Sneaker trends as we head into 2020 are nothing new — it’s just a renewal and resurgence of past styles — after all style and fashion is a cyclical beast.
While trends in the menswear space seemingly come and go by the seasons, it’s no surprise that sneaker culture changes just as quickly.
If you’ve followed Gentleman Within for a while now then you know that I like to preach timeless style and simplicity—leaning on the verge of minimalism.
I’m not huge on what’s trending out there, but I do feel it’s important to stay abreast of what’s going on because there’s inspiration to be had by keeping an eye on the style trends of today.
In this article I’m going to touch on trending sneakers for men in 2020, specifically the good, the bad, and yes the ugly.
Let’s get started.
WHAT’S THE LATEST TREND IN SNEAKERS?
So what are the trendy men’s shoes as we head into a new decade? That is the question we answer with this comprehensive article featuring 8 men’s sneaker trends that cover the gamut of what’s trending for men right now.
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BEST CASUAL SNEAKERS FOR MEN (THE GOOD)
These are the best casual sneakers for men, aka the good sneaker trends that I’m fully endorsing for 2020 and beyond. In this article, we will feature plenty more sneaker styles that you can rock and then provide examples of what you should look to avoid.
Let’s begin with minimalist men’s sneakers.
1. MINIMALIST SNEAKERS
The clean and classic minimalist sneaker trend is currently a fan favorite, versatile enough to dress up with high end tailoring or dress down with athleisure or casual jeans. This makes white sneakers a must have in all men’s wardrobes. The Greats Royale Blanco is an extremely popular, yet affordable option if you’re in the market for a pair.
At this point, solid white leather sneakers are ubiquitous in the world of menswear — a smart casual staple that’s going to be around for a while.
They even have minimalist high-tops like the Primo Roccia in suede. Furthermore, you could opt for an all white or beige canvas pair of low-top sneakers also known as skate shoes for a bit more of a casual vibe.
A drawback of white sneakers is that they get dirty easily, and I don’t recommend wearing them in rainy weather or grimy places.
Whether you’re on a budget or have a bit more to spend, I’ll provide my minimalist white sneaker recommendations below as well as some suede sneaker options.
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The Ace Marks Duke Sneaker (seen above) is a high-quality, luxury white sneaker with a middle-tier price tag. Definitely worth taking a look. Check out the Ace Marks review of the Duke Sneaker and Troy Chelsea Boots.
SHOP MINIMALIST SNEAKERS
- New Republic Kurt Leather Sneaker – $89
- Superga 2750 Cotu Classic White Sneakers – $65
- Converse Chuck 70 Low Top Sneakers – $80
- Reebok Club C85 White Sneakers – $70
- Adidas Adidas Originals Continental – $70
- Adidas Stan Smith Leather Sneakers – $50
- Koio Capri Perla Low Top Canvas Sneakers – $178
- Koio Capri Triple White Low Top Leather Sneakers – $248
- Common Projects Original Achilles Low – $336
- Greats Royale Blanco – $179
- Ace Marks Duke Sneaker – $224
- Oliver Cabell Low 1 White – $188
2. BACK TO THE CLASSICS
You can never go wrong with the classics aka essential shoes for men. A majority of the trends in this article will fall in and out of style over time, but it’s these classics that will continue to endure. Brands like Vans, Converse, Nike, and Adidas have been offering classic silhouettes for decades now.
A black and white pair like the Converse One Star or Vans Old Skool are affordably priced classics, prime for everyday casual wear. Alternatively, a pair of casual lace up running sneakers pairs exceptionally well with sweatpants, light or dark blue jeans. And then there’s the tried and true, classic Adidas Stan Smith.
One of my favorite timeless silhouettes comes from Nike, specifically their Nike Internationalist Low that’s sleek and stylish, and designed in a myriad of colorways for extreme versatility. Another great pick is the ever popular, often sold out, Nike Killshot 2 with the gumsole.
Whatever the case, whether you’re rocking a pair of suede slip-ons or casual lace-up sneaks, you’re sure to keep things cool and comfortable.
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Check out the Nike Killshot 2 lookbook video where I styled 5 casual outfits for men that you can get inspiration from or copy yourself.
SHOP “THE CLASSICS” SNEAKERS
- Vans for J.Crew Canvas Sneakers – $60
- Vans Old Skool Classic Skate Shoe – $60
- Reebok Classic Leather Pre-School White Sneakers – $50
- PF Flyers Center Hi-Top Sneakers – $60
- Adidas Stan Smith Shoes – $80
- Nike for J.Crew Killshot 2 – $90
- Nike Internationalist Low By You Sneaker – $110
- Converse One Star Pro Low Top Skateboarding Shoe – $75
- Nike Daybreak SP Suede and Mesh Sneakers – $100
3. TECH RUNNERS
According to Nike, “The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 is the first fully-functioning athletic shoe that electronically adjusts to the contours of your foot via adaptive lacing technology—providing a personal, customized fit that makes it feel like an extension of your body.”
It’s this kind of boundary pushing technology that makes this sneaker trend more than just a trend, but instead, a model that is going to shape the footwear industry in the years and decades moving forward.
In fact, the HyperAdapt’s successor the Nike Adapt BB (released Feb. 14, 2019) improves upon its predecessor while coming in at a lower price point of $350 and a much sleeker silhouette. Imagine lacing up your sneakers with an app. Well now you can.
As of today brands are introducing cool sneakers with built-in waterproofing and ripstop fabrics. And these shoes aren’t just for runners or athletes either. They’re ideal sneakers to complement the ever popular athleisure style with their sleek silhouettes and knitted uppers.
With brands like Nike and Adidas pushing men’s sneaker tech forward, technology enabled and enhanced sneakers are merely in its infancy.
SHOP TECH RUNNERS SHOES
- Adidas Speedfactory AM4LDN Running Shoe – $129
- Adidas Originals Ultraboost – $130
- Nike Shox Gravity Running Shoes – $50
- Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 Running Shoe – $150
- Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Mesh Sneaker – $120
- APL Athletic Propulsion Labs Techloom Pro Running Sneakers – $140
- APL Athletic Propulsion LabsTechLoom Phantom Running Sneakers – $165
4. SUEDED OUT SILHOUETTES
Take all of the popular sneaker trends above, then throw in a little suede and we have our next sneaker trend for 2020.
We’re talking neutral, versatile ‘pops of color’ suede colorways. This season you can go for a light navy blue or light olive. They’re still neutral colors, but have more visual interest than a plain brown.
If you want to go bolder, opt for a darker olive, though not quite forest green. Or you can take things to the next level with a burnt orange or ochre pair of casual sneakers. These are all more exciting to wear than plain black or brown suede, at the same time they’re subdued enough to be versatile, standout pieces.
Additionally, suede adds texture and visual interest to simple yet stylish outfits. I actually prefer a little bit of suede on my sneakers, especially when it’s blended together with leather and a nice gumsole for example.
SHOP SUEDE SHOES
- PUMA Sueded Classic Shoes – $33.95
- Converse One Star Ox Suede Sneakers – $85
- Maison Margiela Replica Leather and Suede Sneakers – $485
- Vans OG Old Skool LX Leather-Trimmed Suede Sneakers – $75
Quick note: If you’re enjoying this article on the latest sneaker trends for men, then you’ll probably find my other writing on all things men’s style useful. Each week, I share updates, style tips and other things not shared on the blog through my free email newsletter.
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COOLEST MEN’S SHOES (THE BAD)
We’ve talked about the good sneaker trends for 2020, but now it’s time for some of the bad. These aren’t the best shoes, although it’s not all that bad if we take a closer look.
The following trending sneakers are considered the “cool shoes” for men for the past couple of years and only look to be gaining steam as we head into 2020 and beyond.
5. CHUNKY SOLE SNEAKERS
It was only a matter of time before they reared their ugly heads back into the sneaker scene. They’ve been trending heavily all year among sneaker heads and fashion influencers and will only pick up steam in 2020. Although a shoe like this doesn’t have staying power and so it will probably fade away sooner than we think.
The maximalist bulky or chunky sneakers also known as dad trainers or ugly sneakers are a direct response to the minimalist sneaker trend. Brands like Balenciaga and Gucci to Nike and New Balance are rocking this trend hard right now. They’re not pretty with the worst of them introducing crazy colors to elevate these brick-like silhouettes into obnoxiously loud territory.
But with all the things wrong with this trend, there are a few bright spots. If you’re down to experiment with the bulky sole sneaker trend, then opt for a shoe with a sleek silhouette upper and a solid or neutral colors. It will help to tone down the chunky sole and ground the overall look.
A great current example of the chunky sole, dad trainer trend is the new Everlane Tread Trainer. The shoe launched in late-April 2019 to much fanfare. It’s a chunk soled sneaker that is actually wearable for most men. I was lucky enough that they sent me an early pair before launch and so I’ve been wearing them for the better part of this year. You can check out the full review and comparison of Greats vs Everlane.
SHOP CHUNKY SOLE SNEAKERS
FASHIONABLE SHOES FOR MEN (THE UGLY)
Fashion is a cyclical beast that gives way to new trends on a seasonal basis. Before the wide leg trouser trend we had skinny jeans. And naturally, years of Vans and Common Projects have led us here.
These are the so called fashionable men’s sneakers right now in late-2019. To each his own, but these are trends that I wouldn’t want to be caught dead in. I’d avoid these ugly, trending sneakers at all costs.
6. UGLY TRAINERS
These things are utterly hideous. Living up to their name, ugly sneakers combine a bulky soled shoe with unnecessary embellishments, Ed Hardy-esque paint splatters, hand sketched art, and bold logos which is a category unto itself.
Do yourself a favor and avoid the ugly dad sneaker trend in 2020. Sure a tiny subset of fashion dudes (hypebeasters) are going to rock these unsightly horrors, but at least you won’t be looking back in 10 years thinking WTF was I wearing?
7. BOLD LOGO SNEAKERS
Regular Gentleman Within readers know that I’m not a fan of logos obnoxiously plastered on products. Leave it to high fashion to shout their brand name to the rooftops with bold logos emblazoned across the front of their shoes. It’s a status thing I guess. To them these are the coolest men’s shoes ever.
If you’re going to rock this trend, go with some New Balances, it’ll run you 10x less than a pair of Gucci, Prada or Givenchy sneakers and it’s a tried and true classic.
8. A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING SNEAKER TREND
Finally to conclude this list of latest sneaker trends for 2020, it’s time to throw in the kitchen sink.
This trend takes a little bit of everything and blends it into a single, unified sneaker trend that can actually work.
Take a sleek leather, mesh and suede upper in neutral colors and pair it with a slimmed down chunky sole and you’ve got a great looking shoe that stands out without screaming out.
Sometimes throwing a ton of crap at the wall and hoping that it sticks can work out after all. I’m personally a big fan of mixing and matching textures when it comes to putting stylish and visually interesting outfits together. It works just as well with trendy sneakers.
SHOP THE KITCHEN SINK
WRAPPING THINGS UP
There you have it, men’s sneaker trends 2020, the good, the bad and the ugly. I hope that this article helped to provide insight on what’s currently hot and what you can potentially experiment with moving forward into 2020 and beyond.
WHICH OF THESE SNEAKER TRENDS ARE YOU A FAN OF?
Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.
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