ARTICLE BY Minh Vuong

The Top Nike Releases of 2021

Top Nike Releases 2021

This may sound like a broken record being played, but what a year Nike have had. 2021 saw big sneaker releases almost on a weekly basis, and with December just beginning to dawn, it’s time to recap the top drops bearing a Swoosh (or in some cases, no Swoosh at all) since January 1. The brand’s best products were an eclectic mix of excellent retros, multi-way collaborations and even a glimpse into the future.

AMBUSH x Nike Dunk High ‘Deep Royal’AMBUSH x Nike Dunk High ‘Deep Royal’

Yoon Ahn’s AMBUSH label ended 2020 with a bang by releasing a radical modified Dunk High with oversized Swooshes and enlarged proportions. She again kicked off 2021 in a big way with a ‘Deep Royal’ sequel that foreshadowed the omnipresence of the colour blue in the sneakersphere.

AMBUSH x Nike Dunk High Deep Royal

Nike Dunk Low Sail/CoastNike Dunk Low Sail/Coast

It wasn’t even two weeks into the new year when Nike decided to drop one of the best Dunk Low colourways in recent memory. The Sail/Coast combo had plenty of UNC vibes, and the baby blue tone was very accessible to women sneakerheads, which also happened to be an exclusive for the fairer gender.

Nike Dunk Low Sail Coast

Stussy x Nike Air Force 1 ‘Hand-Dyed’Stussy x Nike Air Force 1 ‘Hand-Dyed’

Stussy held onto a few pairs of their 2020 Air Force 1 colab and enlisted LA-based natural textile experts Lookout & Wonderland to hand-dye the shoes. Five tonal colours were chosen to represent major cities from Stussy’s ‘World Tour’ collective. Super rare, but examples exist on the secondary market.

Stussy x Nike Air Force 1 Hand-Dyed

Nike GO FlyEaseNike GO FlyEase

The Swoosh made a huge leap forward in accessible sneakers with the GO FlyEase, touted as the world’s first handsfree sneaker. This is what the future of footwear might look like. While retail availability of the GO FlyEase remains a challenge, pairs can be found on the secondary market.

Nike GO FlyEase

Nike Air Max BW ‘Persian Violet’Nike Air Max BW ‘Persian Violet’

Nike have been on an extended redemption arc with their ongoing mission to remake their retros better. After showing promise with an improved Air Max 90 last year, 2021 saw the Air Max BW come correct in OG ‘Persian Violet', which bore period-correct details and packaging.

Nike Air Max BW Persian 2021 Retro

Kith x Nike Air Force 1 ‘Hawaii’Kith x Nike Air Force 1 ‘Hawaii’

After holding down Brooklyn via his Kith boutique, Ronnie Fieg set his sights on building a global empire and set up locations in Tokyo, Paris and Hawaii. These grand openings have also been marked by exclusive Air Force 1 releases, with the Hawaii edition the latest to hunt down.

Kith x Nike Air Force 1 Hawaii
Kith

Jean Paul Gaultier x sacai x Nike VaporwaffleJean Paul Gaultier x sacai x Nike Vaporwaffle

When leaks of the divisive Jean Paul Gaultier x sacai x Nike Vaporwaffle first emerged, they seemed too wild to be true. Alas, this crazy colab that added baseball glove stitching to a mid-cut hybrid turned out to be legit. And there won’t be anything else like them for a long time.

Jean Paul Gaultier x sacai x Nike Vaporwaffle

Fragment x sacai x Nike LDWaffleFragment x sacai x Nike LDWaffle

Fragment Design founder Hiroshi Fujiwara had been slyly rocking his three-way colab with sacai and the LDWaffle for months before Nike officially announced it. With tonal shades of grey and navy, plus the signature lightning bolts, the shoes were as easy to wear as they were to gain hype.,

Fragment Design x sacai x Nike LDWaffle

Patta x Nike Air 1 ‘Monarch’Patta x Nike Air 1 ‘Monarch’

Dutch imprint Patta triumphantly got feet itchy for the Air Max 1 again after teasing their new collaboration in The Wave short film. While the resulting collection has amassed four killer colour ways (so far), the inaugural ‘Monarch’ drop has been one of the most popular across the globe.

Patta x Nike Air Max 1 Monarch

Comme des Garçons x Nike Air Foamposite OneComme des Garçons x Nike Air Foamposite One

CDG have a proven track record of bringing out obscure Nike models and recontextualising them for the nouveau-fushun crowd. One such example is the Air Foamposite One, a basketball classic from the 1990s that found a new audience this year with the Japanese brand’s trypophobia-inducing colab.

Comme des Garcons x Nike Air Foamposite One

Want to recap more of 2021's top releases from your favourite brands? Check out the best Jordan Brand drops here.

Now ReadingThe Top Nike Releases of 2021

Subscribe to our Newsletter

,