Top 10 Sneaker Releases in 2020

Kaya Schultz, Editor in Chief

Despite 2020 being a rocky and very unpredictable year, one thing stayed consistent: stunning sneaker releases. This list is not in order of my favorite sneaker releases, because that would be way too challenging to do. Instead it is just 10 of my favorite releases this year.

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

I think it’s only right that we start off the list with an SB Dunk, considering how they just completely dominated the sneaker world this year. From the Grateful Dead Bears to the Travis Scott’s (and one more that makes an appearance on this list), Nike just couldn’t stop releasing jaw dropping Dunks. Although they’re meant for skateboarding, the Dunks are one of the most hype and fashionable sneakers out right now and the most iconic one is the Chunky Dunky. Releasing in May, the Chunky Dunky’s immediately blew up. It is pretty obvious that Nike collaborated with Ben & Jerry on this one, as it contains hairy, cow-print overlays, a tie dye interior, puffy clouds on the heel, and a dripping yellow swoosh. The sneaker is named after Ben & Jerry’s famous banana chocolate chip ice cream, Chunky Monkey. This fun, expressive sneaker is an eye catching one, not only for its appearance, but for the reputation it has accumulated. Currently going for over $1,000, the Chunky Dunky is one of the most sought after shoes out right now, and for good reasons.

ASICS Gel-Lyte III Sean Wotherspoon x atmos–  Releasing this past summer for $160, the ASICS Gel-Lyte III are one of my favorite ASICS sneakers ever. ASICS, Wotherspoon, and atmos did an amazing job with the design and uniqueness of this sneaker. The shoes are mismatched, with the left shoe representing LA with bright and vibrant colors and the right shoe representing Tokyo with cooler colors like black, purple, and red. Wotherspoon left his touch on the shoe by using his signature corduroy material throughout, which we have seen on his iconic Air Max 97. The asics logo is attached via velcro, so it is interchangeable, allowing you to customize it how you like with five different color choices. It also comes with tear-away patches and three different sets of laces, making the customization aspect of the shoe even more desirable. Overall, this shoe is just so well done and really covers what anyone looks for in a sneaker plus so much more. It even comes with a removable panel on the heel which reveals a hidden message underneath. 

 

Jordan 3 Retro UNC

I may be biased in picking this shoe as I am a huge UNC fan, but you just cannot go wrong with the Carolina blue. Michael Jordan originally released this shoe as a Player Exclusive for UNC athletes but people were ecstatic when they released it to the public in March. Although the Player Exclusive version goes for a little more, it is essentially the same shoe except that the UNC logo was replaced with the signature Jordan Jumpman logo. The shoe consists of white leather with elephant print and the signature Carolina blue, making it such a simple and clean looking shoe. You can really never go wrong with a Jordan classic like this (just don’t crease or get the shoe dirty). 

 

Air Jordan 1 Dior High 

It is not really a year in sneakers without discussing the Dior 1’s. This was one of the most highly anticipated shoes of the year as it is the first time Jordan has ever collaborated with a legacy fashion designer like Dior. Kim Jones, a designer for Dior, claimed that the goal was to make  “the most luxurious Air Jordan 1 ever” and they did just that. The upper part of the shoe consists of white and gray leather with an “Air Dior” logo printed on each shoe and a Dior woven tongue. It also has a Dior monogram printed Swoosh and an ice blue translucent bottom. Although a relatively simple looking shoe, the details on it are stunning, as it even has hand-painted edges. Due to the amount of work that goes into creating a shoe like this and the fact that it has the designer name, the price on it is shocking. It retailed for about $2,000, but if you would like to get a pair now, you would have to pay over $10,000. That’s right. $10,000!!! For that much money you could get a ticket to the Olympics, buy a new car, or even publish your own book if you wanted to. Yes, it is a very remarkable shoe but I don’t think many people would be willing to spend that much money on it. There were only 8,500 pairs released, so I guess there are 8,500 people rich enough to buy this shoe.

 

Nike SB Dunk Low Strangelove 

Although I mentioned that the Chunky Dunky’s are the most iconic Dunk out right now, my personal favorite is the Strangelove’s. They released in early February, just in time for Valentine’s day and when looking at the shoe, you’ll get why. The white textured velvet is the base of the shoe with overlays of pink suede. Sean Cliver, the owner of Strangelove Skateboards, left his mark on the shoe by embroidering skull illustrations on the heel and a unique skateboarding themed interior. There are hints of bright red in the swoosh and laces, but my favorite part of the shoe is the sole. The translucent light pink sole is filled with blue and pink heart graphics that just top off the shoe. Although they only retailed for $100, they are currently going for over $1,000. This shoe is truly a work of art and one whose price is annoyingly high because I wish I could get a pair.

The CDG Play x Converse Chuck 70 Bright Pack

We all know how successful the CDG Play  x Converse collab was a few years ago. Even in WOHS I would always see someone rocking the converse with the CDG heart on it. While that was an amazing sneaker, we now see the two brands moving away from the beige, black, and red that was amazing and reliable, but is getting old now. They did the polka dots, added more hearts, and added an olive green colorway but a totally new look is what it needed. The bright green, blue, and pink in this “Bright Pack” are all stunning colorways and you can’t go wrong with any of them. I honestly can’t decide which colorway is my favorite so I’m going with all of them for this pick. They released in April for $150 and really give off those spring vibes with these vibrant colors. 

Jordan 4 Off-White “Sail”

It also wouldn’t be a year in sneakers without a few overhyped Nike x Off-White collabs. While yes, they do have some amazing releases together, I think we can all agree that they definitely have a few overrated releases and get to get away with a few things because of the reputation they have. My overhyped Nike x Off-white collab this year was the Jordan 5, so don’t expect to see it on this list. Instead, I went with a shoe that deserves all the hype it has received in the Jordan 4 Off-White “Sail.” This cream colored sneaker features grid mesh and clear textile, giving it the deconstructed look that has become the signature of Virgil Abloh and Off-White. While some may find the shoe a little boring because of its singular color, I find the consistency of it even more alluring. I also love the fact that the shoe was a women’s release and really, you can’t go wrong with the silhouette of the Jordan 4. 

New Balance 992 Joe Freshgoods “No Emotions Are Emotions”

Released on all star weekend in Chicago, these shoes were aimed for Valentines day, possessing similar colors as the Strangelove’s. The shoe is mostly suede with varying shades of pink from very light pink to a dark burgundy. It also has hints of red on the toe and shoe laces and the tongue is a bronze color. I also really like how the midsole is split almost half in half with white and black. Overall, the colors just look really nice together and the suede material really pops in some parts of the shoe. 

 

Jordan 1 Retro High Tie Dye 

In my opinion, this was one of the most underrated releases of the year. This women’s exclusive release retailed for $170 is now going for about $300. The white and black upper leather is complimented nicely with green and blue tie-dye print overlays. The rest of the shoe is really simple with a black swoosh, white midsole, and black outsole. The eye catching tie dye balances really well with the plainness of the rest of the shoe. It is not too overwhelming at all, which you might expect from a tie dye themed shoe. I also really like that Jordan kind of went out of its comfort zone with the tie dye and put a nice spin on the Jordan 1. 

 

Bape x Undefeated x Adidas ZX 8000

As you can tell I am definitely a “checks over stripes” kind of person but I did feel the need to slide an Adidas shoe in here and it certainly fits the criteria. Releasing for $140 in late November, this is one of the most recent releases of this year. The signature Bape camo lays as the base throughout the shoe with a suede material running on top of it and gum soles. Undefeated and Bape each have their logos on the tongues of each shoe and their names highlighted in gold print on the lace guard of each shoe. The black colorway was the only color expected to release but then we were pleasantly surprised by the addition of the green colorway shortly after, which I actually prefer. Overall, this is just a really clean shoe. I love the gum bottoms and all the little details in the shoe like embroidering of the brands and the logos on the tongues. The combo of the suede and camo also looks amazing and they are actually a reasonable price, selling for about retail.