We’ve talked before about how quickly fashion can grow, change, and evolve, but it seems to happen at an even faster pace when it comes to sneakers. So much of the culture around sneakers and shoes involves having the latest and greatest, making keeping up super difficult. But fortunately, we’re here to help.
As you get ready to lace up your next pair of shoes or get ready to search StockX for your next grail pair, we’ve highlighted four of 2021’s best sneaker trends for you to get familiar with, as well as spotlighting three trends you’ll maybe want to leave behind. Regardless of whether you’re on-trend or behind the eight ball, here are our predictions for men’s sneaker trends in 2021.
Sneaker Trends We Love
1. Take a Walk
As part of the larger gorp/hiking-related moment we’re having, hiking boots of all shapes and sizes currently have their time in the sun. Whether it’s high-top supportive boots that are completely waterproof or low-cut shoes capable of letting you trail run, either option looks just as great on your foot while you kick it around town. The key with these is their strong insoles, which provide great support for your feet all day long. While plenty of brands (Hoka One One, Merrell, On Running) have great selections, the trendy pick remains Salomon and their XT series.
Salomon XT-6 Sneakers
2. Kick Push
All of Nike’s offerings will remain popular — that’s how it goes for the Swoosh — but the Nike Dunk SB is particularly on fire right now, along with most other skate shoes. The Dunks look like a hybrid between a pair of basketball shoes and a standard skate shoe, which only helps to further their popularity. Getting your hands on one is going to be pretty difficult, but it might be worth it if you’re looking to the freshest guy on the block.
Nike Dunk SB Sneaker
3. Old School Meets New School
Brands love to dig deep into their archives and break out old designs with new details. New Balance has consistently done it, both with their 99x line and even with a few high-profile collaborations. Basically, what’s old is new again — especially when it comes to NB. We anticipate the company to do more releases this year, so keep your eye on the prize to score some of your own. Yet, in the meantime, you can’t go wrong with snagging an existing model from the 99x collection.
New Balance 993 Sneaker
4. Minimalist, Yet Sporty
After the dominance of garish shoes, it makes sense we’d see a swing back towards quieter, more minimalist shoes. White sneakers made popular by Adidas and Common Projects are back, capable of pairing just as well with a suit as they do shorts in the summer. Think actual tennis shoes like the ever classic Stan Smith or even a Veja. No matter which you choose, be sure to incorporate them into the rotation to finish off any outfit with an elegant touch.
Adidas Stan Smith Sneaker
Sneaker Trends We’re Ditching
1. Size Down
If you’re considering a thick shoe that’s not a hiking boot, we kindly ask that you reconsider, as the days of oversized, boot-like sneakers with oversized heels are long gone. Instead, slim down and opt for something a little less garish; classic canvas shoes like a Converse or a Vans are great to wear all year long. I personally love to get a new, white pair of Vans at the beginning of summer and then just beat them to hell and back, seeing the memories of nights out right on my shoes.
Vans Old Skool SK8 Low
2. Air Jordan Comes Down to Earth
Okay, listen, we’re not saying to totally ax your well-curated collection of Jordans. However, we encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to looking at basketball shoes. Options from places like Converse and even APL offer up a slightly different take from tried and true Jordan silhouettes. It’s nice to change things up now and again, and swapping your court shoes is an easy way to breathe new life into your wardrobe.
Athletic Propulsion Labs Concept X Basketball Sneaker
3. No Sneakers . . . At All?
In some corners of the menswear world, there’s been a movement to ditch our overreliance on sneakers altogether. That’s not to say completely forgo your kicks, but take the time to realize there’s more to life than chasing the latest Nike drop. Including, dare we say, dress shoes. A good pair of loafers can be styled in both a casual and formal matter if you know how to pull it off properly. We particularly dig these from Wolf & Shepard, as their insole is as comfy and cushioned as your sneakers.