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Year after year, sneakers have been slowly—but surely—taking over footwear. What was once a shoe only worn by athletes and sports enthusiasts has turned into a full-blown fashion zeitgeist. And while heels, sandals, mules and boots are all wardrobe must-haves for this year, there’s just something about the 2021 sneaker trends that makes them stand out from the rest. Perhaps it’s the fact that each trend is cute and comfortable at the same time, or maybe it’s knowing that they add up to endless street style possibilities. Either way, these trends are ridiculously good, so go ahead and clear out your shelves.
Because sneakers have seamlessly made their way into the fashion world, there are so many ways to shop for them. We’re seeing collaborations between sneaker brands and designers all over the place—New Balance and STAUD, Reebok and Victoria Beckham, Nike and Dior and Adidas and Prada, just to name a few. Sneakers aren’t just for working out anymore, people! They’re a major style must-have, approved by all your favorite retailers, brands and designers.
Of course, it’s likely you already have a pair of go-to sneakers in your wardrobe—but you can never go wrong with adding a few more. And once you feast your eyes upon all the 2021 sneaker trends, you’re going to want to shop each and every one. From futuristic vibes to fresh takes on vintage styles, there’s so much to love about these trends.
Leave last year in the dust (good riddance!) and move on to these impeccable sneaker trends. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about all the sneakers you’ll be seeing on Instagram—and hopefully in your closet—this year. Grab your comfiest socks and get ready to slip on these stylish sneaks and go.
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Brand To Watch: New Balance
If you’re always keeping your eyes peeled on Instagram or taking note of any street style round-ups, you’ve likely already noticed that New Balance sneakers are having a moment. The shoe brand has so many incredible styles that aren’t just for your trips to the gym. It’s safe to say New Balance looks are here to stay in 2021, so you might as well stock up on a few pairs.
Mesh Lace Up 700 Sneaker
These sneakers come in a ton of colorways, but I’ll always go back to black when it comes to my footwear. This pair of New Balances retails for $70 and are so comfortable, so you’ve been on the hunt for a good running shoe, this is the pair for you.
For a simple, can’t-miss New Balance sneaker, opt for the 990v5 Sneakers in the classic gray colorway. They’ll pair well with all your street style looks; in fact, the brand often jokes that this style is “worn by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio.” TBH, I love both aesthetics.
Elevated Air Force 1s
Everyone and their mother owns a pair of iconic white Air Force 1s, and it’s likely you wore the shit out of them in 2020. No more! Instead of repurchasing your go-to, stick to the classic silhouette but pick out a more stylized option. Whether that’s crazy colors, all-black or a special-edition style, giving your Air Force 1s an upgrade will definitely help you stand out from the crowd.
Air Force 1 Crater Sneaker
SIck of your usual white Air Force 1s? This colorful pair from Nike should be at the top of your shopping list. Yes, these are pretty out-there when compared to the rest of the options on this list, but all of the colors actually make these sneakers super easy to style. They’ll add an instant pop to even your most basic look.
Air Force 1 Shadow Sneaker
I love anything with a neon accent so yes, I will be buying these Air Force 1s. We already know that lime green is one of 2021’s most surprising—and versatile— viral shades, but there’s something about this gray and green combo that is so, so cool.
Simple sneakers are back in a big way this year. We’re talking about the high-top kicks you’ve had since high school, those old faithfuls that you go back to over and over again without fail. Skip the trendy brands for this look and shop the classics: Vans, Converse, etc.
A pair of Vans will forever be a cool-girl shoe, even if you’re not an avid skateboarder. Like all classic sneakers, they look a little better when they’re worn in. Plus, they look great with dresses and jeans alike, and what’s not to love about feeling like the frontman of a band at Warped Tour?
Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Sneaker
Everyone’s favorite high-top sneaker is getting a much-needed refresh in 2021. If you thought Converse only came in basic colors like white, black or cream, I’m happy to announce that patterns have entered the chat. Case in point: This graphic pair. They’re still neutral so you can wear them with almost anything.
As we mentioned earlier, the hottest sneakers of the moment are made by footwear brands in collaboration with top designers. These collabs tend to sell out fast, but when you can snag a sneaker with that high-fashion seal of approval, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Ultraboost X 3.D. Knit Sneaker
Stella McCartney has been teamed up with Adidas for forever and I’m always a fan of her fashion-forward sneakers. I love everything about the Ultraboost X 3D Knit Sneakers, from the textured soles to the tiny pop of indigo to the SM logo across the front. Also, it’s 2021, we don’t need laces anymore!
VB Dual Court II Sneaker
Statement-making sneakers are really blowing up my Instagram feed right now, but I have my eyes on this sleek silver low-top pair from Reebok’s collab with Victoria Beckham. Who knew Posh Spice could make the color look so cool? I’m normally more of a white sneaker gal, but I may have to make an exception.
Call The Fuzz
If you’ve ever wanted to wear slippers outside of the house, 2021 is your chance. Sneakers featuring shearling details and fuzzy insoles are going to rule next year. These shoes really are just sartorially-acceptable slippers, and I’m not mad about it. For those who always have cold feet—or just like to stay cozy at all times—this trend is definitely a game-changer.
Now Cozy Sneaker
If you just want a little bit of fuzzy action, try these Dr. Scholl’s Now Cozy Sneakers. The slim silhouette and black faux leather uppers will have you looking ridiculously trendy, and the furry detail on the lining and tongue of the shoe adds the perfect amount of fluff.
Nobel Genuine Shearling Platform Slip-On Sneaker
Slip-on sneakers are still sneakers, people! They’re just a whole lot comfier (and way easier to put on). This all-black pair from JSlides can work for both the office and your off-duty days. I love anything that can be styled up or down, so I’m adding these to my cart right now.