- While heels were rendered a liability of the past - along with the bra and contoured cheeks - sneakers emerged as 2020's footwear protagonist.
- The footwear industry reportedly took a double-digit hit on the retail level in 2020, but sneaker sales managed to remain stable and it's predicted that the numbers will recover in 2021.
- It's therefore a good time to share the latest (and upcoming) drops from top sports and street culture brands including Vans, Converse, and Adidas that might be sole-grabbing to you.
Many of us are still mostly dressing from the waist up, but don't you miss proper shoes sometimes?
And when last did you wear heels? Don't you miss the elevated posture, the way they instantly tone your legs and even the way the balls of your feet start cursing you out when you've been wearing skyscrapers for an entire day?
But because two truths can always exist at the same time, I'm also a sucker for a good pair of kicks.
And the more I accept that we're in this for the long haul, the more pairs of sneakers I move to the front of my shoe cupboard.
To support this change in approach to our daily footwear, Highsnobiety's Q4 Sneaker Report states that "Covid-19 did not manage to bring the behemoth that is the sneaker community to a complete halt, however, the footwear industry took a double-digit hit on the retail level, according to NPD, who predict that sales trends are expected to recover and stabilise in 2021."
Additionally, it's been a couple of months now since we realised we probably don't own enough knits, sweatpants, and loungewear, and so comfort dressing shifted our sartorial gaze ever-so-slightly from aesthetics to sensibility.
So it's safe to say that since we're embracing the comfort economy almost holistically, this is the time when sneakers and sandals have cemented their place in several shopping carts around the world.
If you're one of these people who've taken a liking to kicks over mules thanks to the pandemic's make-under, then one of the 2021 early bird sneaker drops will be worth investing in.
Here, we give you nine pairs of kicks to consider adding to your cart:
Vans has reimagined the AVE Pro - the streetwear and youth culture brand's most technically-advanced skate shoe to date - with help from skate team standout Beatrice Domond, who injects her personal style into the high-performance silhouette.
Growing up the only girl skater in small town Florida, Beatrice honed her skills watching ‘90s VHS tapes. Her progressive influence in skateboarding, combined with her unique style — which feels equal parts modern and throwback — have received accolades from the skate and fashion community alike.
She brings these proclivities to her latest collaboration with Vans: a fresh take on the AVE Pro.
Beatrice Domond. Image supplied by Vans
Designed by Vans athlete and skate legend Anthony Van Engelen, the AVE Pro performs at the highest standard - AVE wouldn’t have put his name on it otherwise - and looks damn good doing it.
Features include DURACAP and Rapidweld no-sew technology for preserved longevity, LuxLiner for optimum fit, and UltimateWaffle construction for superior board control.
Beatrice's hand-drawn signature shows through the translucent outsole, and much like Beatrice, the shoe’s marshmallow and jade colorway is cool yet understated.
Images supplied by Vans
Vans AVE Pro by Beatrice Domond is available now at Vans Skate retailers and select Vans retail locations.
From Chicago to the world, T-shirt designer turned streetwear icon, Joe Freshgoods, tells his unique story with a bold new collection. The designer has a mission to tell authentic stories through his work. On a new collaboration with Converse, he tells his own, revisiting his artistic roots on the Chuck 70, Pro leather and matching apparel.
On this vibrant Chuck 70, Freshgoods goes back to where he got his start - creating graphic tees. Using t-shirt-like jersey material, Joe stitches together his history with a patchwork collage of designs from different eras. Vibrant tie dye, bold lettering and airbrushed graphics converge and showcase the eclectic style mix he’s brought to his work.
Images supplied on behalf of Converse
For the Joe Freshgoods Pro Leather, Joe puts a ‘70s spin on the Pro Leather, carrying on the silhouettes legacy of soulful style that started in 1976. On this JFG edition, disco vibes and smooth finesse come alive with a lux combo of suede, velvet and embroidered floral details. Corduroy patches on the heel and a purple glitter outsole complete the funky throwback look.
Image supplied on behalf of Converse
The Converse x Joe Freshgoods launched Monday, 25 January 2021 exclusively at www.converse.co.za
Price Range: R599.95 – R2 499.95
PUMA is celebrating the brand’s sport heritage and "the power of sport to unite the world" with the release of their International Game collection of unisex apparel, footwear, and accessories.
The inspiration for this collection comes from the vibrant colours of international flags reinterpreted into a digital aesthetic, creating a "new look for a more colourful world in which sport culture is a universal element," Puma reveals.
The footwear offering of International GAME features the International Game RS-Fast (R2 000) and Cali Star (R1 800) as well as the Future Rider (R1 700).
International Game RS-Fast
Images supplied on behalf of Puma
International Game is available now on PUMA.com and at PUMA stores, Sportscene, The Cross Trainer, Side Step, Superbalist, Shesha and selected retailers.
Nike Waffle Racer 2X
Revamping classic Nike running shoes, the Nike Waffle Racer 2X modernises the traditional moccasin-inspired upper and Waffle outsole with exaggerated details.
Large lugs wrap onto the sides, exposed zigzag stitching and a vibrant Swoosh design add an urban aesthetic, and cloud-like fabric lines the inner for a soft feel. The airy upper features bold pops of colours to go along with the heritage feel of soft suede accents.
R1799.95 on nike.com
For the runners:
adidas has unveiled the ULTRABOOST 21 - a fresh update of the brand’s most successful running franchise. A team of leading adidas designers and product developers worked closely with the adidas running community and testers to create the new silhouette, which reimagines the original ULTRABOOST to deliver a bold new design combined with the latest in performance technology.
The core development in ULTRABOOST 21 is the redesign of the shoe’s torsion system. The new adidas LEP (‘Linear Energy Push’) provides a 15% increase in forefoot bending stiffness for a more responsive stride. This works alongside adidas’ proprietary midsole BOOST technology, which packs in 6% more BOOST through an exaggerated heel curve, providing runners with incredible energy return and comfort in every step.
Image supplied on behalf of Adidas
The adidas ULTRABOOST 21 will be available in a vibrant white and fluorescent yellow colourway on adidas.co.za and in adidas concept stores from 28 January at the retail price of R3599 with further limited-edition drops to follow in February 2021.
The UA HOVR™ Phantom RN follows in the footsteps of past UA HOVR™ running shoes, except it is sleeker and stretchier. This one's for runners who need a balance of flexibility and cushioning.
Its soft knitted upper dries fast and provides a breathable, compression-like fit that delivers lightweight directional strength and unmatched comfort, while the 3D moulded midfoot panel with laser perforations offers increased ventilation.
Available for R2799 on underarmour.co.za
Product descriptions and images supplied by featured brands.
Sign up to W24's newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.