10 Best Sneakers in 2021

Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin on
10 Best Sneakers in 2021

Finding the best sneaker that would fit your style and budget can be downright grueling considering the thousands of choices. But don’t worry. We have reviewed over 100 stylish sneakers to narrow down your options.

Whether you’re looking for an iconic silhouette, a sleek tennis sneaker, or a chunky dad shoe, we’ve got our top picks in five different categories to let you choose.

And if you’d like to know how to be smart about mixing comfort and style in your next sneaker, scroll down to the guide below.

How we choose the best sneakers

Since we value what the users say, we pick the top 10 best sneakers based on the reviews collected from the users themselves (minus spam). Using a scoring system called the CoreScore, we’ve also calculated and rated each shoe from 1-100. 

Best classic/icon

The Air Jordan 1 Mid is a tried-and-true kick-ass not only in style, but also in function. Choosing this as our top sneaker is one of the easiest decisions we’ve made. 

But before anything, its looks are to die for! It’s classy, hip, and clean, it sure goes with everything and anything. It’s versatile like that. 

And if you want to turn some heads, and just grab attention, we’re telling you, this sneaker is a certified stunner.  

Even better, it also screams comfort. As in, it just gives the feet all-day pampering. We swear we don’t want to take it off! 

All-day wear? This is THE shoe. 

This classic kick is not only king in the arena of comfort. It’s also king in giving the ankles support and mobility. Not once have we felt any rollover sensation, nor have we felt the shoe constricting our motions. 

Because it’s a hybrid between the High and Low versions, it delivers what both provide. Simply, it hits two birds with one stone. 

Even better, it’s a shoe that’s made to last. And to that, we can attest. After some serious pounding on the pavement, miles of walk, and just overall a series of wear testing, the Air Jordan 1 Mid has stunned us! 

The midsole is not bottoming out, the upper looks pristine, and the outsole is almost unscratched. Ultimately, it’s a sneaker that’s a bang for the buck, and it sure has major style going on.

See our full review and facts

It’s easy to don with anything, it’s on fleek, and it’s got some serious focus on comfort. You just can’t go wrong with the Adidas Gazelle. And we totally agree. 

Whatever your outfit choice is, this classic shoe does not disappoint. Whether you’re going for a street-ready or sport ensemble, this shoe is ready to morph into the mix. 

And with this sneaker, there’s truly more than what meets the eye. It doesn't just elevate your fashion, it also takes comfort up a notch. Hands down, it’s off the charts!

So much so we can wear it the whole day, and have NO complaints of achy feet nor scratchy upper. The materials from the bottom up are solid A1. 

It’s CRAZY cozy, we don’t have to break it in. Straight from the box, it’s ready to rock the streets.  

And what’s really taken us by surprise is this shoe's wallet-friendly price. It’s everything we don’t expect from an affordable sneaker. To be honest, if we hadn't known about its price, we’d think it’s among the expensive shoes on our roster. 

Even better, its durability is among the ranks of its high-end counterparts! After rigorous tests, it’s still as fresh as the moment we took it out of the box.

See our full review and facts

Best tennis shoe

The hype around the Adidas Stan Smith is just INSANE, we just had to see for ourselves why. And some miles later, here we are bowing down to this beauty! 

It’s got a crazy following, and we now understand why. Apart from its very affordable price, it’s almost the exact same copy of the original shoe that was released in the ‘70s. 

Seriously, having it on our feet feels like a look back in history! 

And like a tennis shoe, it’s extremely light. There’s really NONE of that dragging sensation. We almost completely forgot we had something on.

Stepping things up, this sneaker is a solid 10/10 in the comfort department. The midsole is plush, and the upper is breathable - it doesn’t get better than this! 

It really is a rockstar in keeping the feet nice and comfy, we can stand in it all day long. 

When it comes to style, the shoe’s already good-looking as it is. But what really got us fired up is the variation in colorways. There’s just so much to choose from, it’s hard not to love the Stan Smith. 

And when it comes to cleaning? Piece of cake! We assure you, this won’t give you a headache. 

Overall, the Stan Smith is just a blend of retro and classy. It’s a do-it-all that will find its way into your closet, regardless of your style.

See our full review and facts

It’s old-school, but it’s the type of classic we’d rock any day. The Reebok Club C 85 is a certified retro, but the minor tweaks it has also makes it a chic, modern-day sneaker! 

Style aside, this tennis sneaker is SUPERBLY cushy! Upon step-in, our feet are welcomed with complete plushness, it’s almost like a spa-day treat. 

Even better, it’s got loads of ventilation too. This shoe breathes, and it does so excellently, we had NO issues with sweaty feet at all! 

And the fit is just awesome. The upper wraps around the contours and shape of the feet with no sweat. It adapts so well, it creates a steady and wobble-free sensation. 

Whether you’re opting to flaunt more of a casual or sporty look, this sneaker has got you covered. It’s versatile, and will fit right into your ensemble. 

And this is also what makes it timeless. The subtle modifications don’t alter the original ‘80s Club C 85. If anything, it only ups its style to make it a fitting modern-day shoe that even teens can slip into. 

And hey, at such an affordable price, the Reebok Club C 85 packs so much. From its all-around style to its flawlessly comfy and supportive design, this kick is anything but a letdown!

See our full review and facts

Best dad shoe

The Nike Air Monarch IV is not only a showstopper in the fashion scene, it’s also a star in the performance department! And we couldn’t disagree. 

This sneaker has truly stolen our hearts, and it sure has caught the attention of some lookers too. But there’s more than what meets the eye, of course. 

Apart from its obvious modus operandi on grabbing attention, it’s also there to keep the feet nice and cushy. And that’s exactly what we got!

It’s hard to move on from its bounce and plushness, really. We just don’t want to take it off. 

We don’t just use this dad shoe to sport a bold ensemble, we also put it on to really up our gym sessions. Yes, this shoe is as versatile as it could get! 

Whether it’s running, jogging, or walking, this sneaker just SWALLOWS everything and anything we throw at it. 

And it’s truly heaven-sent for us with wide feet as it comes in a variety of width options. And the best thing about it is that it’s true to size. Zero issues with slips or excessive in-shoe movements. It’s nice and snug, it keeps the feet locked in place. 

At such a budget-friendly price, it’s a no-brainer that the Nike Monarch 4 wins at giving the best value for money. It does so many things for so little price, and that’s always a great thing.

See our full review and facts

The Adidas Ozweego sure does ooze with chunk and style! And if you want a serious head-turner, we are telling you, this is THE shoe. 

Like all dad sneakers, it doesn’t hold back on attention-grabbing features. And by the looks of it, it’s most definitely the bulky soles that do the job. If you’ve been a long-time sneakerhead, it’s almost like the (budget) twin of Yeezys. 

Of course, this is NOT purely for fashion. It’s also a design that’s meant to cradle the feet. And that’s exactly what we got. 

It’s very soft underfoot, it’s a heaven for the feet. Adidas has truly WOWED us with this sneaker’s unmatched comfort. It’s simply the star of the show. 

Even better, it also keeps the feet well-protected. It dampens all the impact, stepping up comfort even more. 

And what’s surprising is that even though it’s one hell of a chunky shoe, it doesn’t weigh us down! As in, it’s featherlight, there’s really no need to put a lot of effort to push this shoe. 

If there’s one way to describe the Adidas Ozweego, it’s loud. Oddly, it mixes together classic retro, and futuristic style, but it’s not the kind that’s awkward-looking. 

It’s loud, but it’s the kind of loud you’d want to rock in the streets!

See our full review and facts

Best high-top

The Vans Sk8-Hi is a vintage we’d want to put on during cold seasons. Even more, it gives the feet all the support they could dream of! 

Of course, it’s an automatic no-no during warm temperatures. So, we’ve sported and tested it in rather cold conditions, and this high-top sneaker has been nothing short of STELLAR. 

It’s warm and cozy, it’s home for the feet.

The quality of the materials this shoe uses - mix of canvas and suede - is just first-rate. They’re not only comfortable, they’re also very sturdy, and we are confident that they will last a long time. 

We’ve slipped into tens and hundreds of sneakers, but this is among the most lightweight shoes we’ve ever put on. No cap, it’s airy and it doesn’t load up on the feet.

And even though it’s a lifestyle shoe, its grip impressed us so much, we can’t look past it! On both dry and wet surfaces, this shoe bites into the ground, keeping our steps surefooted and stable. 

And of course, it won't be part of this list without its sheer focus on style. And we just have to give it a hats off. 

It doesn’t only appeal to a certain group of fashionistas, but it certainly covers different sneaker fans with different styles. 

From skaters looking for a budget-friendly option to someone who’s searching for a casual-wear kick that’s going to keep the feet warm, or even those who are after classic-looking high-tops, the Van Sk8-Hi is a surefire killer!

See our full review and facts

If we can describe the Converse Run Star Hike in one word, it’s unique. It’s not everyday you get to see such an outrageously chunky sole. 

It gives the classic Chuck Taylor All Star a modern and futuristic twist that’s definitely going to add some edge to your street style! 

Yes, this sneaker does not shy on giving an eye-catching and intriguing look, and it sure doesn’t shy on comfort too. 

The high-top design has been nothing but fabulous in keeping our feet warm and cozy, especially under cold temps. Even better, it has a plush-fitting wrap around the feet, boosting both comfort and support.

Our ankles have been locked securely in place. We had NO issues with ankle rolling or wobbling at all! If anything, the general feel has only been well-supported. 

And the midsole only makes things better. It’s VERY cushy underfoot, it’s almost like a couch to the feet.

Ultimately, the Converse Run Star Hike is a successful modern take on a well-loved classic. Even better, it’s a natural when it comes to grabbing attention! 

If there’s one thing we dislike about it, it’s that it easily gets dirty. But this is totally not a deal-breaker.

See our full review and facts

Best budget sneaker

It’s affordable, and it’s everything we can ask for. As in, the Vans Slip-On is the epitome of versatility! 

First off, it’s nuts when it comes to comfort. It’s got a well-padded midsole that has kept our feet feeling fresh and strain-free, even after long hours of standing and walking. 

It doesn’t even require a break-in period. 

And it’s THE easiest sneaker to put on and off. No effort is needed, you can just slip your feet in and out with no sweat. 

Like we said, this Vans shoe is a verified do-it-all. It’s so simple yet so classy and stylish, it can go with anything! 

Throw in a pair of hoodie and jeans, and this shoe can do the trick. And if you want a vintage-inspired ensemble, put on a pair of chinos and band tees, and you’re good to go. 

You can even go for a dapper or a smart-casual look in this baby. No cap, even with its laidback design, it’s a piece that’s going to make your outfit a standout! 

And the good news is that it comes in a variety of colorways too. 

For its price, we are awestruck by its durability. After numerous wear tests, it’s still not breaking down. 

Truly, it’s a great value sneaker that’s got the makings of the more expensive shoes on the market. And if you want one shoe for everything, the Vans Slip-On can fit the bill!

See our full review and facts

The Nike Tanjun is just SO good, we can’t get enough of it! 

It doesn’t only have the flair, it’s also got it right in the comfort arena. From the moment we put our feet in, the instant reaction has been “wow!” A much-deserved reaction for the oh-so plush comfort we got from top to bottom. 

Yes, it’s cozy all over. The upper is well-padded, and so is the midsole. Standing in it all day long is such an easy feat. It’s almost like you have clouds under. 

And its breathability only amps up everything. Even after walking and running in it, we had NO issues with sweaty nor smelly feet.

Slips? Nah. This sneaker is as secure as ever! From the heel to the midfoot, it’s been pure magic. 

At first, we’ve been concerned with its rather tight toe box, but after a few walks, we’ve broken it in, and it gave more than enough room for our toes to splay. 

We sure have put it to the test, and it’s an undisputed all-star in strength. It still looks and performs like it’s brand-new. 

If you’re looking for a sneaker that’s going to match your sporty get-up, you won’t go wrong with the Nike Tanjun!

See our full review and facts

Choose sneakers based on your style

Unless you have wads of cash to splurge on a new set of wardrobe, then buying a shoe style that matches your current collection of clothes is more practical. 

Whatever your reasons are for getting a new pair of sneakers, remember to be confident with who you are and what you like. The best sneakers for you would basically reflect YOU and your style. 

Low-top, mid-top, or high-top?

When it comes to sneaker styles, there is a chock-full of options available. But before you go through each one, you’ll have to pick between these three basic styles or cuts.

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Sneaker trends and styles come and go but there are a couple that has lasted through the ages. One sneaker model can also radiate a variety of styles. Here are the most common and popular styles you’ll find in the market.

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See our collection of classics and retros, chunky and dad shoes, minimalist sneakers, dressy shoes, sporty silhouettes, wedges and platforms, and trail-ready sneakerboots

Get a sneaker for your lifestyle

It’s always a great idea (especially for people on the go) to get an all-rounder kick - a shoe that can be worn from work to play. The good thing is that sneakers have an athletic DNA.

Many of the most in-demand men’s or women’s sneakers took roots from athletic shoes. So, whatever activity you’re into, there’s a sporty sneaker that’s capable of meeting at least the minimum requirements of the task.

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See our selection of skate shoes and running-, hiking-, basketball-, football-, training-inspired kicks.

Materials matter

Are you looking for a shoe that’s breathable, plush, or durable? Consider the materials that make up the model and you’ll find what you’re searching for.

 

Common Materials Used

Key Benefits

Could-be-betters

Upper

Leather (Full-grain, Suede, Nubuck)

+ Durable

+ Stable and supportive

+ Comfortable overtime (a customized fit is achieved as it molds to the shape of the foot)

+ Abrasion-resistant

+ Easier to clean

- Longer break-in time

- Heavier on the feet

- Less breathable

Textile (Knit, Canvas, Mesh)

+ Breathable

+ Lightweight

+ Cheaper

+ Feels soft on the get-go

- Less durable

- Limited support and stability

- Tends to absorb water

Midsole

EVA

+ Provides mild impact absorption

+ Flexible

+ Lightweight

- Less supportive

- Compresses over time

PU

+ Hardwearing

+ Supportive

- Longer break-in period

- Heavier

The best sneakers are always comfy

Try to forget about sneaker hypes. Popularity does not equate to comfort. And, when it comes to the best sneakers - comfort trumps everything. If it’s not comfortable, you could end up becoming a fashion victim with a pricey sneaker accumulating dust in the shoe rack.

It’s no secret that you need to find a shoe that fits right to achieve comfort. Just follow these 6 simple steps and you’re good to go.

Mind your budget 

True, budget isn’t a problem for the filthy rich. If you can buy designer sneakers without second-guessing, then go ahead. But, for average Joes and Janes, a shoe’s price tag is at the heart of their sneaker-buying decision.

Thankfully, there are reputable brands that sell sneakers for cheap. This includes Vans, Keds, and Converse. Even globally known brands like Adidas provide affordable options. Adidas’ NEO collection is a lineup worth checking out for their cheap yet quality kicks.

Author
Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.