The 21 Best Sneakers of 2021


It’s now officially been twelve months since we started our weekly sneaker series, and now the time has finally come for us to narrow down our top selections of 2021. This is a tough one. This year was a unique but dynamic one in the world of sneakers. While the interest has always been present, 2021 sort of reaffirmed this weird space that we’re in when it comes to the pandemic, and how it’s forever changed the way we cop our sneaker releases. Gone are the days where we would stand in a long line outside of Nike in sometimes brutal temperatures for what felt like forever. The sneaker game is forever changed, and as they say, sometimes change can be a good thing. Motivational speech aside, you came to this article for our list of the best 2021 sneaker drops, and that’s what we’re here to do today. Let’s jump right into it.

1. Air Jordan 6 Carmine

Air Jordan 6 Carmine / GOAT

Release Date: 2/2021

This is a no-brainer, right? Now there were some production issues where a small percentage of the sneakers were affected in terms of discoloration issues, but plenty still took the risk and hit on what’s easily considered Jordan 6 staples. One thing is for sure, the Carmines will always result in sneakerhead chaos.

BUY NOW, $203

2. Reebok Pump Omnizone II Dee Brown

Reebok Pump Omni / GOAT

Release Date: 3/2021

Another obvious selection. Taking it all the way back to 1991 when NBA legend Dee Brown brought the house down with his historic “no-look” dunk, the “Omnipumps” have since become a living legend. We got to experience the magic again this past March, and it’s been a full-circle moment in the Brown family, with WNBA champion Lexie Brown (Dee’s daughter), signing on to the Reebok family.

BUY NOW, $375

3. Nike Dunk Low City Market

city market
Nike Dunk Low City Market / GOAT

Release Date: 3/2021

Massively underrated in our opinion. This sneaker is so “New York” that it isn’t even funny. The early 2000s graffiti design upped this shoe to the next level (especially with y2k fashion making a comeback), and our point still stands that the “City Market” colorway is a shoe that you aren’t going to see very often. Hopefully, Nike continues to push the boundaries when it comes to sneakers like these.

BUY NOW, $290

4. Adidas Yeezy QNTM

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Adidas Yeezy QNTM / StockX

Release Date: 3/2021

Known for their cultural impact in the realm of hoops and entertainment, The ‘QNTMs’ remain relevant for their impact in the hoops and entertainment industry despite being one of the more quiet “Yeezys.” This doesn’t have the unique design and elements as the others that have been released this year, and that is absolutely okay because sometimes simple works just as well.

BUY NOW, $120

5. Air Jordan 35 Black Red

Black Red
Air Jordan 35 Black Red / GOAT

Release Date: 1/2021

Nike brought the heat early with the ‘Air Jordan 35 Black Red’ colorway that dropped in January. The shoe sported a Chicago Bulls design in the upper and included suede overlays in the back, the classic Jumpman tongues, and a white midsole. The Breds continue to remain one of the most popular Js in the sneaker community.

BUY NOW, $142

6. Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG "Patina”

Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG "Patina” / GOAT

Release Date: 3/2021

Ah. The “Patinas.” These were called ugly, but apparently, they weren’t ugly enough to stop the madness that occurred on the SNKRS app. These sold out almost immediately, once again proving the power of AJ1s. Apparently 1s are so dynamic that even an “ugly” iteration can be snatched up with the quickness.

BUY NOW, $174

7. Nike Dunk High Game Royal

Nike Dunk High
Nike Dunk High Game Royal / GOAT

Release Date: 6/2021

Another underrated release that slipped under the radar in our opinion. University-themed colorways are always exciting because it signals the beginning of the college sports season approaching. Modeled after the Kentucky Wildcats logo and team spirit, the “Game Royal” colorway was another fun summer drop that didn’t get the attention that it deserved.

BUY NOW, $120

8. Air Jordan 1 High OG Light Fusion Red

Air Jordan 1 High OG Light Fusion Red / GOAT

Again, the power of the Jordan 1s. We called these the “McDonald’s” colorway because of the red, white, and yellow mixtures, and boy where they fire. Sometimes you need a shoe that’s going to be an instant eye-catcher, and this definitely one of them for sure.

BUY NOW, $140

9. Nike Lebron 18 Lebronold Palmer

Nike Lebron 18 Lebronold Palmer / GOAT

Release Date: 4/2021

It’s always super cool when a popular classic makes it way back on the current scene. Pulling from Bron’s days as a member of the Miami Heat, the shoe once again gave us those tropical island sweet tea/lemonade appearance and was a great spring/summer transition sneaker that could be paired with a lot in your closet.

BUY NOW, $99

10. Nike SB “TV Signal”

Nike TV Static
Dunk High SB Signal / GOAT

Release Date: 5/2021

A U.K. specialty sneaker, the TV signal SBs paid homage to those old school televisions with broken/disruptive signals. For those who are Gen Z’ers and can’t even begin to fathom such a thing, this was primarily common with older televisions (pre-streaming days) from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and even early 2000s. Nike has definitely gotta bring this one back.

BUY NOW, $111

11. Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Shadow 2.0”

Nike Shadow
Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Shadow 2.0” / GOAT

Release Date: 5/2021

We called these the “Digital Remaster.” Previous versions of the Shadow colorway had been almost impossible to cop, but diehards got another shot at snagging the coveted shoe this past May. We don’t have to give you a breakdown of the final results (quick sellout) because this sneaker wasn’t going to do anything but sell out quick, fast, and in a hurry.

BUY NOW, $249

12. Union x Air Jordan “Desert Moss”

Union x Air Jordan “Desert Moss” / GOAT

Release Date: 6/2021

Released in commemoration of Union’s 30th anniversary, these joints were fire. Union and Jordan did their thing on these. The sick contract of the green laces against the yellow upper was a killer, and the shoe technically could have been one for Los Angeles Lakers fans. Just saying.

BUY NOW, $368

13. NERF X Pump Omni Zone II Light Jammer

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NERF X Pump Omni Zone II Light Jammer / StockX

Release Date: 6/2021

Reebok did an incredible job of giving us nostalgic throwback sneakers this year, and one of those was the NERF Pumps from this past June. NERF automatically those Nickelodeon commercials from the early 2000s, and were a perfect way to unleash the child that is still very much a part of us.

BUY NOW, $175

14. Supreme X Nike Air Max 96 Metallic Silver

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Supreme X Nike Air Max 96 Metallic Silver / StockX

Release Date: 5/2021

The early part of 2021 was heavily focused on that early 2000s futuristic theme that we’ve talked about earlier. This shoe was very much TLC “No Scrubs” with the metallic silver and red design. We would certainly welcome this trend continuing in 2022.

BUY NOW, $148

15. Nike Air More Uptempo “Bulls”

Nike Air More Uptempo “Bulls” / GOAT

Release Date: 4/2021

More love for the Uptempos! That’s all we’ve got to say. There are so many colorway options to choose from when it comes to the Uptempos, and the “Bulls” are still readily available.

BUY NOW, $90

16. Nike Dunk Low WMNS ‘Green Glow’

Green Glow
Nike Dunk Low WMNS ‘Green Glow’ / GOAT

Release Date: 4/2021

Dunks, Dunks, and more Dunks y’all. There were tons of Dunks released this year, but for some reason, we couldn’t stop thinking about these. Not only were they different, but they were just in time for the spring season with the neon lime green. Of course, they sold out immediately as expected. One of these days we’ll have the conversation about the dunk resell prices, but for now, we will leave it alone.

BUY NOW, $215

17. Adidas D Rose 11 “Boardwalk”

Adidas D Rose 11 “Boardwalk” / GOAT

Release Date: 4/2021

If you are an avid reader of our weekly sneaker series, then you already know how important it is for us to showcase sneakers outside of the regular Nike/Jordan releases. We’ve always maintained that Derrick Rose has some of the best sneaker drops amongst NBA Players, and it’s the absolute truth. Rose’s sneaker drops are similar to his demeanor as an athlete—quiet yet deadly. The “Boardwalk” drop from April is one of our favorites from this year.

BUY NOW, $100

18. DQM x Nike Air Max 90 "Bacon"

DQM x Nike Air Max 90 "Bacon" / GOAT

Release Date: 3/2021

Here. We. Go. The “Bacon” drop honestly feels like a lifetime ago, but boy was it a time. These were released during Air Max week, and to say they caused a stir would be yet another understatement when it comes to the year 2021 in sneakers. The 'Bacons' are arguably one of the most sought-after Air Maxes of all time, and Nike brought back the 2005 design after fifteen plus years of requests. Nike and DQM have always had a great partnership, and it was cool to see them collaborate again. Maybe we’ll get another Bacon drop in 2036?

BUY NOW, $210

19. CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 “Kiss of Death”

CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 “Kiss of Death” / GOAT

Release Date: 3/2021

And then there were three. It’s getting close to the finish line guys. CLOT and Nike have some pretty legendary drops in their collection, and there were two different opportunities to get your hands on these this year. The color schematics were insane, the tan gave it that versatile pop and the red/orange overlays were the extra little oomph. Wish we had gotten our hands on these. 

BUY NOW, $141

20. PSG x Air Jordan 7

PSG x Air Jordan 7 / GOAT

Release Date: 5/2021

The PSG x Air Jordan 7s were heavily rumored for a long time, and we sneaker fans got our long-awaited wish in May when they finally dropped. The red, white, and blue went right along with the theme of Memorial Day Weekend, and while simple, they were definitely powerful. The kind of shoe that made you do a double look.

BUY NOW, $195

21. Power Rangers F/S Hi Women's Shoes

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Power Rangers F/S Hi Women's Shoes / Run Walk

Release Date: 5/2021

And then there was one. This is an editor’s choice. People didn’t appreciate the cool factor enough. Look at the 3D Silver Clip. Seriously, look at it. What other shoe has that feature?! The Reebok Power Ranger’s were progressive with incredible technology, and they didn’t get talked about nearly enough. These belong in a movie. Seriously.

BUY NOW, $120

That’s going to do it! It’s been a fun year in the world of sneakers, and we sincerely look forward to doing it all over again in 2022. It will certainly be cool to see what this upcoming year holds for us in terms of cops, drops, and Ls on SNKRS, Confirmed, and Finish Line (kidding). Check y’all in ‘22.

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