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Ranking The Top 10 Sneakers Of 2020

By Sneaker News

Not that you need to be reminded, but 2020 was a year in which everything, in comparison to the global pandemic, catastrophic disasters, social unrest, and divisive political elections, was downright trivial. We were all left to our devices (literally), consuming news of these events as they unfolded on screens right before our eyes. Online transactions ballooned to unpredictable rates, and “Add To Cart” became a form of therapy for many. Meanwhile, the restaurant and service industry took fatal blows as new corner bistros and decades-old institutions were forced into early retirement. 
 
While society was burdened with hardships, it is hard to ignore that 2020 was a downright solid year for sneakers. It was projected to be one for the ages, considering the number of key storylines that were expected to unfold. The Olympic Games have consistenly been an opportune stage for industry leaders to flex their latest innovations, and the demand for more retro revivals meant that every brand in the game had a fair shot. Collaborations reached far and wide, with its breadth stretching beyond shops and individual designers to luxury fashion houses and ice cream brands. 
 
So, as a bit of a recap of the year in sneakers, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Sneakers Of 2020. A wide range of criteria, including cultural impact, demand, and pure aesthetics were considered, as were a number of x-factors that truly separate the best from the rest. Of course, there more than ten sneakers that truly deserve attention for their own reason, so we’re also adding to the list with some “honorable mentions” voiced by select members of our staff, just to offer up the eclectic personal tastes that make up our squad. 
 
Now, without further ado, here’s out 10 Best Sneakers Of 2020.

10. KANGHYUK x Reebok Premier Road Modern Reebok once again continued to flex their tastes in collaborative partners in 2020. One key standout was this racy red/white iteration by Korean designer KANGHYUK, created as part of his automotive-themed “Car Part” series. Much praise must be sent in the direction of Evan Belforti, Reebok’s supremely talented footwear designer who has worked on some of the most imaginative yet practical special projects in recent memory. 
9. Nike Space Hippie 03 When NIKE, Inc. announced its “Move to Zero” campaign, strong emphasis was placed on minimizing the company’s carbon footprint across workspaces and supply chains. Those sustainability efforts led to the Space Hippie series; touted as “trash transformed,” the collection introduced Space Yarn and Crater Foam materials, with the 03 model standing out without objection. 
8. Kasina x Nike Dunk Low South Korea’s Kasina played a pivotal role in the rebirth of the Dunk, bringing back the sneaker boutique’s heartfelt POV on design that was once an artifact of collaborations. Inspired by its roots in Busan and its expansion throughout the peninsula, Kasina executed not one, but two iterations that were exclusively available in the country. 
7. Casablanca x New Balance 327 It’s undeniable that New Balance was entering the new decade with some unprecedented momentum on the retro front, but what surprised many sneaker enthusiasts was the refreshing New Balance 327. Launched with the help of Charaf Tajer’s Casablanca imprint, the 1970s-inspired trainer arguably helped make green and orange go-to hues on digital mood boards by the dozen. 
6. Travis Scott x Nike SB Dunk Low Travis Scott’s name alone demands attention. The artist never fails to deliver his Midas touch, causing uproar across drive-thrus and 144hz monitors alike. Though 2020 was undoubtedly a big, eventful year for La Flame, one piece of work stands tall above the rest: his Nike SB Dunk Low. With its wearaway design, patchwork construction, and playful use of details, the offering effectively raised the bar for not only the Dunk itself, but also collaborations in general. 
5. YEEZY Foam Runner In a year during which staying in was more recommended than not, lounge-ready footwear quickly slipped into sneaker rotations, but could they be considered a flex? The Yeezy Foam Runner could be, and countless of social media users agreed given how ubiquitous the partially-algae, ultra-breathable clog was. If it ever reaches the $20 USD price point ‘Ye is working towards, that “omnipresence” isn’t going anywhere. 
4. Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 992 Joe Freshgoods’ New Balance 992 has to be one of the biggest surprises of 2020. Though the Chicago-based creative’s first official foray into sneakers, the collaboration easily took All-Star Weekend by storm in a colorway that is undoubtedly one of the silhouette’s best. 
3. Off-White x Air Jordan 4o Virgil Abloh continues his reign among sneaker culture’s most prolific individuals. From the “The Ten” onward, the designer has produced many a sought after standout, most still climbing up the resell charts as we speak. 2020 kept up the momentum with a number of releases, although none could rank higher than the Off-White x Air Jordan 4, a women’s exclusive that is among the brand’s best period. 
2. Ben & Jerry’s x Nike SB Dunk Low “Chunky Dunky” Headlining Nike SB’s strongest year since the early-mid 2000’s era was this partnership with Ben & Jerry’s, the creative creamery known for its eclectic flavor concepts. Merging their signature pint artwork with the SB Dunk, the “Chunky Dunky” was coveted by all, but scooped up by few. Their shared views on the social issues made this collaboration even more natural, especially in a year in which uniting of voices seemed all the more important. 
1. Dior x Air Jordan 1 The merging of the sneaker and fashion world reached an absolute apex with this collaboration between Jordan Brand and French luxury fashion house Dior. By applying the famed Dior Grey with its Oblique Jacquard, Dior and Jordan immeasurably enhanced the beauty of the original silhouette, resulting in unprecedented extravagance that later had people emptying savings accounts just to secure a pair. 
THE HONORABLE MENTIONS/PERSONAL FAVORITES 
 
Yu-ming Wu: 
Undefeated x Nike Kobe 5 Protro “What If?” Pack 
Union x Air Jordan 4 
WTAPS x New Balance 992 
 
John Kim: 
Sneaker Politics x adidas Forum ’84 
Packer x Reebok Premier Trinity (Grey) 
Undefeated x Nike Kobe 5 Protro “What If?” Pack 
 
Michael Le: 
Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS GEL-Kiril 1/2 
WTAPS x Vans Vault “Crossbones” Pack 
ASICS UB1-S GEL-Kayano 14 
 
Jovani Hernandez: 
Nike ACG Antarktik 
Human Made x adidas Tokio Solar 
AFFIX x ASICS Novablast (Brown) 
 
Ji Choi: 
thisineverthat x New Balance 2002R 
Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 550 
Kiko Kostadinov x ASICS GEL-Kiril 1/2