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Sneaker Trends for Summer and Beyond

May 18, 2021

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Summer's return means new summer styles and fresh sneaker designs for sunny days. So, what styles will we be seeing? Let’s delve into the top sneakers for summer 2021.

Old School is New Again

Like the rising of the tides and the setting of the sun, we can always count on classic sneaker styles coming back. And this summer's retro returns are no exceptions.

Nike is just one of the major players releasing updated versions of some of their most beloved vintage kicks. Nike's 80s classic Air Force 1 owned 2020, so we'll still see plenty of them this summer. While they're awesome, we should be moving on for Nikes that feel a bit brighter during the sun-filled summer days, perhaps shifting to a basketball-skate-shoe hybrid like the classic SB Dunks. They’re in 2021 with four colors: black, Barkroot Brown, Hyper Blue, and Mean Green. Or you could go Back to the Future—almost literally! Nike's futuristic Go FlyEase sneakers look something like the ones Michael J. Fox wore in the classic 80s movie.

This summer we’ll see renewed interest in New Balance. As they exploded onto the scene during the jogging craze of the late 70s and early 80s, New Balance has a firmly rooted vintage vibe. And they're wearing that proudly in 2021, with modern versions of their classics from back in the day. New Balance's 99X series has more than two dozen offerings with throwback flair, with colors like orange, purple, and yellow that just scream summer fun.

Colorful Nike Air Force 1 sneakersPhoto Credit: Grailify / Unsplash


Trail Runners Get More Fashionable

After a year of being cooped up by COVID, folks will be out exploring the Great Outdoors in record numbers this summer. So, we're going to see lots of outdoor-friendly footwear, and the big brands are meeting this need with lines of sneakers that look good both on and off of wilderness trails. Merrell has added a rainbow variety, literally, to its trusty line of mostly grey and brown trail shoes, new footwear that looks equally at home climbing a mountain and strolling a farmer’s market. Salomon is another brand that's bringing modern style to its traditional hiking shoes, most notably with their urban-inspired Sportstyle line.

Salomon Speedcross 3 sneakers
Photo Credit: ray_explores / Flickr


White Sneakers Make a Triumphant Return

Wonderful whites for summer are everywhere this year, with minimalist offerings at the front of the pack. Those two qualities are perhaps best represented by Stan Smiths. These simple tennis shoes haven't changed much since Adidas debuted them in 1965. Summer 2021 is perfect for these white classics with grass-green accents.

Designer lines for women are going heavy on the white this year. Just a few examples include Dolce and Gabbana's Leather Portofinos, high-end sneakers that owe some design heritage to Stan Smiths, or their Daymasters for a sportier take on white. Givenchy has some divine all-white sneakers, such as the Sneakers City, the crocodile webbing sneakers, and their 4G sneakers. For those who want a designer name without having to take out a second mortgage, Calvin Klein offers the Gules Leather Sneaker, and the classic Olly Canvas.


Folks Will Keep Things Simple

Just as we turned to comfort food during the complicated coronavirus days, so too will we be looking for basic familiar footwear this summer. There's perhaps no better example of this than the iconic Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops, which are getting updated in 2021 while still staying true to their no-nonsense natures. Although black or white will always be around, now we've got a host of fun patterns with stripes and zigzags and flowers in yellow, orange, pink, and more with the Chuck Taylor Summer Spirit line.

For many, summer wouldn't truly be summer until they've slipped on a pair of trusty Vans. And even if you're not a skateboarder, you'll probably enjoy the skater vibe of Sk8s. While you can go low-top with some from the Old Skool line that goes back to the 70s, high-top Sk8-His better capture the feeling of active summer days. But you don't have to go totally retro when picking out your Vans: Old Skool Platforms brings some modern soles to the quintessential skate shoe.

Black and blue Vans sneakersPhoto Credit: Andy Art / Unsplash


And a Trend We Can Probably Lose

Hefty sneakers. While there are some exceptions, such as Old Skool Platforms from Vans, oversized sneakers that wear more like a pair of combat boots are best left in the closet as we try to enjoy a breezy summer. Keeping things light with, say, classic canvas sneakers that don't clunk around is the way to go this summer. It's where Chuck Taylor All Stars live and Air Jordans don't; save your big basketball shoes for fall.

Are you ready for the summer 2021 shoe trends? If not, don’t worry. There’s still time to go out and get that perfect pair of sneakers for summer fun you’ll never forget.

Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.

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