With winter coming to an end, most sneakerheads will be busy swapping out their winter rotations for a summer set. But summertime doesn’t only mean that hibernating sneakers will become part of the rotation again after gathering dust in boxes under your bed, it means plenty of fun releases and the chance to get your hands on some of the best sneakers for summer.
With temperatures heating up and your city’s sneakerheads already doing their best peacock impression, it’s time for a refresh — in every sense of the word. Go to the beach, hit up the local lake, or meet friends for picnics in the park (while abiding by local social distancing regulations, of course).
Or, if you’re anything like us, your mind will already be turned to your warm-weather rotation and how to optimize it. When it comes to buying the best sneakers for summer, you’ve got to keep practicality, comfort, and versatility in mind. You need a pair of kicks that can withstand day-long adventures and the odd bit of mud or dust. But you’ll also want a pair of sneakers that looks good while you’re out and about.
That’s where we come in. Below, you’ll find our selection of the best sneakers for summer, including heaters from New Balance, adidas, and HOKA ONE ONE. Scroll on for our curated selection.
Take a look at the best summer sneakers for 2021
Highsnobiety x adidas ZX 8000 “Qualität”
For our collaborative adidas ZX 8000, Highsnoobiety decided to keep with traditions (as Germans do) and opted for a tonal approach. The sneaker — which features premium leather, a leather lining, and a leather heel cup — arrives in a monochrome beige colorway, with subtle hits of gray. If you want a no-frills colorway and unmatched quality, look no further.
Raf Simons Cylon-21
Raf Simons sneakers might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about light, breathable summer sneakers. And if you’ve got an image of the designer’s overly bulky adidas Ozweego collaboration in mind, then you’re probably right. But his new in-house line of footwear is a lot sleeker, more streamlined, and — best of all — features perforations all over the shoe.
So if you’re looking for something a little more fashionable for the summer months, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Raf’s new Cylon-21 sneakers. The new shoe also comes in a number of different colorways, truly making it one of the best sneakers for summer.
Salomon XA Pro Fusion ADV “Beige”
The Salomon XA Pro Fusion ADV isn’t one of the brand’s most popular sneakers — that award falls to the XT-4 and XT-6 ADV — but it’s definitely one of Salomon’s best sneakers for summer because of its breathable upper construction.
The shoe is also very lightweight, designed to support trail-runners without weighing them down, so if all you’re doing is walking to the park or the beer garden, you’ll barely feel them on your feet.
On CloudUltra “Yellow”
Sneakers built for ultramarathons or hardcore outdoor running, such as On’s CloudUltra, always make some of the best sneakers for summer.
Lightweight, breathable, but robust enough to take a beating, the Cloudultra will offer you all-day performance and comfort — whether you need it or not. This tasty yellow colorway is also a reason to add it to the summer rotation, as it gives off happy, chilling in-the-park vibes.
New Balance 2002RI “White”
All-white and absolutely no-hype, the perfect forecast for an unforgettable summer. That’s what these white leather New Balance 2002RIs bring with them, making them an absolute must-add to any budding summer rotation.
A pair of all-white sneakers is paramount to a versatile wardrobe, especially in the summer, when you’ll be wearing light and bright colors. The New Balance 2002R is also super comfortable, having swapped out the original 2010 version’s sole for the 860v2 sole unit. Do not sleep on these!
Maison Margiela x Reebok Classic Leather Tabi
Much like the Raf Simons Cylon-21, if you want to go a bit more fashion-focused with your summer sneaker rotation, you should look no further than the Maison Margiela x Reebok Classic Leather Tabi.
I know, split-toe Tabi shoes are usually a hard sell. But what better time to experiment and get a little freaky than Summer ’21, when we’ll all (hopefully) be out of a lockdown in which many of us will have reinvented ourselves.
Disney x adidas Originals Stan Smith
The adidas Originals Stan Smith is about as classic as they come, especially in the above green and white colorway (plus some cool Disney co-branding).
What started as a performance tennis shoe for the man, the myth, the legend, the person-people-mistake-for-a-shoe, Stan Smith, has turned into one of the best sneakers for summer — purely because it’s such a simple design that goes well with everything. You can wear shorts, pants, or trousers with your Stan Smith and they won’t look out of place. Remember: versatility is key for the summer sneaker rotation.
HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7
Another ultra-comfortable shoe — you’re probably seeing a pattern now — the HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7 is one of the best sneakers for summer shenanigans because its extra-thick midsole can take a beating.
So if you’re heading to festivals, where you’ll be on your feet all day, or just walking everywhere whenever the weather is great, the Bondi 7 will be one of your most trusted weapons over the coming months.
New Balance 993 “Grey”
Classic. Versatile. One of the best sneakers for summer around. Those are only a few ways to describe the New Balance 993 “Grey.” Originally released in 2008, the 993 has become a mainstay for New Balance lifestyle fans due to its lasting comfort and sleek “dad vibe” appeal.
If you missed out on the onslaught of 992 collaborations (or just aren’t a fan of hyped shoes), make sure to get your hands on a pair of these.
Junya Watanabe x New Balance 574
The beauty of the Junya Watanabe x New Balance AM574 is that it’s a low-profile silhouette that arrives in a non-traditional color. That combination is perfect for those that want to peacock a little bit during the summer, but not too much.
With New Balance dropping hyped collaboration after hyped collaboration, it can be hard to get your hands on something you like. Junya Watanabe’s collab is usually in stock longer than a few hours and (like most things Japanese) is super stylish.
Wales Bonner x adidas Consortium Nizza Lo
Wales Bonner x adidas is much like Junya Watanabe x New Balance in that it doesn’t sell out immediately but the actual product — from color story to construction and design — is incredible.
If you’re looking for a “if you know, you know” shoe to wear during the coming months, the Wales Bonner x adidas collaboration comprises some of the best sneakers for summer at a very wallet-friendly price.
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