Buying gifts for a sneakerhead is no easy task. There’s no shortage of hype, in-demand releases but trying to find the latest pair of Jordans or Yeezys can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Especially if you’re looking to avoid exorbitant resale prices.
Fortunately, there are also plenty of “general release” sneakers that go overlooked yet are more than worthy of recognition. Here are some of the best, easy-to-find sneaker releases that will see plenty of use in any sneaker lover’s rotation.
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Jason Markk Essentials Sneaker Cleaning Kit
Regardless of whether a sneaker is new or old, it’s essential that they’re kept clean. Jason Markk’s cleaning solution doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or abrasives and a 4 oz bottle can clean up to 100 pairs of sneakers. It’s the perfect pick for a stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift.
Hoka One One Ora Recovery Slide
Hoka One One is making moves in the running world with its maximalist design and, frankly, it’s only a matter of time before they make a splash in lifestyle and streetwear. The oversized sole is as comfy as it looks and whether you’re an athlete, a casual jogger, or just making trips to the grocery store, the Ora Recovery Slide’s comfort is unmatched.
Vans x MoMA Collection
As far as cool, casual skate shoes go, Vans needs no introduction. The California-based company takes it to another level, however, with its collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Classic silhouettes like the Authentic and the Era are reimagined with some of the most iconic paintings in history, like Claude Monet’s “Starry Night” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”
The end result? Sneakers that are, literally, pieces of art.
Nike Killshot OG
Originally a low-profile tennis shoe, the Nike Killshot OG makes for a perfect blend of casual with a hint of sport. Blending mesh, suede, and a leather swoosh and liner, the silhouette is exactly what we need for a retro revival. Not to mention, it’s available in plenty of street-ready colourways.
Levis x New Balance 327
Whether it’s due to collaborations with brands like jjjjound and Aime Leon Dore, or the release of new silhouettes like the 327, New Balance is in the midst of an incredible year. The 327, a modern adaptation of the brand’s running-inspired lineage, boasts a studded vintage outsole, an oversized N logo, and a unique midsole shape when viewed from the top down.
You can easily find flashy collaborations with Levis and Kawhi Leonard, or basic colourways made for everyday use.
Nike Air Force 1
Designed in 1982 by Bruce Kilgore, the Nike Air Force 1 is cemented as one of the most popular Nike silhouettes to date. And before you ask, no, you can never have too many Air Force 1s. Whether it’s all white or a splash of colour you’re after the sneaker can do no wrong.
Not to mention, Nike continues to revitalize the silhouette by incorporating features like recycled materials, Flyknit, and React foam in the midsole.
Nike Air Max 90
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Nike Air Max 90 has built itself up as a cult classic. The sneaker, released in 1990, was among the first few Nike models to feature a visible air unit. It’s since been revived in a wide array of colours, meaning that the perfect pair is just waiting to be found.
New Balance 2002R
If it wasn’t evident already, retro designs always seem to find a way back to the present, especially when they’re revitalized with new materials. In this case, the New Balance 2002R is reimagined with a new midsole, as well as nubuck, suede, and mesh. The end result is a sneaker that’s primed for all-day comfort, without sacrificing style.
While most silhouettes from the Jordan Brand are designed for use on the basketball court, the Jordan Delta was crafted for everyday wear. Combining mesh and suede over a full-length React midsole, the sneaker brings comfort, flexibility, and a sports-inspired design into a brand new silhouette.
Nike Space Hippie 04
Created from scraps, or “space junk,” as Nike calls it, the Space Hippie is the brand’s culmination of sustainable practices with a futuristic design. The upper consists of the brand’s Flyknit yarn which consists of 85% to 90% recycled content. The outsole, dubbed crater foam, blends rubber and foam for a unique look.
Consider it taking a big step forward in both design and sustainability.
Jordan Zoom ’92
The Jordan Zoom ’92 is the brand’s recent attempt to blend tradition and innovation. The basketball-inspired silhouette features inspiration from older models like the Air Jordan 7, the Air Max 180, and the Air Force 5.
Birkenstock Boston Soft Footbed
Sure, it’s not exactly a sneaker, but sandals have long evolved to seeing use outside of summer. While balancing WFH and running errands, you’ll need something that looks good, is comfy, and is easy to access when you’re on the move.
Converse x CDG Play Chuck Taylor ’70s
COMME DES GARCONS’ signature heart-and-eyes print brings the Chuck Taylor All Star ’70 to another level of cool. Available in both high-top, low-top, and a variety of colours, the collaboration creates a playful design with an added amount of sophistication.
Adidas Ultraboost 20
Adidas took the world by storm when it released the Ultra Boost in 2015. Despite being made for running, the silhouette has been a hit for lifestyle and casual wear, thanks to its sleek design and ultra-comfy boost outsole.
Air Jordan 35 “Bayou Boys”
While retro Jordan models receive the most love and attention, the brand’s most recent models shouldn’t be underlooked. And besides, all retros had to start somewhere, right?
The Air Jordan 35 is the company’s newest silhouette and features plenty of nods to its rich heritage, including a familiar tongue and herringbone traction. This model, in particular, dubbed the “Bayou Boys,” is a nod to the City of New Orleans and Zion Williamson, one of the NBA’s biggest rising stars.