Top 10 Sneakers of 2021: Sneaker Ranch Edition

10. Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro 'White Oreo'

The Air Jordan 4 really took the sneaker world by storm over the 2021 period. This model was arguably one of the most hyped of the year, purely based off its massive surge in streetwear popularity. The Air Jordan 4 Retro ‘White Oreo’ features a design theme that recalls the original ‘Oreo’ AJ4 from 1999. The tumbled leather had a clean white finish with speckled moulded eyelets in Tech Grey. You can see a neutral hue on the Jumpman heel logo with a midsole, featuring encapsulated Air cushioning in the forefoot and a visible unit under the heel. A second Jumpman adorns the tongue in a contrasting pop of Fire Red. We can say with some confidence that it is one of the most wearable pieces on our list, purely based off its basic and neutral colouring featured by a chunky structure. An easy pick for favourite J4 of 2021 in our eyes.


9. Off-White x Nike Dunk Low 'Lot 1-50 of 50'

The Dunk Low was another model in Nike’s repertoire that blew up in popularity throughout last year. Virgil Abloh has historically pushed the boundaries of design within both his own and Nike’s world. The duo rewrote the rules with their initial drop, the Off-White x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Chicago” (2017), which kicked off the now-iconic “The Ten” collection. Their first dunk model collaboration stems back to 2019 featuring a Red, Gold and Green colour three-pack. Virgil had the ability to maintain the integrity of classic Nike silhouettes whilst adding his own flavour into the mix. And now, “The 50” featured 50 different colorways of the Nike Dunk within the “Dear Summer” collection. This includes different sail and neutral grey leather canvases alongside pops of colour throughout the insoles, laces and Swoosh tabs. Overall, the overlay of simplicity and creativity put this collection in our top 10 list.


8. Patta x Nike Air Max 1 'Monarch'

This is an underrated pair that deserves its place on our list, it’s as simple as that. The Patta x Nike Air Max 1 ‘Monarch’ reunites Patta on a revamped edition of the retro silhouette. The upper has a light grey ballistic mesh with white leather overlays and an orange suede Swoosh. The light grey hue is repeated on a wavy suede mudguard, accented with an embroidered mini-Swoosh on the lateral forefoot. Additional branding elements include woven Patta tongue label and a Nike Air label on the back heel. The sneaker rides on a cream midsole, equipped with visible Air-sole cushioning and a rubber outsole. This is one of the comfiest shoes on our list by a long stretch. The earthy orange and brown tones that accompany it make it a very wearable shoe, but also different in its colour blocking. If you love a classic and comfortable sneaker, this is the one for you.


7. A Ma Maniére x Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro 'Raised By Women'

This release was highly-anticipated in the sneaker community. Air Jordan 3 collaborations seem to be far and few between, so this seemed to be a release from left field. This is yet another luxurious release that was geared towards allowing women having pre-sale access on websites such as those associated with “Whitaker Group”. The A Ma Maniére x women's Air Jordan 3 Retro SP ‘Raised By Women’ treats the iconic silhouette to a premium makeover. The mid-top has tumbled white leather, overlaid with soft grey suede at the collar, eye-stay, heel and toe. Mismatched Jumpman and A Ma Maniére branding is embroidered on each tongue, featuring a quilted lining that’s repeated on the interior collar. A subtle cream hue is applied to the midsole and moulded heel panel, decorated with an embossed Nike Air logo. The perfect mix of history, relevance and eye-pleasing colour blocking.   


6. Trophy Room x Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG 'Chicago'

This 1985 NBA All-Star Game-inspired iteration of the AJ1 was one of the most highly anticipated Jordan 1’s of the year. The sneaker is filled with special details and and a familiar red, white and black colour scheme inspired by the timeless Air Jordan 1 “Chicago”. In classic “Chicago” fashion, the shoe combines white leather quarters and toe-boxes with red mudguards, eye-stays, heels and collar flaps. Black gets into the mix by way of Swooshes, ball-and-wings logos, collars and laces, the last of which sits atop a white nylon tongue with a red and white Nike Air tag. You can’t go wrong with a new iteration of a classic Chicago silhouette. The iced out sole and washed red tones really set this colourway apart from some of the more contemporary pieces. If you also want a profitable long term hold, we would suggest forking out the funds to pick up one of these Trophy Room x AJ1’s.


5. Fragment Design x Travis Scott x Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Low

There was initially a lot of hype surrounding the high top iteration of this collaboration, yet over at the Sneaker Ranch we believe that the low top takes the cake. The simpler colour blocking gives rise to a more wearable sneaker, whilst also carrying with it extensive hype value. Cream colour pallets can be seen on the laces, backward swoosh’s and midsole. Uppers start with a familiar “Black Toe” colour blocking scheme: black mudguards and eye-stays, white toe-boxes and quarter panels and blue heel detailing. Additional to the classic Travis Scott “Cactus Jack” branding is Hiroshi Fujiwara’s “Fragment Design” semiotics that add inherent value to the shoe. This is overall just a crazy collaboration, rest assure that these are another piece that will continue to surge in price over time. 


4. Fragment Design x Sacai x Nike LDV Waffle 'Light Smoke Grey'

Chitose Abe is the founder of Sacai, a luxury Japanese fashion brand that has curated some of our favourite Nike x Designer sneaker pieces. Now, a party of three has curated its latest iteration as Abe welcomes in popular Japanese label “Fragment Design” into this project. Two colourways featured, navy/white and grey/white. The one that stood out was the grey colour scheme. Beautiful grey mesh featured on the mid-foot and toe boxes suede overlays that neighbour the throat of the sneaker. In classic Sacai fashion, the double swoosh is white alongside a white double cut midsole. The artistic layering and simple colour blocking really make this shoe what it is. Every feature has a “2 layer overlay” that sounds very bold and outlandish. Yet, the coming together of these layers can be seen as ingenuous and beautiful when you visually perceive them. Overall, this has been one of our best sellers from our list and it’s not hard to understand why.


3. Nike Dunk Low Premium 'Medium Curry'

A gorgeous and unassuming dunk that easily slotted its way into third place, whilst also being recognised as our favourite dunk of the year. Logistically designing a shoe that is made with a full suede build is ambitious, but Nike definitely knocked it out of the park. On the toe-box and collar, have a sail colour scheme. On the eye-stays, mudguard and heel there is more dense curry hue. Swooshes and Nike-branded heel tabs have a earth-toned “Fossil” shade with nylon tongues, white and brown fabric tongue badges, brown collar lining, and a sail midsole. Both of our directors at the Sneaker Ranch own personal pairs of these, and it’s easy to see why. This dunk has a place in our hearts, and is sure to make its way to yours if it hasn’t already.  


2. New Balance 2002R 'Protection Pack - Rain Cloud'

The ultimate sleeper pair of 2021. New Balance really made some plays over the last year trying to push the boundaries and attract a new audience. Some models include: NB 550, NB 550 x ALD and NB 992. Overall, this is a very lowkey “dad shoe” that influencer’s have taken to new heights. Subjectively, we believe that the 2002R “Rain Cloud” colourway had to be crowned king for NB last year. Additionally, this colour-way was our favourite out of the The three offerings released. Torn and aged detailing really stood out in this sneaker, and tested the creative waters of the originally simple 2002 NB model. The breathable grey mesh upper is invigorated with suede overlays, their uneven lines conveying the impression material’s had eroded over time. The combination of creative genius, wearability and gorgeous colour-blocking really made us fall in love with this sneaker. The main pull towards the sneaker was also the fact that it was so underrated initially post-release. Easily one of the most slept on pairs of 2021, and the current resell prices on these bad boys really compliment that notion.


1. Sacai x Nike VaporWaffle 'Sesame Blue Void'

Our number one sneaker of 2021, but not for the faint hearted. The “Sesame” colorway of the conceptual double-stacked design really performed well resell-wise. Accenting details come in the form of blue midfoot Swooshes, darker brown suede and leather overlays, dual tongues and intertwined white and blue laces. We personally, lace swapped the blue laces for cream laces in order to give it a softer touch. Additionally, it made the sneaker slightly more wearable. Branding comes in the form of printed white Swooshes, tongue tags, “NIKE/sacai” printed heel tabs, mini Swoosh marked heel loops and printed insoles. Elevating the shoe is a layered midsole unit marked by an aggressive lip at the heel paired with a contrasting black rubber waffle outsole. The Vaporwaffle is a very loud model, there’s no doubt about that. The long curved midsole break-up can really detract people from putting these on the toe. Yet, subjectively we believe that this compliments the overall chunkiness of the sneaker. The colour coordination displayed is discrete, different and beautiful. Additionally, one of our favourite features of the shoe is the fact that it’s not basic in both its design and colour-blocking. Moreover, it is the type of sneaker that really does look better in-hand over that of display photos online. Overall the general composition of this piece just sets it apart from the rest. You won’t see many people rocking these kicks in your day-to-day endeavours, but that’s what makes this sneaker so cool. If you are feeling bold, want a left-field colour-scheme to set you apart from the general crowd…this is the sneaker for you. This is our favourite sneaker of 2021 here at the Sneaker Ranch. Be sure to check out our elaborate range of hyped sneakers on and have a great 2022!

From all of us at the Sneaker Ranch!

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