Top 10 sneakers of 2021

Top 10 sneakers of 2021

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Here are the top 10 sneakers that stole headlines and influenced sneaker culture in 2021.

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

2021 is coming to a close and it has been filled with jaw-dropping collaboration and sneaker releases. We saw some highly anticipated three-way collaborations and game-changing designs that challenged our idea of what a sneaker could be. Here’s a look back at our top 10 sneakers of 2021.

 

Model: Adidas Yeezy Knit Runner

Drop date: September 29

Retail price: S$272

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

The Adidas Yeezy Knit Runner first appeared like a redesign of the Yeezy Foam Runner. Its similarly unconventional shape and laceless design made it seem like a potential hit when leaks first began to appear. Though multiple wear tests revealed lackluster performance and comfort, the sneaker challenged our idea of what a sneaker could be from a design perspective. It utilized all of the elements of a sneaker – foam, fabrics, elastics, rubber outsole ­– but assembled in a way that we have never seen before. It could potentially inspire a new wave of sneakers – the Yeezy 350 V2 had a similar effect.

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Stockx | Farfetch | Stadium Goods

  

Model: Fragment x Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low

Drop date: August 13

Retail price: S$204

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

Hiroshi Fujiwara of Fragment Design and Travis Scott came together to create the headlining sneaker of 2021, a royal spin on the Air Jordan 1. Though the collab offered the sneaker in two models, for the first time, sneakerheads preferred the lows over the highs. The sneaker’s classic black toe color blocking and cream hits made it much easier to wear and played into the neo-vintage trend. Sneakerheads also appreciated the wider cut and accurate retro proportions of the low top, making it more desirable than the highs for once.

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Stockx | Farfetch | Stadium Goods

 

Model: Air Jordan 11 Cool Grey

Drop date: December 11

Retail price: S$300

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

The Cool Grey Air Jordan 11 is a non-OG colorway yet has been one of the most coveted variants of the sneaker. The colorway did get retros in the last few years but as a low top. This is the first time in 11 years that the sneaker returns in its full OG glory. It also triggered a viral video of a brawl outside a Nike store – a staple of in-person Air Jordan 11 drops.

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Stockx | Farfetch | Stadium Goods

 

Model: Billie Eilish x Air Jordan 15

Drop date: October 28

Retail price: S$300

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

As promised in her Sneaker Shopping interview, Billie Eilish released a sneaker collab based on her favorite sneaker – the Air Jordan 15. Billie took the long-forgotten sneaker and updated it for 2021. Its all-tan color scheme and material choices resembled monotone Yeezys, which is definitely a good look.

Considering the status Billie has, she could have chosen an Air Jordan 1 and made an incredibly coveted sneaker collab. By choosing the 15 and AJKO, her collab has remained accessible even on the secondary markets, and many are reselling for under retail. Intentional or not, her collab was designed for her fans and is priced perfectly for them.

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Stockx | Stadium Goods

 

Model: Off-White x Air Jordan 2 low

Drop date: November 12

Retail price: S$340

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

The last sneaker released before his passing, the Off-White x Air Jordan 2 is Virgil Abloh’s ode to the iconic sneaker and Michael Jordan’s legacy. Though the internet was up in arms when the sneakers first leaked, Virgil used comment sections and social posts to explain the intricacies and storytelling that went into the design of the sneaker. Unlike many neo-vintage sneakers that have dropped in 2021, this was the first time the faux-aged detailing accurately depicted the aging of the sneaker – including the midsole crumbling, taking the trend to new heights.

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Stockx | Stadium Goods

 

Model: Salehe Bembury x Crocs clogs

Drop date: December 14

Retail price: S$115

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

Work-from-home life has created a thirst for footwear that works well both at home and on the streets. No one has fulfilled this need more than Crocs and this collaboration solidified their entrance into streetwear. Salehe completely reinvented the traditional Crocs silhouette and created footwear that blurred the lines between sneakers and clogs. Its organic texture and subtle colorways made them perfect for daily wear and sneakerheads took notice. It now resells for double its retail price, a clear indication of the overwhelming demand for the clog. We can only expect more fire collaborations between streetwear icons, like Salehe Bembury, and Crocs.

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Model: Salehe Bembury x New Balance 574 Yurt

Drop date: October 22

Retail price: S$200

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

Salehe Bembury had another well-timed sneaker, the New Balance 574 Yurt. It dropped just as people began to leave quarantines and were itching to explore the great outdoors. Salehe worked with New Balance to create a sneaker that could handle the terrains while offering a whistle for emergencies. His revamp included an enhanced Abzorb midsole and the addition of Rollbar technology – so it had the performance features to match up.

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Stockx | Farfetch | Stadium Goods

 

Model: New Balance 2002R Protection Pack

Drop date: August 20

Retail price: S$200

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

This is an unlikely sneaker to appear in a top 10 list but its presence is undeniable. The 2002R is a general release sneaker but it drew lineups and flew off New Balance shelves. Its design is simple, offering up a deconstructed look and paneling that accentuated its design. But its simplicity drew a following and now is being resold for three times its retail price. To see a GR New Balance sneaker achieve such desirability speaks volumes to the growing dominance of the brand in sneaker culture.

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Stockx

 

Model: Adidas Yeezy 450

Drop date: March 06

Retail price: S$272

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

Ye first unveiled the Adidas Yeezy 450 during Paris Fashion Week in 2020. The sneaker split the sneaker community due to its crazy design. The outsole was a solid block of foam that reached up to form a cage on the knit upper. Everything about this sneaker was unconventional, from how it offered lockdown to even the lace eyelets. Its organic design surely turned heads and just like the Knit Runner, it challenges our idea of what a sneaker should look like.

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Stockx | Farfetch | Stadium Goods

 

Model: Nike Go Flyease

Drop date: February 15

Retail price: S$163

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

The Nike Go Flyease is so much more than a valiant effort by Nike to create a truly accessible sneaker. It became the focal point of the conversation about the ethics of reselling culture.

The sneaker had gone viral on social media for its truly revolutionary design. It’s a sneaker that you can slip on and off without having to use your hands – which made for incredible loop videos. But as soon as the sneaker dropped, it sold out in seconds on the SNKRS app. Almost immediately they were being resold for huge margins.

This enraged the sneaker community as it clearly crossed a line. The sneaker was designed for people living with disabilities but it was mostly picked up by people looking for a quick profit. This fuelled discussions about how such sneakers should be rolled out and if there should be lines resellers should not cross.

 

Bonus

Model: Salomon XT-6 Adv

Retail price: S$300

Top 10 Sneakers Of 2021 – Best Footwear That Influenced The Culture

As Nike drops became more inaccessible, sneakerheads began to look elsewhere for their sneaker pick-ups. Besides New Balance, the community also began to embrace Salomon, a trail sneaker brand. Notable designers like Daniel Arsham and sneakerheads like Joe La Puma began rocking the rugged sneakers. Besides offering excellent performance on nature trail roads, the Salomon XT-6 looks amazing when paired with workwear fits. This has made their sneakers so popular, stores like Dover Street Market have started to stock them.

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Stockx | Farfetch

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