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Sneakers: A Year in Review

For sneakerheads, every new year comes with the anticipation of new launches, and what might be this year's hottest shoe. Whilst assumptions can be made about which sneakers might hit the ground running this year, the team at luxury footwear and apparel retailer Kick Game has revealed sales data from 2021 to see which brands, styles and colours came out on top as favourites amongst the sneakerhead community.

In 2021 there was one shoe that was a clear favourite amongst sneaker lovers, selling more than any other shoe every single month. The Air Jordan 1 was the model that really got sneakerheads excited last year, making up more than half of (58.7%) of Kick Game’s sales in 2021. However, looking at year on year data, 2021 was the year of the resurgence of the Jordan 4, making up 10.35% of the years sales compared to only 3.89% in 2020. Some key releases of the Jordan 4 included the White Oreo, University Blue and Lightening colourways. It was a great year for the American brand, as they were also the favoured sneaker brand of the year, taking up 71.8% of overall sales.

Top sneaker brands of 2021 

1. Air Jordan 

2. Nike 

3. Adidas 

4. New Balance 

Nike came in as the second favourite brand of the year and the resurgence of the 550 silhouette saw New Balance claim fourth place, seeing a steady uplift in sales from July when the hype around the 550 began. 

Top five sneaker styles of 2021 

1. Air Jordan 1 

2. Nike Dunk 

3. Air Jordan 4 

4. Yeezy Boost 350 v2 

5. Air Force 1 

The Nike Dunk clawed its way into second place when it came to the top selling styles of the year making up 14.6% of sales, followed closely by another Nike shoe, the Air Jordan 4. 

When it comes to choosing a pair of sneakers, more often than not, besides the style and brand, the colourway is the main selling point. Kick Game’s sale data shows some undeniable and interesting trends when it comes to what colours were purchased and when in 2021. 

Overall for the year, white, black and blue were the top colour choices for sneakerheads making up 53% of sales combined. As an easy to style, shoe-drobe staple, it comes as no surprise that white sneakers were the favourite, dominating sales for eight months of the year. However, quite interestingly, white kicks saw some of their highest sale numbers in the winter months.

Top five sneaker colours of 2021 

1. White 

2. Black 

3. Blue 

4. Grey 

5. Pink 

Summer is known for fun and playful vibes, and it seems as though shoe shoppers wanted to be prepared to replicate the same vibes with their footwear. Sales data shows that in the three months leading up to UK summertime, sales of multi-coloured shoes were up, with more being sold in those three months than at any other point in the year. 

The seasonal trends continued with autumnal coloured kicks - particularly brown, tan and yellow - selling more in the autumn months (sept-nov) than at any other point in the year. Seasonal sneakers certainly seem to be a thing in the sneakerhead community as red sneakers saw a 383% increase from April to November in the lead up to the festive period, with sales increasing steadily month by month, following a dip in sales in the middle part of the year. 

Daniel Nti, Head of Brand at Kick Game commented on the data, “2021 was a crazy year for the sneaker culture, with a large amount of new releases and collaborations. For 2022 we believe that it will be more of the same, with some high profile collaborations being teased by the giants in the game such as Nike & Adidas.” 

Personally, I think Jordan Brand took the title for the biggest and best brand of 2021 largely due to the strong releases across the year and the continued impact of the ’The Last Dance’ series by Netflix. Jordan did a great job releasing familiar silhouettes and colourways across a range of models, as well as some ground-breaking collaborations e.g. Fragment Design x Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1.” 

“A brand to look out for this year is New Balance, who have been creating waves within the sneaker culture since 2020. We believe New Balance will take the title this year, largely due to their new Creative Director Teddy Santis. We also believe it will be a great year for the Nike Air Max models, with a few rumoured collaborations set for 2022” 

“In terms of trends that are likely to continue into 2022, I think the ‘aged’ look of yellowed midsoles and neutral tones is going to remain popular. So keep an eye out for a vintage look and feel on some of the new drops this year.”


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