The sneaker industry doesn’t conform to the changing of the seasons. Most of the time, the best sneakers for men stay in style long after their initial release and remain hot for years (even decades) to come. Just look at the ever-so-classic Chuck Taylor from Converse — your dad rocked those as a kid, and now you probably even own a couple of pairs yourself.
On the other hand, new releases that emerge from the ether present themselves to the world through a crafty Instagram post and then immediately sell out. While these sneaks are dope, they’re seemingly more of a collector’s item and less of a wearable shoe. Nonetheless, suppose you are a devoted sneakerhead or aspiring to be. In that case, you need the lowdown 24/7: Sole Collector is the eminent website to ensure you are up-to-date and don’t miss out on the hottest releases. Just a little pro-tip.
Keep in mind, the coolest sneakers for guys don’t always have to be the newest of the bunch. Aside from Chuck Taylors, a slew of classic style sneakers refuses to go out of style, from classic white sneakers to streamlined leather sneakers. Despite them being at the bottom of your body, a sick pair of sneakers is the cherry on top of your day-to-day outfit, meaning they have to flow with your style, or they will not look good on you.
However, you’d be forgiven for feeling flustered when looking for some stellar new kicks to match your fits. That’s why we decided to sift through and bring you the best selection of different styles, prices and brands. From the coolest sneakers of the year to long-time favorites, here are the best sneakers for men you can buy now.
The Most Popular Sneakers of 2021
Given the year and a half we’ve all had, it’s been a little harder to rock fresh kicks in public. Thankfully, everything’s starting to open up, and we can get outside again. Social media, of course, has us clued in so we can see what the rest of the world is wearing, and the flex posts haven’t slowed down in the slightest. There have been some dope kicks making waves in 2021, from the futuristic-looking New Balance Nobium Concept 1, which dropped in the summer, to the new eco-take on adidas’ Stan Smith sneaker — a style that’s been hot for years.
Whether you’ve been sporting your new kicks just around the block or are slowly but surely switching from work from home to the office (hello commute — we didn’t miss you), these kicks have been causing a real ruckus in recent months.
1. adidas Forum 84 Hi Shoes
You can’t help but hear Outkast’s “So, Fresh, So Clean” when you eyeball these sneakers. Released into the world in September 2021, they’re looking tight, fresh, and yes, so clean. Inspired by the great b-ball shoes of the ’80s, they’re even finished off with the Velcro tabs that make the unmistakable noise when you pull them. On the one hand, they’re so OG, and yet they’ve got modern touches and construction, all wrapped up in premium leather. Even if the closest you’ve come to a court is a seat in the stands, these kicks give you MVP status whenever you wear them.
2. Allbirds Wool Runners
If you haven’t seen somebody somewhere strutting their stuff in a pair of Allbirds yet, there’s a good chance you live on a deserted island. In which case, welcome back to the real world (and by the real world, we mean the internet). Allbirds has been popping off for a few years on the feet of both young folk and older people alike. They come in a variety of colors, ranging from classic neutral tones to colorful overtakes. The sneaks are popular because they’re lightweight and crafted from renewable materials, making them an excellent choice to snag if you care about the planet. Every style of Allbirds helps minimize odor, and they even look great when you’re wearing a suit to work … eventually.
3. adidas Stan Smith Sneaker
BEST POP OF COLOR
For those that like to rock the all-whites with just a little peek of vibrancy, check out adidas’ reinvented Stan Smith sneakers. The style has been a tremendously popular street-style sneaker for decades at this point, but what makes this new iteration stand out is the updated construction. These tennis shoes may look like the classics, but Adidas ditched the leather for a vegan Primegreen upper, made from high-performance, recycled materials. The brand kicked off its new commitment to use only recycled polyester by 2024 with one of its most iconic styles. Now the shoe that’s known for looking so good is really doing some good too. #westan
4. Bodega X New Balance 990v3
Bodega’s done collabs with Nike, Reeboks, Vans and numerous other brands. Its redesign of New Balance’s 99oV3 uses subtle tones with a rich taupe suede overlay that highlights the deep-hued mesh. When launched in June 2021, it caused a minor frenzy as all limited edition sneakers do. Luckily, there are quite a few in stock, and if you’ve been jonesing to slip your feet into an excellently engineered sneaker with a cool color combo, now’s the time to snag these sneaks before they’re gone.
5. Chuck Taylor All Star
Do we even have to explain to you why these make every best sneaker list? You already know how iconic these sneakers are. This shoe has been on the feet of kids, teens, and adults for what feels like a millennium, and they have yet to go out of style. Now, Converse has a massive archive of Chuck Taylor-inspired sneaks in collaboration with countless brands and artists and even features the style in just about a range of colors matched only by Pantone. There’s no way to look bad in this effortlessly cool black Chuck Taylor, though, so that’s why we’re suggesting you snag this baby ASAP.
The Coolest Sneakers of 2021
We’ve given you the most popular; now we’re onto the dopest must-have sneakers 2021 has to offer. This list contains the newest drops mixed with sneakers that debuted last year and are still running way, way ahead of the pack.
6. Rothys RSO1 Sneaker in Hudson
Rothys uses 3-D printing to turn plastic bottles into sleekly designed shoes and sneakers. The company has re-used millions of bottles and 100 tonnes of ocean-bound marine plastic into stylish shoes, bags and accessories since its founding in 2015. In the brand’s latest launch, the soon-to-be iconic RS01 sneaker was released in three retro-inspired colors, in addition to the already stellar selection offered for the first time earlier this year. There are great comfort details such as a terry lining, contoured footbed, and a padded collar; not to mention they are ready-to-wear right out of the box (seriously, all of us at SPY have tried them, and we can’t get enough.) Best of all, when they get dirty, toss them in the washing machine.
7. Cariuma OCA High — All Camel High
Neutral tones are underrated and easily overlooked. And that’s their secret weapon, as they quietly amp up your style. Cariuma’s OCA High has been reworked for fall in camel suede. This sleek update is an office-, weekend- and date-friendly option. While it’s a new release, it’s already garnering some serious five-star reviews. Made from premium materials in ethical factories, Cariuma doesn’t stint on luxurious touches like a cushy insole comprised of memory foam, tanned leather, and an EVA sole. Every step is like walking on a cloud. It also sports a padded collar, cap toe, and a grippy outsole that compliments the suede upper perfectly. Cariuma is so eco-conscious; it exclusively uses carbon-neutral shipping, and for every pair of shoes bought, it plants two trees. Toss on your darkest jean, grab a designer tote and hit the road.
8. Off-White Low Vulcanized Sneaker
Anything Virgil Abloh designs is an instantaneous hit. Whether he’s working his magic on Louis Vuitton fashion or his one collection, people get a tad crazy waiting for his latest drop. There is no doubt, these sneakers have been long-awaited. The low-top vulcanized style is the crème de la crème of streetwear. The brand’s logo sits atop the canvas body, while its signature contrasting stripes zip along the rubber wall, echoing a tiny crosswalk. Art. Streetwear. Sneaker. Hot stuff. However you describe them, this is one super cool shoe.
9. Everlane Forever Sneaker
These babies from the always stylish Everlane dropped last summer and made our 2020 list. Its 2.0 is equally excellent, and now, its added more colors and fabrications. These are great sneakers for more than their good looks. After your years of wear, these are designed to be fully recyclable. That means once these shoes fall apart from wearing them every day, you throw them right into the recycling. They’re also lightweight, durable and sustainably made from recycled materials too.
More Sneakers We Love Right Now
A handsome pair of sneakers never go out of style if you wear them right. Feel free to incorporate any of these into your 2021 fits with ease — there’s no way you’ll regret it.
10. VANS Anaheim Factory Old Skool 36 DX
BEST COLOR EXPLOSION
If you think your footwear wardrobe needs a little injection of color, what better way than these Anaheim Factory Old Skool 36DX Vans? Color-blocking is as strong as ever, and these sneakers are on-trend and spiffy. Skater or not, these can spice up any weekend outfit, but never in an offensive way; they only want to have a bit of fun. For even more fun, you can get them in the high-top version too.
11. Saucony Jazz Court RFG
12. Reebok Club C 85 Men’s Shoes
BEST DAD SNEAKER
We’ve stolen dad’s hats, his jeans, and we’ve been stealing his sneakers for a while now too. A style that was once relegated to mall walkers is now hitting the streets. Hard. Reebok’s Club C 85 is one of its classic dad sneakers, and they’ve been updated for a new season. These tennis-inspired sneakers are done in white leather with navy trim and have dad-approved details, including a cushioned sock liner and a cushy, comfortable EVA midsole.
13. Wolverine BLVD Sneaker
BEST LEATHER SNEAKER
Wolverine makes an incredible boot, so after almost 140 years, it’s no surprise just about everyone has copied its iconic 1000 mile boot. The leather-first brand recently launched a line of leather sneakers, and each style is a winner. These leather low-top sneakers are sleek and handsome. — so handsome they could grace both days at the office and nights at the bar. For work, try them with chinos and a crew neck sweater; trade the chinos for jeans and a hoodie on the weekend.
14. Veja Venturi Suede Sneakers
BEST SUSTAINABLE CHOICE
Fresh for fall is French footwear brand Veja’s Venturi sneaker. Veja only uses fair trade and organic materials when creating its sneakers. Transparency is a hallmark of its production system, where one could literally follow all stages of creation. It wages equitable contracts with farmers, which is one reason why Veja sneakers are on the pricey side. The brand wants to ensure that the people who grow the cotton, work in the factories, and produce its shoes are treated fairly. It keeps an eye on its CO2 emissions and is very careful regarding its carbon footprint. When you lace up or slip into a pair of Veja sneakers, you are enveloping your foot in the wares of a company that is ecologically minded and ethically responsible in everything it does. Venturi takes its inspiration from ’70s running shoes, and the rubber outsole is responsibly sourced from the Amazon forest.
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