Categories Editor's Phresh Picks

Editor’s Picks: 10 Best Sneakers + 10 Slept-On Sneakers of 2020

As the year 2020 comes to a close, it is only fitting to highlight the best sneaker drops of the year! Despite the year’s madness, there were actually many great sneakers we got this year including those that broke e-commerce and generated memes after catching L’s on SNKRS.

The ten sneakers I selected are based on my opinion and came without any persuasion or influence from companies and retailers mentioned, so don’t spazz on me. Without further ado and after weeks of consideration, here’s the 10 best sneakers of 2020:

Converse Run Star Hike

After JW Anderson set the tone for the popularity the Converse Run Star Hike in 2019, the shoe stood on its own very well simply under the Converse name. I can’t sit here and deny that the Run Star Hike didn’t have a stellar year. At one point, the shoes were extremely hard to find. However, Converse came through with a restock. The platform plus the jagged rubber sol gives the classic Chuck Taylor an edge making it a great sneaker for both functionality and style.

JoeFreshGoods x Don’t Be Mad x New Balance 992 “Anatomy of the Heart”

This shoe ultimately set the tone for the New Balance 992s popularity in 2020. This shoe was talked about so much prior to its release and even after. It offered a vibrant spin on the 992 silhouette, crafted by “bootleg” designer Joe Freshgoods. The sneaker sold out instantly upon its release and resale has been resting between $1,000 and $2,000 since All-Star weekend.

Melody Ehsani x Jordan OG

Kicking off the year, Nike re-released its first women’s basketball shoe, the Air Jordan OG. Melody Ehsani soon followed suit and announced her second collaboration with Jordan which turned out to be the Jordan OG model. She played with the shoes OG colors of black and red and placed her own unique spin with the cherry pendant and purple sole.

Union LA x Jordan 4

GQ’s Store of the Year Union LA teamed up with the Jordan brand for four Jordan’s including two Jordan IVs, the Delta Mid, and the Zoom ’92. Of course, the Jordan 4s stole the show becoming an instant classic like the collaborative Air Jordan 1s from 2018. I’ll admit I wasn’t too fond of the Guava nor Noir colorways initially, but they grew on me and definitely deserved a spot as one of the best sneakers of the year.

CPFM x Nike Dunk Low Swarovski

It is no secret that this was the year of the Dunk. Cynthia Lu joined in on the fun with her Cactus Plant Flea Market x Nike Dunk Lows with Swarovski crystals. The shoe released through the brand’s website in “Pure Platinum” and “Spiral Sage”, earning a shining spot as one of the top sneakers of the year.

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 827 “Abzorb”

New Balance had quite a few notable collaborations this year, but the 827 silhouette with brand Aimé Leon Dore is definitely one of the best of the year. The joint sneaker came in three colors including white, red, and yellow complete with a minimalist campaign featuring a swaggy older couple. This collaboration took the 827 to new heights, turning the once running shoe into a lifestyle sneaker.

Pyer Moss x Reebok Experiment 4 Trail Fury “Innocence Project”

If you got your hands on any Pyer Moss x Reebok Experiment 4 Trail Fury sneaker, you have a pair of gems. Particularly, the “Innocence Project” version definitely takes the cake for the best color released this year. The shoe even was named after the organization of which proceeds were donated towards, helping free innocent people prison and prevent wrongful convictions.

Stüssy x Nike Air Force 1

Stüssy and Nike did its thing with its sneaker collabs this year, but I think the best one yet has to be their joint Air Force 1. We’ve seen many twists done to the Air Force 1 but never one with natural hemp. Staying true to its first released colors of “Fossil” and “Black”, it is truly an iconic take on the classic sneaker.

Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Dark Mocha”

We got leaks of the sneaker early in the year which caused us to wait patiently for the holidays for this drop. Drawing inspiration from Travis Scott’s Air Jordan 1s, the sneaker plays with mocha brown, sail, and black to formulate one of the season’s hottest releases. A best sneakers list wouldn’t be complete without these sneakers.

Off-White x Air Jordan 4 “Sail”

After first appearing at Virgil Abloh’s ‘Figures of Speech’ exhibition at MCA Chicago, I knew these would be a hit and hard to get. Even after Virgil’s year of controversial moments, you cannot deny that these shoes are it. Appearing in the popular “Sail” colorway, the shoe takes on the favored Air Jordan 4 model making it hard to resist the hype.

10 Slept-On Sneakers of 2020

Now that we have narrowed down the best of the best, let’s explore some of the most slept-on sneakers of the year. In meaning, sneakers that did not get much hype or attention but truly deserved more.

Nike Air Max 90 “Dancefloor Green”

A personal favorite from this year, the Nike Air Max 90 “Dancefloor Green” were definitely sleepers. It is a neon-classic twist to the Atmos Air Max 1 Animal Pack 2.0. A few of these were spotted on foot on the Pretty Phresh feed, I just expected to see more.

Shaniqwa Jarvis x Converse Chuck 70

Photographer Shaniqwa Jarvis teamed up with Converse for a sneaker that told a story of her childhood and paid homage to her father. The sneaker features floral photography by Jarvis herself which is filtered throughout the shoe. Not to mention, it’s complete with an icy translucent sole for the finish. The sneaker gives a vintage-meets-modern touch which made us think it would be an instant classic with sneaker lovers.

Sheila Rashid Jordan 1 Mid

Chicago designer Sheila Rashid’s purple dip toe Jordan 1 Mid definitely didn’t get the hype it deserved! It served as a part of Jordan’s 8×8 Collection where the brand tapped eight Chicago creatives to produce their own capsule pieces for 2020 All-Star Weekend. It honestly took me back to the women’s Air Jordan 1 Retro “Dipped Toe” collection.

Air Jordan VI “Tech Chrome”

The Tech Chrome 6s were definitely another slept-on shoe this year. The shoe appears in neutral colorway making it perfect for almost any look along with the plastic “chrome” detail and optional blue laces for a statement. I can attest and say that you are missing out if you didn’t cop.

Air Jordan 4 “Rasta”

After surfacing on the internet prior to its release, this women’s Air Jordan IV had many aliases including “Rasta”, “Lucid Green”, and “Do the Right Thing”. The shoe’s color choices made it a standout Jordan IV of which many decided to pass on.

Beyoncé x Adidas Platform Superstar

When these surfaced on the internet, it got mixed reviews and memes. We thought since the Queen Bey’s name was attached to it, the shoe would be a hit especially with her recent success with her IVY PARK x adidas collaboration.

Nike Aqua Rift

The Nike Aqua Rift shoes were another personal favorite from this year. Accompanied with a tabi toe, the shoe is just a unique piece to have in your closet. It is perfect for a day at the beach or everyday wear.

Comme des Garçons Shirt x Asics Gel-Lyte III

This was yet another sleeper that shocked us actually. With all the talk surrounding the Sean Wotherspoon x Atmos x Asics Gel-Lyte III, we expected a renewed interest in Asics along with a sell-out with these. These can still be found floating around today.

Air Jordan 2 “Multicolor”

The Air Jordan 2 “Multicolor” was definitely slept-on this year! I feel like Jordan 2s do not get enough appreciation as is, but this particular women’s exclusive did not receive the love it deserved. Maybe it was the colorway? The world may never know.

Nike P(Her)spective Air Force 1

The Foot Locker x Nike P(Her)spective pack honored women with a female-focused sneaker pack including an Air Jordan 1 Mid SE and Air Force 1 sneaker. The Air Force 1 from the pack offered a twist to iconic sneaker with a lavender suede upper, chrome-like Swoosh and translucent tread.

What were your favorite sneaker drops from this year?

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