For most, 2020 is a year to be forgotten. From stay-at-home orders to rescheduled weddings, there aren’t many things that people wish to remember about the beginning of the new decade. At StockX we love to see the positive in things, and 2020 was one hell of a year for sneaker releases. It was a year full of surprises and unorthodox releases, and each pushed sneaker culture into new frontiers. With so many great releases from 2020, we expect big things in 2021.
We would be doing this list a major injustice without starting it off with the Air Jordan 1 Dior. Jordan Brand and fashion label Dior instantly shocked the sneaker world when speculation of the collaboration started to surface. Like most early rumors around high-profile kicks, information is constantly changing. But when lookbook images by Dior, featuring Travis Scott, were put on the internet, the shoe’s release was all but confirmed and early resale prices hit 5-figures! The Jordan 1 Dior’s release was a major milestone in sneaker culture. Now, sneakers are just as, if not more, valuable than your run-of-the-mill dress shoe, and hold more weight in high-end environments now than before. The Dior Jordan collaboration brought to light the current resale value of the sneaker illustrates its luxurious value, averaging around $10K. For its rarity and role it played in advancing sneaker culture, the Dior Jordan 1 deserves to kick off our Best Sneakers Of 2020 list.
Before the release of his first New Balance collection, Joe Freshgoods showcased a shirt on his IG featuring a tweet from a user that said, “never did I hear somebody wait in line for a pair of NB’s.” The Chicago-based designer was just that confident that his work would bring out a large audience. When release day struck, he defied the naysayers as the project produced a mile-long line outside of his Chicago pop-up, as fans eagerly waited outside in the cold for a chance at copping. The partnership produced apparel and two sneakers, one of which was theNew Balance 992. The collaboration turned the traditional dad sneaker into a colorful piece of footwear, made with a mix of suede, premium leather, and reflective materials. Due to its limited release, resale prices were through the roof on StockX, where they’ve reached as high as $2,500. They’re one of the most expensive New Balance sneakers to be traded on our site and continue to increase in value. The collab not only added value to the 992 model, but to New Balance as a whole. On StockX, New Balance’s market share increased almost 3x since last year. The No Emotions Are Emotions pack helped prove to sneakerheads that New Balance is a brand to watch, for the sake of resale profits and as a brand with momentum.
Air Jordan 4 Fire Red
Everything’s better with Nike Air on the heel. The return of the Air Jordan 4 Fire Red continued to solidify that sentiment. News of the return of the OG 1989 colorway started to break on sneaker blogs as early as March, feeding the hype for the Jordan 4 Fire Red. The famous red and white colorway was last retroed in 2012, alongside its Bred and White Cement counterparts. But unlike the other original colorways, the Fire Red had yet to receive the OG treatment, and have that one feature all sneakerheads love: Nike Air heel tab branding. Jordan sneakers returning to their OG design always creates a lot of fanfare. The release of the Jordan 4 Fire Red delivered a dose of nostalgia while establishing a new standard for reissued Air Jordan models. In addition to the Nike Air branding, the Jordan 4 Fire Red brought back the sneaker’s original padding and leather vamping, making it a true return to OG form.
New Balance 2002R Salehe Bembury
New Balance had quite 2020. From working with Jaden Smith to Aime Leon Dore, the Boston brand delivered thoughtful designs and projects which helped push them into the limelight. When former Versace Footwear designer Salehe Bembury was tapped to add his touch to the 2002R model, New Balance reached a higher plateau. The collaboration added hairy elements to the old school runner with the addition of brighter materials making the sneaker pop in comparison to New Balance’s quintessential grey colorways. Not only was the sneaker executed uniquely, but also the design was so admired that it provided the final push to crown Salehe Footwear New’s Designer Of The Year. This New Balance sneaker played a pivotal role in turning the athletic brand onto a newer generation, helping to make NB more active in current sneaker culture.
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead’s collaboration on the Nike SB Dunk Low played a major role in SB Dunk’s increase in average resale pricing. Just like this year’s Chunky Dunky drop, the Nike SB Grateful Dead Dunk collaboration is another project that speaks to Nike SB’s creative ethos. Composed of teddy-bear like fur paying homage to the band’s Dancing Bears mascot, the project produced three vibrant colorways representative of the band’s brand as a whole. Reviews were mixed within the public on whether or not the sneakers were worth the hype, because of their flamboyant features. But resale value speaks for itself, as the pack is reselling for over 3000% of its retail price, making it one of the most profitable sneakers of 2020.
Air Jordan 4 Off White
After debuting in the Off-White FW20 Women’s fashion show earlier this year, the AJ4 Sail had people eagerly waiting for its release. With much anticipation and following a popular Air Jordan 5 collaboration from February, a release date was dropped and official imagery from Nike solidified its summer release. Exclusively made for women, the Air Jordan 4 Sail incorporated familiar deconstructed design elements used by Virgil Abloh on his other Jordan projects. It was met with great excitement by sneakerheads because of its execution and its exclusivity.