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If we asked you to describe 2021 in a few words, what would you say?
Two steps forward, two steps back?
All fine options to describe a year that was both infinitely better than 2020 but also not quite what we wanted.
Hello, we’re SPY.com, and we’re here to introduce you to The 2021 Man, our end-of-year awards for the best men’s products. This year, we selected our editor’s favorite products in four categories:
Our editors and writers tested and reviewed so many products over the last 11 months, and for our end-of-year guide to the best men’s products of 2021, we wanted to bring the goods. We didn’t just review the products below; we actually use them in our daily lives.
In 2020, we didn’t live so much as we survived, which is why The 2020 Man featured so many self-care products, emergency kits and face masks. Thankfully, with 2021 came the return of travel, in-person events, and everything else we missed so much during the plague. This year, men returned to the world, whether it was for Hot Boy Summer, your friend’s wedding that was postponed last year or the return of music festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella.
So for this year’s awards, we tried to pick the products men needed to make up for lost time and really live their best lives.
How We Chose The Winners for The 2021 Man
SPY.com writers and editors receive new products for testing on a daily basis, and we’re always on the lookout for new product launches. This year we saw a lot of companies expanding beyond their traditional product lines. Shave clubs like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club introduced new skincare and body products. Fashion brands like Off-White, Entireworld (RIP) and Shinola debuted new eyewear collections. Celebrities like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Tom Brady proved that celebrity collaborations could actually be totally awesome. Case in point: the surprisingly stylish collaboration between Tom Brady and Christopher Cloos eyewear, pictured below.
If 2020 gave us anything, it was the mainstreaming of comfy clothing like athleisure, and this year we fell in love with new comfy boxers, t-shirts, joggers and slippers. Perhaps that’s why 2021 was also the year that Crocs officially became cool, against all odds. However, as millions of people returned to work, many of us suddenly realized we had completely forgotten how to dress, and so we’ve been busy covering the latest releases from brands like Rowing Blazers, Todd Snyder and Billy Reid.
We also tried to select products that we found especially useful this year, whether they were for keeping us healthy or getting us ready for the most epic tailgating experience of our lives. In our ‘Always Be Prepared’ category we’ve got portable generators, emergency kits and fun goodies that made it possible to make the most of life after surviving the plague, again.
Finally, we tested so many grooming products. Peek into the homes of SPY editors and you’ll find boxes on boxes full of skincare products, razors, shampoos and conditioners and the latest colognes.
Ultimately, we selected our editors’ favorite products for these awards. Many of these products were newly released in 2021, but some of them have actually been around for a few years. We wanted to recommend the best products, and as everyone who lived through COVID times knows all too well, newer doesn’t always mean better. That’s why some of our award winners from The 2020 Man make another appearance this year.
Keep scrolling for The 2021 Man by SPY.com. We think you’ll find something you like, if not for yourself then for one of the men on your holiday shopping list.
Original Images by Tyler Schoeber. Modeling by Daniel Diodato. SPY editors Barret Wertz, Tyler Schoeber, and Tim Werth contributed to this feature.