It can often feel like the sneakerphere is managed by just a few of the bigger brands – sitting at the top, controlling trends. However, if you look closely, brands that may not have mega marketing budgets and enormous brand presence often come through with the goods, penetrating the zeitgeist and surprising us with some genuine game changers.
We're always sussing every corner of the globe for the next revolutionary crep that will help to set the tone for the rest of the year. Here are the brands we'll be keeping a close eye on in 2020...
2019 saw Chinese sportswear powerhouse Li-Ning make some interesting sneaker headlines. Wayward design, out-there silhouettes, revolutionary tech, and insane sneaker anatomy was on their agenda. Adding to that was a catalogue of famous co-signs such as Rick Ross, so it's safe to say we weren't surprised at all when they started 2020 off with a bang.
'Sustainability' seems to be the 2020 industry buzzword, with every brand focussing on their carbon footprint, ecological integrity, and social justice. A consciousness has truly awoken, and it's being reflected in purchasing decisions across the world. Veja have made a significant impact in this space, creating sustainable kicks for those wanting to ease the pressure currently being put on mother earth.
Starting to become a regular sight on the street, the 'V' has morphed into an instantly recognisable part of the scene. And the ecological sneaker brand has been branching out of its advanced basics bubble, recently completing a second collaboration with Rick Owens.
Veja have already set the 2020 bar very high. Keep an eye on them, you never know what could be coming next.
Turning up the level of sophistication seems to be on the mind of many heads at the moment. Loafers and similar non-sneaker footwear options have been on-trend. Clarks, especially the Wallabee, fit right into that mould.
Not only a classic choice, but collaborations with Wu-Tang, Supreme, Ronnie Fieg, Stussy and Bodega (just to name a few) have definitely brought a certain spark to the Clarks offering, allowing for sneaker moguls to get to their dress on while still keeping it fresh.
2020 will be a big year for Clarks, especially with a lot of sneakerheads starting to show their age.
Reebok hit all the right notes in 2019, not only putting out tasteful collaborations with JJJJound, Adsum and Palace, but also releasing classic GRs that made an impact on the scene. And that momentum seems to be continuing into 2020 – starting the new decade off strong with some cheeky Tom and Jerry action, as well as fusing the comfortable adidas BOOST with their iconic Pump technology.
Having such a strong start, we see no signs of Reebok pumping the breaks, so we'll be sure to keep our eye on all developments.
Seemingly silent, and just sitting in the background subtly killing it, is Saucony. Already this year they've made sure we've been left drooling over crazy collaborative efforts, while also bringing back some of their more iconic silhouettes.
Don't sleep on Saucony people, 2020 is their year.