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Top Sneaker Collabs of 2020

Although the year presented a seemingly endless amount of challenges, it did produce several of the best sneaker collaborations in recent memory.

Arguably the year’s best projects came from New Balance and Nike, which consistently delivered hit after hit. And brands including Reebok, Converse and Saucony created must-have looks with the likes of Joe Freshgoods, Lapstone & Hammer, Nice Kicks and others.

In no order of ranking, check out some of the top sneaker collaborations that dropped in 2020.

Joe Freshgoods for New Balance and Converse

Two of the year’s more compelling collaborations were created by Joe Freshgoods.

The Chicago native started the year with the “No Emotions Are Emotions” collection with New Balance, released during NBA All-Star Weekend in February. The designer born Joe Robinson, through his Don’t Be Mad imprint, reimagined the brand’s classic Made 992 silhouette and court-ready OMN1S basketball shoe.

And this month, he returned with a project with Converse that the heritage athletic company described as inspired by a soulful moment in Chicago in 1976. After teasing just the shoebox in November, creating a buzz for the collaboration, he delivered compelling iterations of the Pro Leather and the Chuck 70 in December.

New Balance Joe Freshgoods No Emotions Are Emotions NBA All-Star Weekend
A look at the New Balance x Joe Freshgoods “No Emotions Are Emotions” collection releasing during 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend.
CREDIT: New Balance
Joe Freshgoods Converse Pro Leather
Joe Freshgoods x Converse Pro Leather.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Converse

JJJJound for Reebok and New Balance

In September, Montreal-based JJJJound delivered one of the year’s most sought-after collaborations with its Reebok Classic Nylon. However, its Reebok collab wasn’t the only shoe that sneakerheads were eager to pick up. A month earlier, a pair of JJJJound x New Balance 992 colorways — green and gray — were released and quickly sold out.

JJJJound Reebok Classic Nylon
JJJJound x Reebok Classic Nylon.
CREDIT: Courtesy of JJJJound
JJJJound New Balance 992
JJJJound x New Balance 992 in gray.
CREDIT: Courtesy of GOAT

Dior x Air Jordan 1

One of the more polarizing collaborations of 2020, panned by sneaker diehards for being “boring” but loved by celebs and the high fashion crowd, the original Dior x Air Jordan 1 release was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. It eventually was released abroad in April and stateside in May.

The Dior x Air Jordan 1 High Collaboration.
The Dior x Air Jordan 1 High.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

Ronnie Fieg for Asics “The Palette”

On Black Friday, Kith leader Ronnie Fieg delivered his largest footwear collection to date on Black Friday, a project with Asics on the Gel-Lyte 3 dubbed “The Palette.” For the retro running silhouette’s 30th anniversary, Fieg created 30 looks that were limited to 300 pairs each using the top 30 colors Kith has ever used across footwear and apparel.

Ronnie Fieg Asics Gel Lyte 3 The Palette
A look at some of the colorways from the Ronnie Fieg for Asics “The Palette” collection of Gel-Lyte 3s.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Kith

Aimé Leon Dore for New Balance

Aimé Leon Dore delivered some of New Balance’s most beloved collabs in 2020. The New York-based brand offered new takes on the Boston-based running brand’s 827 silhouette as well as its 550 retro basketball shoe.

new balance, new balance aime leon dore, aime leon dore, dad shoe, dad shoe trend, bella hadid, bella hadid style, mom jeans
Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 827.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Aime Leon Dore
aime leon dore, new balance, 550, green, white
Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 550.
CREDIT: Courtesy of StockX

Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High “Turdunken”

Concepts has built a reputation as expert storyteller, and the theme of its Nike SB Dunk High “Turdunken” collab — inspired by turducken, a dish consisting of a chicken stuffed into a duck, which is then stuffed into a turkey — may be its best and most fun yet. The sneaker dropped in November.

Concepts Nike SB Dunk High Turdunken
Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High “Turdunken.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

Lapstone & Hammer x Saucony “Two Rivers” Courageous Moc

This Lapstone & Hammer collab with Saucony was revealed when COVID-19 started to take over the U.S., which caused it in some ways to be overshadowed. However, the two Courageous Moc looks — Bone White and Black Sand — were well-received by sneakerheads and remains one of the year’s best projects.

Lapstone & Hammer Saucony Two Rivers Courageous Moc
Lapstone & Hammer x Saucony “Two Rivers” Courageous Moc.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lapstone & Hammer

Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R

FN 2020 Designer of the Year Salehe Bembury delivered one of the most beloved and discussed collabs of the year with New Balance, a reimagining of the 2002R sneaker inspired by the designer’s appreciation of the outdoors — specifically the color palette of Antelope Canyon. The sneaker dropped on Oct. 23.

And although it hasn’t been released yet, Bembury is sure to make the top collabs of 2021 list with his highly-anticipated two-shoe lineup with Anta.

Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R.
CREDIT: Courtesy of New Balance

Travis Scott x Nike SB Dunk Low

The rap megastar’s take on the iconic Nike SB Dunk Low sneaker arrived in February, and almost a full year after its release people are still looking to pick them up, with pairs selling for as much as $2,800 on the resale market in December.

Travis Scott x Nike SB Dunk Low
Travis Scott x Nike SB Dunk Low.
CREDIT: Stadium Goods

Ben & Jerry’s x Nike SB Dunk Low “Chunky Dunky”

The highly-anticipated Ben & Jerry’s x Nike SB Dunk Low collaboration arrived in May, and as expected, it sold out quickly. The “Chunky Monkey” ice cream-inspired look was executed with a blue and green upper that was paired with premium by cow-like faux fur overlays, tie-dye liner and yellow Swoosh branding.

Nike SB Dunk Low Ben Jerry's Chunky Dunky
Nike SB Dunk Low x Ben & Jerry’s “Chunky Dunky.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

Nice Kicks x Reebok Question “Bubba Chuck”

Nike Kicks and Reebok — with the design expertise of Frank Cooke — used NBA icon Allen Iverson’s love of fishing to create the Question “Bubba Chuck,” which arrived in July.

Nice Kicks x Reebok Question Mid Bubba Chuck
Nice Kicks x Reebok Question Mid “Bubba Chuck.”
CREDIT: Courtesy

Casablanca x New Balance 327

After revealing the collab during Paris Fashion Week — and then seeing coronavirus-related delays — Casablanca’s take on the New Balance 327, a 1970s runner-inspired silhouette, arrived in April. In November, the high-end label would use the silhouette again for another collab, which appeased both sneakerheads and the fashion-focused alike.

Casablanca x New Balance 327
Casablanca x New Balance 327.
CREDIT: Courtesy of New Balance

Packer x New Balance M992PK1

The New Jersey-based retailer delivered the M992PK1 with New Balance, which Packer said was made to celebrate the Boston-based brand’s Made in USA craftsmanship and “all those who get their hands dirty to make the world a more beautiful place.” The collab dropped in September.

Packer x New Balance M992PK1
Packer x New Balance M992PK1.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Packer

Stüssy for Nike

Stüssy was one of the busier Nike collaborators in 2020. This year, some of the hits included new-look Air Force 1 Lows, Benassi slides and the Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2, which have all resonated with diehard sneaker fans.

Stüssy & Nike Air Force 1
Stüssy & Nike Air Force 1
CREDIT: Courtesy of Stüssy
Stussy x Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 'Fossil'
The Stussy x Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 in the “Fossil” colorway.
CREDIT: Nike

Nike x Sacai VaporWaffle

One of the more eye-catching collabs of 2020 was the Sacai x Nike VaporWaffle, a look that combined old and new innovations by fusing two running silhouettes: the classic Pegasus running shoe from 1983 and the record-breaking Vaporfly.

Sacai x Nike VaporWaffle 'Villain Red'
The Sacai x Nike VaporWaffle in “Villain Red.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike
Sacai x Nike VaporWaffle 'Tour Yellow'
The Sacai x Nike VaporWaffle in “Tour Yellow.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

New Balance x Paperboy Paris 801

Releasing via the Greenhouse app in February was the collaboration between New Balance and Paperboy Paris on the 801 silhouette. The Paris-based “restaurant-meets-streetwear” imprint created three iterations of the New Balance 801 that are inspired by signature menu items: Tuna Tataki Sandwich, Ginger Lemonade and Coffee Latte.

Paperboy Paris New Balance 801 Tuna Tataki Sandwich Greenhouse
Paperboy Paris x New Balance 801 “Tuna Tataki Sandwich” for Greenhouse.
CREDIT: Greenhouse
Paperboy Paris New Balance 801 Coffee Latte Greenhouse
Paperboy Paris x New Balance 801 “Coffee Latte” for Greenhouse.
CREDIT: Greenhouse
Paperboy Paris New Balance 801 Ginger Lemonade Greenhouse
Paperboy Paris x New Balance 801 “Ginger Lemonade” for Greenhouse.
CREDIT: Greenhouse
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