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Editors’ Picks: Footwear Getting Us Through 2020
When it’s all said and done, “unprecedented” will likely go down as the most overused word of 2020. You hear it every which way you turn, but frankly, there’s no better way to describe the times we’re experiencing. In a turbulent year like 2020, it’s important to find a constant. For many of the HYPEBEAST editors across the globe, that constant has been their footwear. No matter if we’re locking down at home with sandals, mules or slippers or lacing up for a (socially-distanced) run or hike, our footwear says a lot about how our year has gone. This round of editors’ picks includes everything from classics like Dunks and Superstars to conceptual silhouettes like Nike’s ISPA models and A-COLD-WALL* collaborations, as well as functional styles like running shoes or versatile sandals. The styles listed below are the HYPEBEAST’s editorial team’s favorite shoes that have gotten us through 2020 thus far. They don’t represent the best shoes that were released this year — we’ll have that list for you this December.

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Nike Dunk Low SP “Kentucky”

Remember in middle school when you were so excited to wear your first day fit that you’d sleep with it laid out by your bed? That’s me with the “Kentucky.” The only shoe out of the 100+ I own that I haven’t put to foot yet, I’m saving the “Kentucky” for my first post-pandemic fit. Yes, I know that means I’ll be keeping it on ice for quite a while. Yes, I scored it for retail. And yes, I’m an optimist at heart. Wearing the “Kentucky” gives me something to look forward to. — Ross Dwyer Where to buy: StockX

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Nike React Infinity Run

There’s been some exceptional kicks that have dropped this year, but my favorite shoe to wear during the great pandemic year of 2020 is Nike’s React Infinity Run. It hasn’t been easy keeping the pounds off working from home the last four-plus months, but this sneaker has kept me out there running, and I’m actually looking forward to each mile…well, more than I normally am. The Infinity Run truly has a stellar ride, one that keeps me on my toes with its U-shaped, rocker sole, and the massive foam support gives my old knees a much needed break on longer runs and walks with my doggo, Arnold. — Robert Marshall Where to buy: Nike

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A-COLD-WALL* x Nike Zoom Vomero 5 “Solarized”

“Does it make you run faster?” “Is that a charger?” Both questions I’ve been asked since I started wearing the ACW x Nike Zoom Vomero 5 “Solarized.” It reminds me of something out of Mad Max because of its overly exaggerated proportions and its rust-dyed upper that makes it look industrial. It also gains more character with every wear because the dye bleeds. It’s unprecedented, just like the year I’ve been wearing it in. — Nick Llanton Where to buy: StockX

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Mark Gonzales x adidas Superstar “Shmoo”

I lived in Superstars as a kid. So not only am I really happy that the sneaker is having its moment again (although, I have a classic pair at hand regardless of trends), I was also really happy seeing a pair of Superstars receive the Gonz’ treatment. The playful suede “Shmoo” motifs give me that much needed nostalgic childhood feel, while the use of premium materials and buttery smooth leather reminds me that these are a serious pair of skateboarding sneakers. Coupled with the fact that it’s a Superstar — the most iconic, wearable adidas sneaker of all time, in my non-biased opinion — this pair is my favorite shoe of 2020, so far; and I’d like to see another sneaker come close before the year ends. — Eric Brain Where to buy: adidas

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Reebok Beatnik

I’ve impatiently awaited this shoe to return Stateside for years and immediately stocked up when it finally dropped. The Beatnik is, in my humble opinion, the greatest sneaker/sandal ever dreamed up by a major footwear player. Sleek mule upper with secure heel straps atop a brilliantly unconventional shark tooth sole — it gets no better. The new colorways and Cordura toebox are icing on an already delicious cake. — Jake Silbert Where to buy: Reebok

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Bait x Reebok Instapump Fury “Toy Story”

This sneaker is one of those few times where you’re conflicted on whether you want to wear the sneaker or keep them deadstock. In this case, I’ve decided to keep them as a collector’s piece and showcase them along with other various pieces in my collection. The packaging and overall execution of the sneaker made it a must-have for a Toy Story fan like myself. Maybe one day I’ll decide to break these out when Toy Story 5 releases. — Brian Wong Where to buy: StockX

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Proenza Schouler x Birkenstock Arizona

Despite spending many a dollar on sneakers, loafers and boots alike, I somehow always end up wearing Birkenstock sandals. Thankfully, with this collaborative Proenza Schouler Arizona, I don’t have to worry about formal/informal dichotomies. These sandals are one of the most adaptable shoes I own and pair perfectly with trousers, sweatpants and everything in between. With their simple black and white design, they have become the footwear essentials I reach for the most. — Zarah Cheng Where to buy: Net-a-Porter

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Nike Air Rift “Triple White”

Although I haven’t been able to wear them much ever since quarantine life began, I’ve never come across shoes as comfortable and breathable as the Air Rift. I had been contemplating for about a year before getting this pair, so they mean a lot to me. Plus, I enjoy looking out for the perfect split-toe socks to match them with. — YeEun Kim Where to buy: StockX

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Nike ISPA Road Warrior

I am a huge fan of shoes that make a statement, are comfortable and relate to some type of part of my lifestyle. The toe-slit stole my heart, especially since I am the biggest wannabe-ninja ever (and Tabi fan as well). They are weirdly comfortable as I feel like I’m constantly walking in a moonbounce-themed fun house. As much of a statement piece that they are, they are surprisingly easy to style with my daily wardrobe without looking too much “straight out of a spaceship.” Either with a pair of baggy boyfriend trousers or biker short athletic ensemble, my ninja gear works! — Jean Chung Where to buy: StockX

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Mizuno Maximizer 20

The Mizuno Maximizer 20 is by far the best sneaker purchase I have ever made. Coming in at just under $40 USD, these sleek all-back runners deliver an understated technical look that goes perfect with some drapey slacks or high cut shorts. Despite not having any fancy progressive footwear technology, these reliable sneakers are comfortable and prove that simplicity can be best. — Nicolaus Li Where to buy: eBay

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Air Jordan 1 Retro Low Slip

Don’t get me wrong, a pair of Air Jordan 1 Highs are definitely the way to go, but some days I just need something easy to slip on when I’m in a rush. The AJ1 Retro Low Slip boasts some of the original AJ1 features along with a modified laceless design and button-snap tongue – the perfect on-the-go pair. It’s currently one of the few sneakers I’ve been gravitating towards when I need to go out to run some errands. — Pauline De Leon Where to buy: StockX

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NEIGHBORHOOD x Clarks Originals Wallabee Gore-Tex

The beauty of the traditional Clarks Originals Wallabee is its versatility. Whether you’re off to the pub, a wedding, a funeral or you’re popping to the shop for a massive bag of crisps and a Red Bull, the Wallabee has its place. What’s more is thanks to its collaboration with NEIGHBORHOOD early this year, Clarks took it one step further by adding GORE-TEX and a Vibram sole to the shoe. This means that not only can you do all of the above, but you can now do it even when it’s raining – which is handy living in the UK. — Tayler Willson Where to buy: StockX

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Nike Cortez

When I say the all-white Cortez is my quarantine summer shoe, I do not mean the shoe that you go and buy on Nike.com. A fresh pair looks like a set of marshmallows on my feet. The look I am going for instead is the dirty, worn-in look à la Shia LaBeouf, when the shoe begins to break down and you wear them with some white tube socks and jeans that are just a little bit too small for you, but it’s okay. This is 2020 after all; I do not have the energy for the pretense of a clean pair of shoes and instead am embracing my inner dirtbag self. — Emily Jensen Where to buy: Nike

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Suicoke Zavo Touch-Strap Slippers

I started lockdown with the best of intentions: I assured myself that I’d get properly dressed every day and refuse to let standards slip. But, as the summer has rolled on, I’ve found myself looking for shortcuts. Suicoke’s velcro-strap slippers have become indispensable: they’re easy enough for padding around the apartment in basketball shorts, but they don’t embarrass me if I wear them on a run to the grocery store. And now that London’s pubs have reopened, I’ve found myself wearing them there, too. Always with socks, of course: I do have standards, after all. — Rob Nowill Where to buy: Farfetch

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Nike Air Force 1 High “GORE-TEX”

Dear Nike Air Force 1 High “GORE-TEX,” sitting all lonely and untouched in the corner of my box apartment. As the days pass, we grow further and further apart. When was the last time we did anything exciting together? Seven, eight months ago? I’m a totally different person now. I’ve been on dates with 991s, shared playlists with sliders, even considered getting a roommate, Uggs. To tell you the truth, I do miss you. I miss traveling with you, walking in the cold ’til we tire… Remember that time you carried me home when I ate so much it hurt? You never let me hurt. Here’s to better, more adventurous times. — Marc Wong Where to buy: StockX

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Nike Air Pippen II

The first time I traveled to Hong Kong, my dad surprised my brother and I by letting us choose any sneaker we wanted to bring home to start our basketball season. I just remember how blown away I was from the selection. I was a big Penny fan, so I went for the Penny 3s. My brother however collected b-ball magazines and in one of the issues was the Penny 2 sketched next to this Hot Rod car. It was an image that stayed in my mind up until now. Long story short, I got a lot of time cleaning my apartment, and I came across the Pippen II that I just had in storage. I wear these because it just reminds me of those days, when the Bulls were unstoppable, and it seemed like every star player had heat – the Worm with his Shake NDestrukt, Jordan with the XII, XIII and XIVs, and while the More Uptempos get all the spotlight, the Pippen II is up there. There’s even the almost forgotten “SP” logo. Good times. Oh, and the best part is there’s also an “Orlando” colorway for these too! — Ambrose Leung Where to buy: StockX

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Shiatsu Relax Sandals

Björk gifted a pair of these to a friend of mine, and so I used to always walk around in them when I was at his house. Being in lockdown in 2020 forced me to finally buy a pair of my own, and it’s been a game changer. They are beyond painful but amazing at flushing out toxins and improving body alignment. After all, 2020 is all about listening: to others, to your body and to Björk’s footwear recommendations. — Megan Wray Schertler Where to buy: Amazon


 
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