These Are the 12 Sneakers That Will Dominate 2023

In a landscape thoroughly dominated by giants, there is more parity in sneakers than ever before.

Industry powerhouses New Balance, Adidas, Jordan Brand and others all have silhouettes with both high-fashion and street style appeal that have become must-haves with consumers. But the year is still young, leaving plenty of time for one brand to deliver a look that dominates the ultracompetitive sneaker marketplace.

Here, people of influence in sneakers and fashion — including designers, stylists, YouTubers and others — reveal the shoes they believe will dominate 2023.

Taja Keasal
Sneaker YouTuber

“In 2021, we saw the reemergence of the New Balance 2002R, thanks to the captivating ‘Refined Future’ iteration by in-house designer Yue Wu and star collaborators, such as Salehe Bembury. The 2002R takes its core inspiration from the 1906, with the intention of being a performance model built for lifestyle. What better pair to emerge as its successor than the inspiration itself, the New Balance 1906? The 1906 offers comfort, but more importantly stability with an 860v2 sole, which is the same as the 2002R. It does this while slimming down the expected bulk of a New Balance to seamlessly pair well with shorts and pants. For a second time, we’ve seen Yue Wu maximize the captivating grayscale synonymous with New Balance, this time on the 1906D ‘Castlerock/Harbor Grey,’ showing tasteful wear on the upper, fitting for any business professional with a textured blazer.”

New Balance 1906R
New Balance 1906R.
CREDIT: Courtesy of New Balance

Treis Hill
Co-Partner, Newco Studio Practice Agency
Formerly of Alife

“The [Nike] Air Force 1 will continue to be a mainstay, I see the Puma Clyde being a strong contender this year, and the Asics Gel Kayano 14 will surge as the trendy running shoe by casual cool dads or youthful creatives. In the basketball space, without a doubt, the LaMelo Ball Puma MB.02 will be the ‘it’ basketball sneaker of 2023 for youth. They having been craving a fresh new basketball shoe, and Puma and Melo have delivered. I see this on three out of five kids on and off the court and don’t see it cooling off.”

Nickelodeon x Puma MB.02 'Slime'
Nickelodeon x Puma MB.02 “Slime.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Puma

Victoria Chiang
Sneaker Influencer

“‘Dad core’ took a back seat in the past year, but I think the trend will resurge in 2023, led by the New Balance 1906R. Between the rise of retro fashion and people still wanting to be cozy, this silhouette will dominate the streets. Recently, we’ve seen this shoe pop up in more niche communities, on the runway at Fashion Week and on actual dads, but I think it will expand to more mainstream sneaker consumers in 2023 — especially among Gen-Z and those looking for a 990 alternative.”

Aime Leon Dore x New Balance 550
Aime Leon Dore x New Balance 550.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore

Quintin Williams
Co-founder and chief global designer, Q4 Sports
Professor of sneaker design, SCAD Atlanta

“The New Balance 550. It’s this trend of retro, but in some cases still reminiscent of the dad shoe with the chunky sole. It’s pulling in both at the same time. I’ve been looking around at how people are dressing and there’s this mesh of retro athletic happening right now, and the footwear has to align with that. You know, it’s an entire outfit. So I got my eyes on this. And I think it’s going to have legs the remainder of the year. It’s going to be the younger crowd — 18 through 27. They have a big voice. These are the people who are pushing the culture in a big way.”

Katie Alexis
Co-Founder, Thick Laces

“The New Balance 9060 is going to dominate 2023. The silhouette comes from the 99X series with a Y2K twist. The exterior design and materials are on the streetwear trend. The price point makes it more attainable — the regular price is $150, while collaborations are only $20 more. The best part is they are comfortable. I see New Balance dropping colorways everyone will be hyped about. The consumer ages 16-50. I live in the DMV and have a 15-year-old daughter, and her classmates have the Bricks & Wood colorway that dropped last month. Streetwear lovers 20 years and up will eat the collaborations up.”

Bodega New Balance 9060 Age of Discovery
Bodega x New Balance 9060 “Age of Discovery.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Bodega

Terrell Jones

“The sneaker that will dominate in 2023 will be the low Air Force 1s. This shoe has been reintroduced on many levels, from streetwear collaborations such as Supreme to luxury house Louis Vuitton by the late, great Virgil Abloh and high-end jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. And hip-hop legend Fat Joe’s ‘TS’ Air Force 1s will release this year in great color combinations. The classic design and versatility is what will always keep it alive. Whether worn with a suit, high fashion designer brands or sportswear, this shoe can stand the test of time.”

Premium Goods x Nike Air Force 1
Premium Goods x Nike Air Force 1.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Premium Goods

Essie Golden
Co-Founder, Thick Laces

“New Balance will continue to have an incredible year, and the 9060 and 993 are both great silhouettes. The Joe Freshgoods and Bricks & Wood collaborations were great. I’ve also been looking at two brands slowly creeping into my closet. Jae Tips has an incredible shoe coming out with Saucony, the Grid Azura 2000. The mesh details, mixed print and fabrics has me excited. The shoe is causing people to take another look at Saucony. My other favorite is the Asics Gel-Kayano 14. There’s something special about that silhouette. The collaborations from Awake NY, JJJJound and Ronnie Fieg were are all dope. It’s a cool kid shoe.”

Metta Conchetta

“Adidas will come back strong this year. The Samba is going to be a thing again in 2023, and maybe even a tennis shoe like a Stan Smith or a Superstar — classics, slimmer silhouettes but still relevant in the skater, hip-hop or high-end fashion world. I’m thinking about how Pharrell Williams is now Louis Vuitton’s new creative director and is heavily wearing these kinds of sneakers. It might inspire him to design a high-end version or a similar silhouette.”

Adidas, Samba sneakers, brown sneakers, black sneakers, low top sneakers, gray sneakers, flat sneakers, leather sneakers
Adidas Samba.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Adidas

Eman Mabrouk

“The two silhouettes to dominate 2023 are Air Jordan 1s and the New Balance 1906R for two simple reasons: They’re classic and comfortable. Not to mention, they both look good in every size — just don’t tighten the laces. I see both worn often for work, travel, street style and even date night with the right ‘fit’. The consumer will be a minimalist, on a limited time schedule and they are definitely a sneaker collector.”

Jerome LaMaar
Creative Consultant and Designer

“As a non-binary being who moves in various industries, I love pieces that are comfortable, stylish, a little magical and interesting. I find myself tucking away my Nike Dunks and Jordans for sneakers that will bring enchantment to any wardrobe and exist beyond trends. I own several colors and various skins of the high-top Rick Owens Cargo Basket sneakers. I can wear them all year and look sophisticated, too. These are for those who are seeking style over hype, for those who love fashion and are seeking to elevate their shoe collection. I see them on all athletes who are working with stylists who get the vibes. The masses will tap in like they’ve done with Raf Simons and Maison Margiela. For the record, I still love my Jordan 1s, too.”

Rick Owens Cargo Basket
Rick Owens Cargo Basket.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Rick Owens

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