Experts Predict: Sneaker Trends 2020

Sneaker Trends 2020 V1
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2019 is coming to a close and we’ve witnessed a hell of a year for sneakers. We’ve seen the peak of the ugly sneaker trend, high-tops slowly coming back, more collabs than ever before, white leather sneakers everywhere… but can you already tell where the wind is blowing in 2020? Which brands will have momentum? Which colors are going to prevail and what are the most anticipated anniversaries in the game? We asked the experts about all of this. Here’s our knowledgeable panel of sneaker aficionados with their take on the sneaker trends 2020.

Title illustration by Lucy Bohr


Hikmet Sugoer
Sneaker Trends 2020 V2 - Hikmet Sugoer
Photo by Kevin Schünemann

With more than two decades in the sneaker business, Hikmet has seen lots of trends come and go. But it’s not the sheer experience that qualifies him here, it’s his 360 view on the industry.

He’s been an avid collector from day 1, he ran his own store, helped transition this business to Snipes and now runs his own brand – and that includes design and production.

Here’s the one and only Hikmet with his outlook for 2020.

Hikmet, do you have any hopes for 2020? Let us know!
I hope that the fashion industry does not focus on streetwear anymore. But I guess this will hold still for some years. But around end of the 90s we had a similar scenario. It was trendy to have high fashion sneakers and then they disappeared totally.

A trend that has been around for some time is the white leather sneaker trend. Any favorites in the segment?
A white leather sneaker is not a trend in my eyes. It is iconic. So it will and should stay forever. Veja has done a great job in the past years and was strong for 2019.
 
Besides the big players, which other brands do you see gaining momentum in 2020 and why?
Right now we are reaching a peak for sneaker sales/consumption. At the same time it is an ideal time for “underdog” brands to cater the market. Customers who are looking for something special. We had a similar time in the 80s, when non sportswear brands started their own sneakers. Apple, Pepsi Cola, Burger King and others. Today, customers are looking for niche brands to wear and being different than others.

Please name one trend that you find interesting now that you believe will be a strong force in 2020?
Sustainability. It is time for brands to care about production, sustainability and fair working conditions. Vegan executions are getting more and more popular. My own brand SONRA combines these mentioned points. No overprodution. Fair paid work. Wise choise of materials. No big distances for production and materials/components. Quality over quantity.
 
What about the Nike SB comeback – do you see that happening?
I am trusting Nike and their marketing power. I always loved Nike SB Dunks. After the Air Jordan models, these were the next “collectible” sneakers back then. It started in 2002, same time when I openend my store. I remember my first SBs like the “Dark Loden” and in 2003 the “Bison” & “Takashi”,  Great stories, concepts and executions. But I have to admit: I would love to see more innovation in the sneaker industry and skateboarding was much more popular in the beginning of the 2000s. So I am not sure if it will be big like it was.

Which color trends do you see happening that would play a bigger role in 2020? Could also be just for you and your taste.
Blue will be strong in 2020. But my personal opinion: red is coming back. 

In 2020, there are a few important anniversaries such as the Air Max 90 and 95 as well as the adidas Superstar with half a century. Do you think they will have momentum?
Sure, they can have a momentum. But this depends on the execution. The Superstar 35th Anniversary in 2005 was amazing. Well executed. Great Collab Partners and a lot of marketing around. The Superstar is an Icon of sport and lifestyle footwear. But I am not sure, if it will be relevant like it was. But you never know. If the project is well thought over, it can be a great anniversary. Same of course for Nike. The Power Wall to celebrate 30 years of Nike Air was a great project. And never got reached again from my point of view. Air Max 90 has potential. I love the 95, but I am not seeing this as a strong one for the mainstream. I guess a similar project like the Power Wall would be do the deal. Telling history and bringing new aspects in.

Are you paying attention to the hype segment and what are things you believe people should pay attention to in 2020?
Being sometimes part of hyped up projects I am somehow responsible too. But I am not a big fan of it. Mostly hyped stuff is overrated. Sometimes it is good to see what is happening besides the hyped stuff. You will see beauties. Underrated beauties for good prices.


Andy Chiu
Sneaker Trends 2020 V2 - Andy Chiu

Andy Chiu has seen his fair share of trends come and go. A first generation sneaker collector, Andy has been carving his own path in the industry for longer than most kids are alive.

He’s worked for some of the biggest brands, most notably adidas, and also lent his expertise to brands from outside of the industry to help them understand.

Now he’s running his own projects, for instance Cologne’s StandART Space. Here’s Andy’s assessment of the sneaker trends 2020.  

Andy, please name one trend that you find interesting now that you believe will be a strong force in 2020?
I think in 2020 – brands that have a true and strong design and aesthetic DNA will increase their appearance in the market. After years where everything became a branding exercise – we will see a turnaround here.

Besides the big players, which other brands do you see gaining momentum in 2020 and why?
I think the big players are adidas and Nike. For me in 2020 we will see New Balance on the rise.They are true to their roots, aesthetics and dont jump on every trend that is out there. I think this is the right strategy instead looking left and right.

Which color trends do you see happening that would play a bigger role in 2020? Could also be just for you and your taste.
I like smart and well-balanced colorways. I am still amazed by the Nike React by Jun Takahashi. He is not really on trend but the way he harmonized the colors he uses is just art itself. And he has a constant – with every single shoe is has designed.

A trend that has been around for some time is the white leather sneaker trend. What’s your perspective on this for 2020?
I think its an evergreen in our community. It will never really disappear.  A white cupsole or vulcanized that is easy to match and versatile to every and any occasion. I dont have a personal favorite here but usually I try to wear a silhouette that is less popular. Maybe I am psycho but I think with more product offer and weekly drops – the amount of white sneakers will increase even more – because there is a group of people that dont want to struggle every morning with their selection.

The sneaker time machine is always in motion so we’re seeing some early 2000s trends beginning to take off. What do you think about SB Dunks?
Looking at the momentum that Air Jordan 1 has – I think Dunk will come back strongly since its a very similar silhouette with similar overlays and patterns. Nike is always clever and smart in leverage their franchises. As the biggest brand they will dictate the market one more time and shows every other brand what time it is.

Are there any trends from 2019 that you believe have peaked and are over now?
Unfortunately I have to say that adidas f*cked up the 4D. I was probably one of the biggest and early supporters of this midsole technology. But somehow they really fucked it up by having too many uppers and wrong distribution – while all they would have needed to put an UltraBOOST upper on it and do their most desirable 20 executions before design new uppers on this.

In 2020, there are a few important anniversaries such as the Air Max 90 and 95 as well as the adidas Superstar with half a century. All of which will be celebrated. Do you think they will have momentum?
The brands will drive stories around those franchises. I think there is enough interest around sneakers that they will have their momentums. I am curious to see which brand can tell an authentic story to capture the old sneakerheads like us. Being so long in the game – its really hard to impress us.

Are you paying attention to the hype segment and what are things you believe people should pay attention to in 2020?
I look at it but unfortunately do have much love for it. I dont think its really contributing to our culture. It became more of a competition within the instagram universe. Call me oldschool – but I grew up this way: if everyone has it or can have it > I dont want it.

Which other trends or sub-trends do you consider noteworthy?
I am so old and have been dealing with this for such a long time  –  I am looking for something notable new. Not just a logo on an existing piece but truly new.Something dope and well thought through instead of chasing the big bucks.


Rebecca Kreuzberg
Sneaker Trends 2020 V2 - Rebecca Kreuzberg

Rebecca is our female voice in this piece on sneaker trends 2020 and she has all the experience to back her claims up.

She’s been a regular at every sneaker convention over the past decade. She’s worked at Overkill and now does consulting work for sneaker brands, always contributing her vast network of creatives.

Here’s her take on the upcoming year – the sneaker trends 2020 according to Rebecca Kreuzberg.

Please name one trend that you find interesting now that you believe will be a strong force in 2020?
The sneaker community becomes more sustainable and critical towards the “release madness”. People are interested in the origin and the materials used. They want to know how sustainable and fair their products are or try to limit their “cone size.” I think that this “sustainability trend” will become even stronger in 2020.

A trend that has been around for some time is the white leather sneaker trend. It was well served by adidas but also others. Do you think we will see this around for some more? Any favorites in the segment?
I do not see the all-white leather sneaker as a trend. This has always been there and is naturally timeless. As an example, the all-white Nike Air Force 1 has been rocked for years by teenagers and “old-school sneakers dons.” In 2019 there were only targeted and very well converted campaigns. I discovered the adidas SC Premier for me this year.

Besides the big players, which other brands do you see gaining momentum in 2020 and why?
Currently, I see more and more “the little players,” such as Saucony, Hummel, KangaROOS, and would wish that they can expand their position in the market. But sustainable brands such as Veja, too. We might see these more often on foot. Besides, I can imagine that “old” skate brands (Emerica, Osiris) are also catching more attention.

Do you believe in a Nike SB comeback?
I think the SB Dunk could celebrate a more significant comeback. The younger sneakerheads would have to call attention to one or the other “Hype Collabo.” But especially with the “elderly millennials,” it could work out. Because of the heritage and memories that they associate with this model (Futura, Jeff Staple, De La Soul).

What are some of the women-specific trends that you see taking over 2020?
I hope we see more and more women collabos (Melody Ehsani, etc.), but also hope that there will be more focus on female athletes (as on the Women’s World Cup). Because many male athletes get their own signature shoes, but among female athletes, this is still the exception (just know Serena Williams). Otherwise, I think the platform sneaker will be even more focused.

Are there any trends from 2019 that you believe have peaked and are over now?
I hope the Balenciaga and Gucci trend is over soon. Sorry – no hate :)

Trekking sneakers were building a bit of momentum in 2019 and it felt like overlapping with the chunky trend a bit. Do you see trekking/outdoor as something with more potential or small niche?
I believe that trekking / outdoor will become more prevalent in 2020, and we will undoubtedly see many more women in trekking styles. People return back to nature and roots. The boys/girls from Germanroamers impressively show how well the trend sneaker and outdoor fit together.

Which color trends do you see happening that would play a bigger role in 2020? Could also be just for you and your taste.
I think bright/sunny and shiny colors play a bigger role. However, I think we’ll see more graphic designs. Personally, I prefer the classic (all-white / white-blue / white-black etc) color combinations.

In 2020, there are a few important anniversaries such as the Air Max 90 and 95 as well as the adidas Superstar with half a century. All of which will be celebrated. Do you think they will have momentum?
Yes, I think the Air Max 90 / 95 and also the adidas Superstar will come up with lots of collabos. All styles have a strong heritage and play a constant role in the scene.

Which other trends or sub-trends do you consider noteworthy?
I currently find the topic of jewelry and sneakers quite interesting. The current collab between Melody Ehasni and Air Jordan has implemented this theme super lovely. Besides, some female collectors (GirlOnKicks) have already created their own jewelry. The collab by Comme des Garcon and Nike (Shox) has picked up on this topic and was also interesting for boys.

Anything you’ve seen too much of in 2019 that you wish disappears for next year?
No, I thought it was the right mix in 2019. I felt that the community was very diverse (HypeKids, TomGirls, Old-Skool, Neon, Classics). However, I’m still waiting for the “game-changer”. Currently, we have a lot of very good retros (NB, adidas, Nike), but I could not find a new all-catching silhouette (like the adidas UltraBoost or NMD).


Willy Iffland
Sneaker Trends 2020 V2 - Willy Iffland

One of the most prolific bloggers and influencers, Willy has been working with almost every brand in the industry and knows how to style looks.

With his great understanding and deep collection in every category, he’s the man to ask about the sneaker trends 2020.

Please name one trend that you find interesting now that you believe will be a strong force in 2020?
I believe that in the coming year the topics “Transparency” and “Deconstructed” will be much more popular than they have been in the past. I like both things, so I’m pretty sure that the theme will be important for the younger generations and especially for the brands. Colours and above all high-quality materials will also play a more important role.

A trend that has been around for some time is the white leather sneaker trend. It was well served by adidas but also others. Do you think we will see this around for some more? Any favorites in the segment?
White leather is simple, but good. Prada, Raf Simons or just some good GRs – we’ve seen a lot over the last few months and that’s why I think the subject will continue to be important. I think the Prada shoe from adidas is great, many were disappointed, I expected something else, but I think for example the superstar is awesome and also a good move from adidas not to do what everyone expects. I think white leather sneakers will cause a lot of furore next year.

Besides the big players, which other brands do you see gaining momentum in 2020 and why?
If I now exclude Asics from the “Big Players”, then I believe that Asics will be very strong again next year or I hope it will be, because I am a big Asics fan and already this year they did a lot right, for example with the Kiko Kollabos. Next year Sean Wotherspoon and everyone will start to have Asics on the screen again, which is definitely desirable for the brand.

The sneaker time machine is always in motion so we’re seeing some early 2000s trends beginning to take off. What do you think about SB Dunks, do you think they are making a comeback on a larger scale?
I never had the big relation to the Dunks myself, because in my life I didn’t stand on a skateboard as long as others did. But that has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a big fan of the Silhouette and also believe that the SB DUnk will be a key model at Nike next year. Why do I believe that? I don’t know, it’s just a feeling, but we’ve seen the hype the model can create in the near past.

Are there any trends from 2019 that you believe have peaked and are over now?
To be honest, I can’t say that, I think the Yeezy theme is getting calmer, but it can only be a snapshot until there are new silhouettes. Dad sneakers are where I’m pretty sure it’s going to flatten out – you’re already noticing a strong decline in presence on the WWW and I’m hardly wearing any for my part either.

Which color trends do you see happening that would play a bigger role in 2020? Could also be just for you and your taste.
I hope very much for purple and yellow, with second I am quite sure that it will also be strong. I also like earth tones very much, as you can see from Travis that this works. These three colours should be even stronger next year, but not too much black and white. (laughs)

In 2020, there are a few important anniversaries such as the Air Max 90 and 95 as well as the adidas Superstar with half a century. All of which will be celebrated. Do you think they will have momentum?
Yes, I do. Simply because there is a large fanbase of models in the world that works without hyped collabos, but of course there will also be collabos that will fire up the whole topic even more, I’m sure there are especially the two Nikes – the Superstar remains.

Which other trends or sub-trends do you consider noteworthy?
I think working with canvas fabrics from high fashion brands is great, if you work a bit more precisely on this market, I would think that’s great. And the brands could also benefit if you think about sustainability and recycling.

Are you paying attention to the hype segment and what are things you believe people should pay attention to in 2020?
Hype is always a topic for me, simply also because I move thematically exactly there. That’s also okay and helps a lot of things to a bigger platform, the kids want it, the kids will continue to get it in full splendor. Maybe 1-2 releases less a week would be great, so that you can get more “exclusivity”.


Till Jagla
Sneaker Trends 2020 V2 - Till Jagla

Who better to ask his judgement on trends for 2020 than Till.

He’s been creating products for the Three Stripes for years and has been successfully running his own brand Pacemaker since 2016.

He knows where the wind is blowing – also because he has an ear to the street – and is himself setting the sail as well. Here’s Till’s view on 2020.

Please name one trend that you find interesting now that you believe will be a strong force in 2020?
There are the obvious shapes and forms that will continue such as classic court, mid cuts, hi – and low tech running. A trend that I have been observing since quite a while is the trend of anti hype silhouettes. Probably the best references are Samba, Stan Smith, Campus or the 990 Franchise. These shoes have always exist, but I feels that they catch fire again, as they embody the counter trend to the hype world.

A trend that has been around for some time is the white leather sneaker trend. It was well served by adidas but also others. Do you think we will see this around for some more? Any favorites in the segment?
Well, I wouldn’t even call it a trend but rather a constant in the sneaker industry. We have seen multiple leather shoes peaking throughout the years. Stan Smith, Superstar, Club C, Continental and the new models adidas have introduced by the Home of Classics Campaign. My favourite is for sure the SC Premiere. The Design is true to the legacy of the brand but pushes the entire segment to a new level. It feels very fashionable but is very wearable. When we started the project, we have called it “Cracking Court”. We asked ourselves the question, how can we inject newness into the most traditional product category in the global sneaker market. I guess the result looks quite good. Clean white leather shoes will never go away. They are just too good and everyone can wear them to dress up or to dress down.

Besides the big players, which other brands do you see gaining momentum in 2020 and why?
For brands its tough to have a momentum on a global scale. Many brands look very different in Western Europe, USA and APAC. Western Europe is he key market for classic silhouettes. USA is mainly driven by lifestyle b-ball styles and APAC is a hybrid market with two major streams, icon business and fashionable / tech. Speaking of Asia, I see that Li-Ning is getting some traction, especially when it comes to fast fashion. Within the lifestyle running world I don’t foresee a brand that will come out of the left field to surprise. I rather think, that many smaller brands will have their success stories with good collaborations, unexpected storytelling and of course also bring backs from the 2000s.

The sneaker time machine is always in motion so we’re seeing some early 2000s trends beginning to take off. What do you think about SB Dunks, do you think they are making a comeback on a larger scale?
I know the silhouette has a decent fan base across the globe. The first projects I have seen were quite good. I am not sure how democratic the shape and the proportions are to get commercially successful.

Are there any trends from 2019 that you believe have peaked and are over now?
The stereotype of the 90s feels a bit outdated. I am not saying that shoes that were created in the 90s are not relevant any longer, but the typical shapes and forms as well as color worlds we have in mind when we thing about the 90s.

Trekking sneakers were building a bit of momentum in 2019 and it felt like overlapping with the chunky trend a bit. Do you see trekking/outdoor as something with more potential or small niche?
I personally believe that outdoor and outdoor-inspired shoes as well as garments have always been there. If we go back in time, especially Japanese and Korean street wear brands and designer have always tried go merge street style and functionality. There are many people who want to have good looking jackets and shoes that also make their life easier to conquer. Nowadays the products appear so fresh, because we can see clear crossovers from outdoor and fashionable cuts and proportions. A good example is Gore Tex. A material supplier who is an integral part of every Fall Winter collection since ages. These days brands use the Gore Tex Materials not only to make their shoes more seasonal, but also make them look more progressive. Every brand puts the Gore Tex branding in big bold letters on the product because it adds a certain value for the consumer from the aesthetic point of view.

Which color trends do you see happening that would play a bigger role in 2020? Could also be just for you and your taste.
I foresee several directions for 2020. First the “EASY TO WEAR” universe. After seeing so many crazy color and material combinations I believe that the counter trend will become bigger. Whites and shade of greys is something I call a constant in our industry. Further I see typical “collegiate” colour scheme is coming back strong. After a few seasons dominated by neons and pastells, I believe we will see more solid colours such as royal blue, orange, red. As every color scheme has been seen already, I assume that brands will combine certain colors with special materials that give a new spin to it.

In 2020, there are a few important anniversaries such as the Air Max 90 and 95 as well as the adidas Superstar with half a century. All of which will be celebrated. Do you think they will have momentum?
Yes, I do believe that all shoes will resonate quite well, as all shoes have a decent followership around the globe. The fans and lovers of the respective silhouette will appreciate the new focus, the fresh colors and interesting iterations. Personally I am keen to see how the 50th anniversary of the Superstar will resonate with the market. A shoe with such a rich history allows for such a diverse story telling. For me the Superstar works best if you keep the authentic vibe and mix it with something fashionable or very contemporary.

Which other trends or sub-trends do you consider noteworthy?
It will be interesting if new shapes and forms will make the cut. The brands talk about “low profile” for a while now. I am curious to see if these platforms will overcome the hurdle from niche to commerciality. If I would need to bet money on a new trending silhouette I would say boat shoes / sailing shoes. Over the last 12 months I have observed this category quite a lot and I feel there is something bubbling. Also how certain influential people have reacted on a few samples was interesting. Let’s see.

Anything you’ve seen too much of in 2019 that you wish disappears for next year?
Too many collaborations and too little successful GRs.


Christopher Blumental from Dead Stock Sneakerblog
Sneaker Trends 2020 V2 - Christopher Blumenthal

Christopher runs one of the best releases sites, creates his own collections and knows the sneaker game from every corner.

We asked the blogger turned influencer for his opinions on sneaker trends for 2020.

Please name one trend that you find interesting now that you believe will be a strong force in 2020?
In terms of sales it is quite interesting to see that a lot of people focus on general releases again. „Hype sneakers“ are always hard to get and the people are tired of raffles, shock drops and stores who are doing backdoor business. In terms of style I still see a trend for chunky sneakers like the Nike Dunk or Air Force. White leather sneakers made a huge comeback as well in 2019, so I guess this will go on in 2020.

A trend that has been around for some time is the white leather sneaker trend. It was well served by adidas but also others. Do you think we will see this around for some more? Any favorites in the segment?
Simple answer: YES! I mentioned it in my former answer already – white leather shoes will be a thing in 2020! The all white Air Force 1 was always a popular shoe and made a hug comeback this year. adidas performed well with the House of Classics and I heard some rumors, that they will push it more and more in 2020.

Besides the big players, which other brands do you see gaining momentum in 2020 and why?
ASICS is coming back and New Balance was also strong in 2019. Especially ASICS is quite interesting, because they earn the sneakerhesads attention with some nice collaborations and new models. The „Made in Germany“ thing raised a high demand as well. KangaROOS and Sonra becoming stronger and stronger with their releases and people tend to buy these brands.

The sneaker time machine is always in motion so we’re seeing some early 2000s trends beginning to take off. What do you think about SB Dunks, do you think they are making a comeback on a larger scale?
My roots coming from Skateboarding so I am quite happy with the comeback of the Dunk. They will definitely have a high impact on us next year. I already know a lot of nice collaborations and concepts for 2020 and I also heard about a big international rapper who is becoming his own signature model. If you still have no idea what is happening with Nike SB in the next month- brace yourself!

Are there any trends from 2019 that you believe have peaked and are over now?
I guess OFF-WHITE is done, especially in regard of sneakers. People still buy the latest releases but the demand is much lower compared to the former years.

Trekking sneakers were building a bit of momentum in 2019 and it felt like overlapping with the chunky trend a bit. Do you see trekking/outdoor as something with more potential or small niche?
Whoa…tough question. I don’t see that people „hype“ these shoes. I guess they will sell continuesly but only to the older heads which don’t follow every trend. But one thing is sure: The whole techwear thing is becoming stronger and stronger and these kind of sneakers fit well to this trend.

Which color trends do you see happening that would play a bigger role in 2020? Could also be just for you and your taste.
I hope for some Jordan colorways on the SB Dunks! This would be a perfect match and could drive a lot of attention from the people!

In 2020, there are a few important anniversaries such as the Air Max 90 and 95 as well as the adidas Superstar with half a century. All of which will be celebrated. Do you think they will have momentum?
They will. This s the perfect chance for the brands to push these models again. I am working in this branch for some years now and based on my experience, they will push out high budgets to distribute and promote these anniversaries. All these models will get a high attention from the consumers.

Which other trends or sub-trends do you consider noteworthy?
Customizing will remain, but especially for clothes. People tend to be unique so I expect a lot of more private people who are making they own stuff next year.

Are you paying attention to the hype segment and what are things you believe people should pay attention to in 2020?
Travis already passed Virgil as the Nike ambassador. So I guess Nike and Travis Scott will go ahead with their collaborations. I am also eager to see what is happening with the Jordan Brand. They had a huge output in 2019 and I hope they will keep going in 20120.

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