Year-in-Review: Top Sneaker Releases of 2020

Year-in-Review: Top Sneaker Releases of 2020

Written by Sufiana SharuddinJanuary 12, 2021

Year-in-Review: Top Sneaker Releases of 2020

We return once again with the latest edition of our top sneaker releases in 2020. Despite experiencing the most turbulent year in retail, the streetwear and sportswear industry was one of the first segments within fashion and apparel to recover.

This time around, we will not only be reporting on the most valuable sneakers within the resale market but also ‘general release’ (GR) sneakers as measured by its popularity and speed to sell-out. While we know hyped sneakers generate the most excitement from sneaker fans, the true backbone of the industry are still GR sneakers that you can purchase off the shelves every day.


Most Valuable Sneakers: As with last year’s list, the most valuable sneakers are aggregated by calculating its resale value against retail price from reputable third-party retailers such as Farfetch, Stock X and Stadium Goods, using the Omnilytics dashboard.

Top General Release Sneakers: To keep things fair and square for the GR sneakers, we are only evaluating the speed to sell-out of sneakers sold at major sneaker chains, Foot Locker and JD Sports, globally.

Releases of 2020: Most Valuable Sneakers

Nike made history again by partnering with luxury brand, Christian Dior to bring you the Dior x Air Jordan 1, which was one of the most anticipated sneaker releases of all time. Most sneakerheads will also agree that 2020 was the year of the Nike Dunk, propelled by exciting collabs with the Grateful Dead, Ben & Jerry’s, as well as Travis Scott, the classic Nike silhouette and its SB version found its place again in the limelight after the ‘00s.

While the resale market was heavily skewed towards Nike, Adidas caused a frenzy when long-time collaborator, Kanye West released the YEEZY Foam Runner. Somewhere between a sandal and a sneaker, the most affordable YEEZY shoe to date was an instant cop when it launched during the #WESTDAYEVER rollout.

most valuable sneaker releases of 2020

Releases of 2020: Top General Release Sneakers

Beyond just hyped sneakers, GR sneakers also played a pivotal role in keeping the sneaker market afloat last year. While nearly every sportswear company experienced losses, consumers’ newly found interest in health and exercise during the pandemic helped to regain their foothold in the market. More casual lifestyles as a result of remote learning and WFH also boosted the sales of retro sneakers for daily wear. 

top general release sneakers of 2020

What to Expect for 2021?

The new year may have just begun but the buildup for interesting sneaker releases for 2021 has already been mounting. Some of the sneakers slated for last year’s release had to be halted or rescheduled due to the pandemic, moving the release calendar back significantly. Product leaks suggest collaborations with Supreme, Sacai and Tom Sachs are already in the works. 

But this does not mean the sneaker market will be completely free of the pandemic’s grip. While Nike had managed to beat quarterly estimates, the company also laid off hundreds of its employees after posting a USD 790 million loss in June of 2020. Resale value of sneakers has also recorded a decline as a result of low consumer participation. With the pandemic still a foreseeable hurdle, at least until Q2 of 2021, the verdict on how well the sneaker market will perform this year is still out.

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