Ranking The Top 5 Sneakers of 2020

As this crazy year comes to an end I think that its time to look back and reflect on the heat that dropped this year. 2020 has been tough for everyone and with all the craziness came delays on releases. This list could have looked so much different if it weren’t for the world being flipped upside down. I am not trying to take away focus on the many issues facing the world right now but rather I am trying to look back and appreciate what came out of this year. For me the one thing that has helped me get through the year as lame as it sounds is sneaker so I am taking time right now to focus on my top five sneakers that released this year. This by no means should dictate what you buy or like because this list is based completely off of my personal opinions, but this is 100% correct and I don’t want to hear other wise. There have been lots of lists floating around the internet lately ranking the sneakers of the year but this is the only one that really matters.

5) Bodega X New Balance 997S “Better Days”

The third and final installment in Boston sneaker boutique Bodegas trilogy with “New Balance” on their 997S silhouette makes the list at #5. The driving force behind this sneaker is its ability to portray the story behind the three pack, with colours and materials partnered with the illustrations on the insole tell a story better than any other sneaker I’ve seen all year. Bodega is attempting to tell a story of growing old, moving on, and finding better days ahead, which, I believe, is more important now than ever. The materials on these kicks are out of this world with the quality and the way they mixed and matched different materials so seamlessly make this an easy choice for me. I’m also a little bias towards this shoe because it’s one of the few valuable sneakers I was able to get my hands on personally this year.

4) Off-White X Jordan 4

It’s poetic that Virgil Abloh’s take on the iconic Jordan 4 landed in fourth place on my list. Virgil and his brand Off-White have maintained their deconstructed approach with their re-working of the Jordan 4 in women’s sizing only. The “Sail” colourway gives this shoe the ability to pair with an abundance of outfits while still having distinct features that will not get lost within the pantheon of Jordan 4’s we have been seeing lately. The all over “Sail” colour accented by the clear eyelets, mesh and back tab of the shoe (Nike Air on the back of course, no jumpman logo thank god) make this shoe unmistakably Off-White and a must cop for the small feet community.

3) Dior X Jordan 1 (High and Low)

This is a tough one for me. I don’t love putting a shoe on here that is completely inaccessible to the general public. However the impact the Dior Jordan 1 had on the sneaker world secures its place on this list. The designer touches from Kim Jones and the Dior team on the timeless silhouette of the Jordan one along with the quality of the Italian leather is a match made in sneaker heaven. I’ve heard complaints that Dior didn’t do enough and it seems slightly lazy on their part and I get that but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a collaboration where it seems a little lazy or disingenuous. The fact that the Dior Jordan 1 came out with both a high and a low is interesting, makes me wonder if this is something that Jordan Brand might start doing with lots of their more coveted collabs and colourways. Unfortunately if you didn’t get lucky when they drew names for pairs (while also having $2,200 to purchase at retail...) you’re looking at a price tag upwards of $12,000 to cop a pair...

2) Ben and Jerry’s X Nike SB Dunk Low “Chunky Dunky”

Nike and “Ben and Jerry’s” came correct with one of the wildest collaborations to ever exist! Named the “Chunky Dunky” a play on words referencing the popular “Ben and Jerry’s” ice cream flavour chunky monkey. The colours and materials are all over the place but still manage to capture the essence of the iconic ice cream company while complimenting the silhouette of the shoe. The design includes tie-dye insoles, green out soles, a yellow swoosh that seems to be melting and the proverbial cherry on top is an all over cow spotted pony hair material on the upper as well as the tongue. The Chunky Dunky’s resale price has skyrocketed since the release and this due to the mass appeal these sneakers have to the general public. These are the shoes that even people who don’t know anything about sneaker culture have come across on Instagram.

1) Salehe Bembury X New Balance 2002R

Vice President of men’s footwear at Versace, Salehe Bembury teamed up with New Balance to bring back to life a fairly dormant silhouette the 2002R successfully. Salehe who has been around the sneaker industry for a very long time has finally gotten his long awaited collaboration with a major sneaker brand and he absolutely killed it. Bembury’s distinct style is front and center in this design. The quality of materials on these kicks is amazing and the visual storytelling is perfect. The Antelope canyon in Arizona inspires the orange tonal colourway with a hit of sky blue on the logo to pull it all together. The colours and textures perfectly encapsulate the story that Bembury is telling. The quality, storytelling and Salehe’s contributions to the sneaker industry firmly plant this shoe at the top of my list.

Honourable Mentions:

Literally anything that KITH did this year as well as the following.

JJJJound 992 (personal favourite release)

Grateful Dead X Nike SB Dunk Low "Opti Yellow Bear"

Civilist X Nike Dunk Low

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