The Best Sneakers for Men 2021

Mariana Salvo

Hoooooo boy. You’re here looking for the best sneakers of the year. And we’re here looking for the best sneakers of the year. So, who knows which sneakers are the best sneakers of the year? The coolest sneakers of the year? The most I-simply-cannot-ignore-these sneakers of the year? Well, I mean…all of us. When you get right down to it, trying to parse the coolest sneakers of the year comes down to a lot of subjectivity mixed with a soupçon of objectivity. And yet, here we are, trying to find the best, coolest sneakers of the year. And the year ain’t even over! So before we delve all the way into this particularly fraught enterprise, let’s simply list the greatest hits of the last six months. What will the next six months bring? Great question. But until then, here’s where we’re at.

Nike Space Hippie 04 ‘Chambray Blue’


Nike’s Space Hippie line—the brand’s funky footwear collection designed for the athletes of the not-so distant future—continues to thrill at every turn. The Swoosh’s latest release updates a fan-favorite, eco-friendly silhouette in a chambray composition, all anchored by the style’s distinctive crater foam sole. Sure, it’s technically a women’s sneaker, but when has that ever stopped you before? You know the drill: Size up 1.5 and get ready to fly.

Release: 1/11

Retail Price: $130.00

New Balance Nobium Concept 1 ‘Gray’


When New Balance’s Tokyo Design Studio dropped a collaboration with Snow Peak late last year, it was clear the brand had a hit on its hands. The Nobium Concept 1—a multipurpose, trail-ready shoe that can be worn as a boot, mule, or slip-on—seemed perfectly suited for the reality of WFH life (and a growing appreciation for the simple pleasures of the great outdoors). Now it’s back, in a neutral gray colorway so crisp it’s hard not to see it as a throwing-down of the gauntlet.

Release: 1/15

Retail Price: $299.00

Dunk High ‘Light Orewood Brown’

Nike x Notre

From $244.00

2020 was, without a doubt, the year of the dunk. If Nike has any say in the matter, the style isn’t going away any time soon. The brand kicked off the new year by teaming up with Chicago-based shop Notre on a pair of Dunk highs that prove the style is here to stay—for good. Come for the clean, almost-neutral design, stay for the instantly iconic reimagining of Nike’s swoosh logo, now tweaked to include Notre’s signature handshake detail.

Release: 1/21

Original Retail Price: $150.00

New Balance 991 Patta

New Balance

From $435.00

Brick red and olive green and a little toasty tan—a perfect combo. 

Release: 1/29

Original Retail Price: $220.00

Jordan 1 Retro High 85 Neutral Grey

From $295.00

Is there anything more elemental than a J1 in white and gray? We think not. 

Release: 2/10

Original Retail Price: $200.00

Nike Air Max 90 NRG


From $145.00

Nike for sure flew under the radar for this year’s Air Max day due to Covid-19 but we’re not mad at the delivery. the retro of a simple nostalgic colorway is sort of what we needed in the age of a hyped collab dropping couple times a month. This was a super limited sneaker when it first dropped in 2005 but now is mass produced and ultimately overlooked. It’s pretty wild to see how much the limited edition sneakers have changed but the lack of hype doesn’t make these sneakers any less special.

Release: 3/26

Original Retail Price: $140.00

New Balance 990v3

New Balance

From $218.00

If ever there were proof that the NB run is ongoing, it’s the extremely good riffs on the 990 being offered up by collaborators and in-house creators alike.

Release: 6/16

Original Retail Price: $220.00

New Balance 550

New Balance

From $218.00

International friendship through basketball! 

Release: 4/16

Original Retail Price: $130.00

ASICS Gel-Lyte III Concepts Otoro


From $161.00

Salmon, anyone?

Release: 6/1

Original Retail Price: $180.00

3 Retro A Ma Maniére


From $285.00

Is it possible to get a cleaner Jordan 3? Seems like the answer may well be, “No.”

Release: 6/10

Original Retail Price: $200.00

Reebok Club C Danielle Guizio


From $161.00

The much-beloved NYC designer lends her signature aesthetic perspective to one of the most-perfect court shoes on the market. What’s not to love?

Release: 6/10

Original Retail Price: $120.00

Nike Dunk Low


From $283.00

The OG colorway of the (not quite) OG sneaker from the Swoosh.

Release: 6/24

Original Retail Price: $100.00

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