs. Take this fresh take on the classic tennis shoe: Michelle’s gone into Gucci’s vault, plucked out a classic print and revitalized it into a must-have casual shoe.

Gucci Tennis 1977 Denim Low Top Sneaker - Best Designer SNeaker Courtesy of Bloomingdales

Gucci Tennis 1977 Denim Low Top Sneaker

$690.00
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10.Converse Off-White Marble Run Star Hike Sneakers

BEST HIKING SNEAKER

This season’s casual sneakers are pulling their inspiration from running and hiking shoes. Converse’s high-top sneakers have a touch of the old-fashioned hiking boot in them, but these are done in crisp fabric.

Converse Off-White Marble Run Star Hike Sneakers - Best Designer Sneaker Courtesy of Ssense

Converse Star Hike Sneakers

$110.00
  

11.Dior B23 High-Top Sneaker

BEST LOGO

Logomania is going to be sticking around for a while. It may be one of the reasons why Dior’s logo-rific high tops became such a hit. For spring, they’ve refreshed the print in a season-appropriate aqua. It has a transparent panel overlaid on the sneaker and has contrast details on its sides.

Dior B23 High-Top Sneaker -Best Designer Sneaker Courtesy of Dior

Dior B23 High-Top Sneaker

$1150.00
  

12.Nike Cortez Leather Low-Top Sneakers

BEST RETRO

The classic runner is one of the best designer sneaker models, so why not wear one from one of the original creators of that style. Revved up for Spring 2021, this low-top model is based on the company’s 1972 design — the one that every other designer is copying.

Nike Cortez Sneaker Best Designer Sneaker Courtesy of Blooimgdales

Nike Cortez Leather Low-Top Sneakers

$75.00
  

13.Balmain White and Gray Leather Mesh B Leather Running Shoes

BEST FUTURISTIC

Olivier Rousteing, Balmain’s Creative Director, manages to infuse futurism and a dose of Bauhaus into Balmain’s wares. Here’s his take on the running shoe. Made from calfskin and mesh, the laces run asymmetrically on each shoe. They’re distinctive and ahead of their time.

Balmain White and Gray Leather Mesh B Leather Running Shoes - best designer sneakers Courtesy of Balmain

Balmain White and Grey Running Shoes

$650.00
  

14.A-Cold-Wall Strand-180 Moc Sneakers

BEST FOR MINIMALISTS

These luxury sneakers combine two of footwear’s big trends, sneakers and slip-on shoes. The result is a cool twist on minimalism. The sneaker is enveloped in transparent rubber soles.

A-Cold-Wall Strand-180 Moc Sneakers - Best Designer Sneakers Courtesy of My Theresa

A-Cold-Wall Strand-180 Moc Sneakers

$350.00
  

15.Acne Studios Ballow Printed Sneakers

MOST FUN

Scandinavia’s Acne Studios takes the classic canvas sneaker and amps up its style with a playful cactus print. They have a rubber-topped toe just like the Ked’s you got as a kid.

Acne Studios Ballow Printed Sneakers - best designer sneakers Courtesy of My Theresa

Acne Studios Ballow Printed Sneakers

$311.00
  

16.Valentino Garavini Rock Runner Suede and Leather Sneakers

BEST PRINT

When reinventing the running shoe, why not make it outstanding by using a tropically colored camo PRINT? The suede sneaker has an almond toe and the designer’s rock studs highlight the sides.

 Valentino Garavini Rock Runner Suede and Leather Sneakers -Best Designer Sneakers Courtesy of Selfridges

Valentino Garavini Rock Runner Sneakers

$595.00
  

17.Y-3 Hicho Exaggerated Sole Leather Sneakers

BEST STREETWEAR INSPIRED

Y-3 used to take over streets, for fashion shows, runways and tents were never their thing. They’ve always successfully blended streetwear with luxury, and their take on the tennis shoe combines their aesthetics. While it does have a thick exaggerated toe, it’s less dad sneaker and more stylish tennis player.

Y-3 Hicho Exaggerated Sole Leather Sneakers - Best designer sneaker

Y-3 Hicho Exaggerated Sole Leather Sneakers

$300.00
  

18.Louis Vuitton A View Sneaker

BEST ELEVATED SKATE SNEAKER

Virgil Abloh is the Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton. That means that he works alongside Nicholas Ghesquiere, the label’s Creative Director. The A View Sneaker was a result of a meeting of the minds between Abloh and professional skater and photographer Lucien Clarke. The sneaker has reflective details, bungee cord laces and also comes in black or blue.

Louis Vuitton A View Sneaker Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton A View Sneaker

$1190.00
  

19.Dolce and Gabbana Sorrento Embellished Logo Slip-On Knit Sneakers

MOST FLASHY

If you’re going to go for a luxury sneaker, why not be bold? D&G’s knit slip-on sneaker is as decadent as a seven-layer cake. Even the logo tape is covered in multi-faceted stones.

Dolce and Gabbana Sorrento Embellished Logo Slip-On Knit Sneakers best designer sneaker Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

D and G Sorrento Embellished Sneakers

$1295.00
  

20.Saint Laurent Court Classic S10 Panelled Sneakers

MOST UPDATED TENNIS SHOE

Saint Laurent propels the classic white leather tennis shoe into the spotlight with its designer details. The heel block is navy, while the tongue is trimmed in red. The suede panels offset the leather body. Between the contrasting textures and color blocking, this is a sneaker with attitude.

Saint Laurent Court Classic S10 Panelled Sneakers -best designer sneakers Courtesy of Far Fetch

Saint Laurent Court Classic S10 Panelled Sneakers

$575.00
  

Without a Doubt, These Are the Coolest Sneakers in the Game Right Now