Although 2020 wasn’t kind to the footwear industry, leading sneaker brands produced most of the year’s standout moments.
For instance, New Balance — the FN 2020 Athletic Brand of the Year — delivered many of the most noteworthy collaborations, and Nike earned the FN 2020 Shoe of the Year honors for its iconic Dunk silhouette.
Other labels also made headlines for sought-after releases including Jordan Brand, Puma, Reebok and several others.
Below, five influential people in the sneaker world share the brands they believe will have a strong 2021.
“I said it back in 2018 and I’ll say it again: I think New Balance will crush it this year and continue building off their momentum, not just from a collaborations perspective but across the spectrum. A few years ago, their consumer base was a bit polarizing — there were the dads/granddads and then the more progressive fashion guy/girl. Now, everyone in the middle is catching on and I think NB will deliver.”
Owner and Founder, The Sneaker Savant
“It’s hard to count Nike out. They’re continually creating the markets they dominate. Adidas is still playing catch up and nothing short of a miracle is going to put them back on top. If the Master P x Baron Davis purchase of Reebok goes through, I could see them gaining some traction. For small brands, SIA Collective is going to continue growing and their on paper growth is probably going to look a lot better than others. NB will continue to see growth as young Nike loyalists will start to branch out. Luxury brands will continue as they always have as a subset of a much bigger pie.”
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“Nike will have the biggest year once again. The Nike Basketball side alone is has a lot of energy behind it with two of their stars returning to the court in KD [Kevin Durant] and Kyrie [Irving], and of course their biggest star, LeBron [James], coming off a championship season. Dunks don’t seem to be dying out anytime soon. Also, can’t forget about the upcoming collabs with brands like Sacai, Undefeated and of course, Supreme.”
“Puma is definitely on the rise. With sneaker culture accepting Puma in the streetwear fashion category, the potential to grow is huge. They also will take a huge step in their athletic sneakers as well with Puma Hoops with them landing great young talent like LaMelo Ball, RJ Barrett, DeAndre Ayton and so many more. Puma Hoops is definitely on the rise.”
Co-founder, InHerSoles Collective
“Jordan Brand will remain as the consistent pulse of the sneaker industry while New Balance experiences a revival in the streets that will contribute to the brands success in 2021.”