2021’s Biggest Sneaker Trends For Men
2021’s Biggest Sneaker Trends For Men
Fashion has a thing for technical clothing of all kinds right now (hiking style and workwear are trends that won’t quit), but it’s always been happy to appropriate boots – from soldiers, mountaineers, riders and blue-collar workers. Those boots have the attributes all boots should have: durability, practicality, comfort and weatherproofing.
They may not move as fast as fashion, but sneakers certainly aren’t static. New styles and trends emerge every year, but only some are worth paying attention to. The trick is knowing which ones to adopt and which to disregard. That way, you can keep up to date without looking like a fashion victim.
With all that tech being churned out by sportswear’s heavy hitters, sometimes it’s nice to go back to basics. Retro suede runners are big news this year and make the perfect accompaniment to anything from a tailored tracksuit to raw selvedge denim.
These throwback kicks often feature vivid block colours, meaning they can be a great way to introduce a splash of vibrancy to even the most pared-back of outfits. Plus they’re seriously comfortable, which is always a welcome bonus. The best designs can be found at heritage brands like Spalwart, New Balance, Asics and Novesta.
Dunk-mania has been dominating the sneaker world for a couple of years now, but it really reached a crescendo in 2020. We lost count of how many times a limited-release Dunk SB dropped last year, but a subsequent slew of wider releases has seen the hype subside somewhat.
But it’s far from over. Dunk-mania has brought basketball shoes back into focus and although the Dunk itself may be starting to feel a tad played out, the resurgence of court-inspired footwear in general is really heating up. Expect to see more of it as we progress through the year.
Skate Shoe Resurgence
For better or worse, oversized skate shoes were all the rage in the early 2000s. Puffy tongues, bulky silhouettes and excessive detail were inescapable up until around 2005, and once they’d fizzled out, everyone was pretty confident that they wouldn’t be returning. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected, and lately there have been a number of pretty obvious clues that 2021 may well be the year that the skate shoe returns.
The first real sign came a few years back when A$AP Rocky paid homage to the Osiris D3 (the king of puffy ‘00s skate shoes) via a collaboration with Under Armour. But, more recently, some even bigger names have been jumping on the bandwagon. Not least of which, trendsetting label Louis Vuitton, which last year released its first ever signature skate shoe for pro skater and Palace poster boy Lucien Clarke. Watch this space.
New Balance 99
New Balance has been intermittently reviving models from its 99x line for a while now, resulting in some of the most noteworthy sneaker trends in recent years. The 990v5 took off with unprecedented success back in 2018, sparking dad-shoe madness, while last year the 992 was inescapable, with a string of collabs, limited releases, and a wider drop of some classic colourways.
It’s a safe bet to assume that New Balance will be continuing down the same path in 2021, and the rumour mill is already churning out plenty of speculation about the re-emergence of some older 99x styles. Which ones? For now, we’ll have to wait and see.
It’s no secret that the fashion industry takes a heavy toll on the environment. From factories billowing out greenhouse gasses to fast-fashion offcasts piling up in landfill, it all adds up, and sneakers are part of the problem.
Perhaps that’s why more and more brands are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact and create sneakers that put sustainability front and centre. New labels like Waes are making great-looking sneakers that are fully compostable to be kinder to the planet, while even big names like Nike and Adidas are experimenting increasingly with recycled fibres. A drop in the ocean, sure, but it’s a step in the right direction.