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Top 10 Sneakers of 2020

2020 has been a weird year to say the least. From threats of world war 3 to a global pandemic that shut almost everything down, anything that brings some semblance of normalcy has been greatly embraced in all the uncertainty. One thing that has remained constant in all the madness of the year has been shoes. Yep, shoes. In an admittedly Nike dominated list, here are my top 10 picks for the best shoes released in 2020.

10. J Balvin Air Jordan 1

Originally unveiled during a half-time performance on American football’s biggest stage, this exclusive AJ1 uses an eclectic mix of colours, textures and graphics to re-imagine the classic silhouette in the image of Colombian recording artist J Balvin. Rough-sewn overlays blur the design’s typically crisp design lines, while a spectrum of neon hues inject the look with an aggressive burst of energy. Customisable graphics (including Balvin’s signature smiley face) put a distinctive twist on the tongue, with similar visuals adorning the shoe’s insole and heel.

9. Nike Air Max 90 Moscow

As Nike continues to celebrate 30 years of the Air Max 90, the first Nike sneaker to be widely recognized in Russia sees its own city-inspired iteration, the Nike Air Max 90 Moscow, which celebrates the rich history and modern architecture of Russia’s capital. The Nike Air Max 90 Moscow employs a Smoke Gray color scheme, which is an homage to local construction and the city’s fall sky. This is combined with Infrared and Lazer Blue elements (a nod to the shoe’s original color blockings) to reflect the city’s night lights.

8. Off White Air Jordan 5

Inspired by the OG “Metallic” Air Jordan 5, this release features a Black textile mesh upper with Off-White’s signature “Shoelaces” branding on the laces along with its text on the inner netting side panel. 3M reflective tongues with a Fire Red Jumpman logo and “23” stitched on the heels atop an aged translucent outsole completes the design.

7. Sean Cliver Holiday Special Dunk

What better way for Nike SB to put a bow on the year than to enlist Sean Cliver and the StrangeLove Skateboards crew for a festive “Holiday Special” Dunk. Complete with warm nods to the festive season, the look follows the squad’s equally jovial “Krampus” SB Dunk from 2012.

6. The Women’s Air Jordan 1 “Satin Snake”

best exemplifies Jordan Brand’s approach to designing women’s colorways in 2020. Here’s the formula: Reference a classic look and incorporate premium materials that won’t wear down over time and you’ll have success.

5. ‘Brazil’ Dunk Low

The timeless silhouette of the Dunk lends itself to unique colour-blocking, leading to a number of notable colourways over the model’s decades-long reign. Back for the first time since 2001, the ‘Brazil’ Dunk Low features Varsity Maize panels and Pine Green overlays as an ode to the most emblematic colours of the country.

4. Civilist Dunk Low

At first glance, the Civilist Dunk Low appears to be a low-profile, black leather skate shoe. But once it is exposed to a little heat, it reveals a thermochromatic pattern that would be right at home on a rave dancefloor.

When the Berlin Wall was finally demolished in 1991, Berlin’s Mitte District was reunited and became the epicenter for the countercultural rave movement that had been evolving in both East and West Berlin. Civilist pays homage to the raver culture that developed in their hood with the new Civilist Dunk Low.

3. Ben & Jerry Dunks

In the past, the Nike SB crew has sourced inspiration from everything from leftover pizza to cheap beer for new Dunk colorways. And it’s worked! The ultimate food inspired SB Dunk is Ben & Jerry’s “Chunky Dunky,”. Inspired by Ben & Jerry’s popular classic banana, fudge and walnut “Chunky Monkey” ice cream flavor, the upper of the shoes feature a leather base marked with green pastures and blue skies framed by cow print pony hair. The main branding element on the upper inspired by the frozen confectionary purveyor’s signature pint pail are yellow melting Swoosh logos.

2. Air Dior

The most expensive sneaker on this list, this Nike, Kim Jones and Dior collaboration has been sold for as high as twelve thousand United States Dollars and was even traded for a pretty decent looking car in one of Sneakerhead Harrison Nevel’s YouTube videos.

1 Off White Air Jordan 4 Sail

The full-grain leather upper arrives in a cream colorway with grid mesh and clear textile, giving the shoe an unmistakable deconstructed look popularized by Abloh and Nike in late 2017. Tonal plastic cages and panels appear on the side and heel, while Abloh and Off-White™’s signature branding is applied just above the Air unit and on the laces. To no surprise, the shoe comes with an Off-White™ zip-tie, as well as a Jordan Brand tag.

That rounds it up for my top ten picks for sneakers released in 2020.

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