The best sneakers you can actually buy in 2020

Don't wait for the latest sneaks to drop, check out the best creps you can actually buy, right now

15 best sneakers you can actually buy in 2020

If you were always that school kid who never sported the newest sneakers, it’s time to put things right. Sportswear or ‘Athleisure,’ as it’s known in the fashion world, is one of the biggest and longest-running trends in recent years, so there’s no better time for treating yourself to the very latest designs.

New sneakers are dropping every week so there’s no shortage of releases to keep your rotation fresh. But one thing becomes clear eventually – some kicks are all hype, while others stay on our minds and feet for the long haul. While we can’t always predict what becomes a classic, sidestepping the hype train is a tactful way to buy new sneakers.

With that said, below I’ve included a list of the best sneakers you can cop right now. These aren’t just-this-minute releases, but they’re all fresh. 

Overall, the best pick here is the timeless Common Projects Original Achilles. They're an everyday sneaker, that's comfortable and practical enough to be worn around town with a design that’s low-key enough to avoid ostentation. They're in demand because they're simply special, not insanely expensive, yet is high on quality and style. It ticks many boxes for design, wearability and more. 

Best places to buy sneakers

Best sneakers: styles explained

(Image credit: Mr Porter)

Tennis shoes

Tennis shoes are typically light canvas or leather shoes, which are a staple for summer. While you might want to retire yours this autumn (puddles, mud and canvas don’t mix) it’s a great time to refresh your favourites for next spring when they go on sale. If you’re wedded to your Converse or New Balance you might want to invest in your go-to style in a more durable leather material too. 

(Image credit: Mr Porter)

Mesh running trainers

Sure, casual kicks are important, but everyone needs a killer pair of technical trainers in their sportwear arsenal for running and trips to the gym. Whether you opt for Nike Flyknits or trendy Adidas ‘Speed Socks’ there’s a high-tech trainers to make you perform better (or at least feel swanky).

(Image credit: Mr Porter)


High-tops are as American as Charlie Brown or the Statue of Liberty with iconic shoes including Converse All-Stars, Nike Air Force 1s and Reebok Freestyles. Whether you play basketball or not (we’re guessing mostly not) there’s still a space for high-tops in your wardrobe and they look great paired with jeans or trousers on a crisp autumn day. 

(Image credit: Mr Porter)

Casual classics/icons

The chances are you yearned for a particular pair of trainers as a kid. For me, it was Nike ‘97s. The good news is that now you’re all grown-up you can afford to buy these icons, which somehow feel even more special. Perhaps absence does make the heart grow fonder. Whether you’re all about minimal Stan Smiths, or neon ‘95s, buy the style that makes you happiest and relish the joy they bring.

(Image credit: Mr Porter)


Plimsolls aren’t just for school. Defined as having a rubber sole and canvas upper, they were originally developed as beachwear in the 1830s, and are still a summer staple for many. Much like tennis shoes, it’s worth investing in a new pair in the autumn when they’re in the sale and stashing them away for the spring. But there are also leather options for Vans, for example, making plimsolls a goer in wet weather and a good option when it comes to transitional dressing.

(Image credit: Mr Porter)

‘Ugly' sneakers

Ugly trainers have been all over the catwalks for a while, with Calvin Klein and Balenciaga doing some seriously coverable (and expensive) styles, while the likes of Nike and Adidas have had hits with the Tekno and Falcon styles respectively, for that geek-chic look. If in doubt, ask yourself: “What would Steve Jobs wear?” Whatever your budget, the fashion mantra is, the uglier the better.

  • Shop 'ugly' sneakers at Mr Porter
  • Shop 'ugly' sneakers at Footlocker
  • Shop 'ugly' sneakers at Schuh

Best sneaker brands


Nike is the world's largest supplier of sneakers and dominates the serious trainers and casual classics markets. Surprisingly, it was only founded in 1964 (as Blue Ribbon Sports) and was named Nike Inc in 1971. But since then it's created some of the most iconic trainers on the planet, from the preppy Cortez (which was popular in the 1970s) to Air Jordans, Air Force 1's and Air Max running shoes in the 80s, which set the scene for more 1990s icons such as 95s and 97s, which are having a major fashion moment at the moment. The new Tekno Mk2 design is also popular, not to mention the Flyknit finish on its more serious running shoes.


German sports giant Adidas has been producing top-notch trainers sporting its iconic three parallel stripes (or bars) since 1949. While Falcons are seriously popular at the moment, the Stan Smith is one of its most iconic. It first made its debut in 1971 and was a hot favourite a couple of years ago. But they are still a minimalist classic, alongside the ever-popular Superstars, which were famously a hit with Run DMC in the 1980s. But you don't have to wear bling with yours.

Common Projects

A newcomer to the trainer market, Common Projects was only founded in 2004, by an art director and creative consultant. But its Achilles shoe has made a big impact in the fashion world, as one of the more minimalist designs of choice. All the brand’s shoes are hand-stitched in Italy, often using Nappa leather and feature a line of numbers along the heel, displaying the style, the size and colour.


If you’ve ditched dairy, eschew meat and try to live a more environmentally friendly life, you’ll have heard of Veja trainers. Since 2003, the French firm has been making shoes with a conscience. From making sure rubber tappers in the Amazon are well looked after to vetting the supply chain of materials used and choosing 'ecological leather' over the usual chemical-tanned stuff, they are the footwear of choice for trendy eco-warriors.


Whether you can skateboard or not, you’ve probably rocked a pair of Vans. The brand has always been cool, opening its first store in 1966 and getting its skateboard logo in the 70s (penned by a rad 13-year-old no less).  Now its classic styles are super cool again, and handily come in leather for autumn. And you might be able to bag a piece of a limited-edition collaboration with another brand, movie franchise or artist. So, whether you opt for easy-to-wear black, flexible neutrals or an eye-catching design from an urban artist, there’s something for everyone.

New Balance

While the brand fell out vogue, it made a triumphant return when everyone went nuts for minimalism, and its iconic kicks are still popular, mainly because they go with everything and come in a kaleidoscope of colours. The company describes its shoes as ‘the perfect blend of function and fashion’ and they are super comfortable – and affordable too. Plus, for those worried about their carbon footprint and causing harm with their fashion choices, New Balance is big on reducing waste, using more sustainable materials and looking after its employees, which is a step forward.

Best sneakers: buying tips

First thing’s first, before you hit a sport shop (and have to mingle with petulant teenagers and contend with pumping music) spend a bit of time with your own tranquil closet, to check out which trainers will match your needs and style the best. If you have some favourites that are looking a bit tired, why not invest in an updated pair of the same style but in a different colour or finish? Or if you always reach for a particular hue, try it out in a new style from another brand?

Once you’ve decided what you want or need, try not to get sucked into sneaker hype. Yes, some designers are super ‘now’ and you will be the coolest kid in the playground – but it will only last for 10 minutes before you want the next ‘latest’ pair. Instead, have confidence in your own style and what you like.

If you have problematic feet, choose a pair of shoes to suit them. New Balance tend to be great for narrower feet and few trainers come up as wide as a pair of Nike Air Max! Try some different styles on and make sure they’re comfy. No-one likes a fashion victim.

Last but not least, have fun! Trainers go in and out of fashion and they’re a really easy way to express yourself and embrace your inner child. While you may never wear a sunshine yellow blazer, or a purple suit, you can really go to town with your kicks and no-one will bat an eyelid. Even the most ‘out there’ of shoes are totally wearable.

So, now that you're armed to the teeth with advice, you can find the best sneakers listed below:

The best sneakers you can buy right now

best sneakers: Common Projects Original Achilles

1. Common Projects Original Achilles

The ultimate urbanite sneaker

Reasons to buy
+Clean design+Easy to match with+Well-made and comfortable

You can’t go wrong with the Achilles from Common Projects. The minimal white leather upper is combined with gold stamped serial numbers on the heels, leather linings and rubber soles. 

This might just be the perfect all-round sneaker for spring/summer. Common Projects has a reputation for quality and the Achilles is no exception. 

Whether you’re into the pinroll trousers look, dad chinos or denim shorts, this silhouette is simple enough to go with just about any outfit. Understatement is the key here and if that’s how you roll, this should be your next purchase.

best sneakers: Vans OG Old Skool LX Suede

2. Vans OG Old Skool LX Suede

An iconic sneaker, now in suede

Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Low maintenance style+Everyone should own a pair of Vans
Reasons to avoid
-Suede can get dirty

There are a handful of sneakers you could label iconic, but there are few that are so all-pervasively popular as the Vans Old Skool. Whether they remind you of yesteryear or you are considering a new pair simply for a new outfit, this pair is a reliable option for spring/summer ahead.

Not just your average beaters, these are finished in soft off-white suede that’ll look great in just about any casual outfit, particularly if you throw jeans or chinos in with a white T-shirt. And you don’t need to be a skater boy to appreciate it, but the brand’s waffle outsoles provide loads of grip for when it gets slippery. 

(Image credit: Mr Porter)

3. VEJA V-10 Rubber-Trimmed Leather Sneakers

Environmentally-friendly classics

Reasons to buy
+Eco-friendly, organic etc+Label of the moment+They’ll go with everything

If you’ve swapped your 4x4 for a Prius and ditched dairy, you might want to consider some do-gooder trainers too. Veja's environmentally friendly sneakers are made from raw materials sourced from organic farms and ecological agriculture without any chemicals and pollution, making them good for the planet and your wardrobe, as this brand is really having a fashion moment. 

This sturdy 'V-10' pair has rubber trims and soles sourced sensibly from trees in the Amazonian rainforest and the price is sensible too. The all-white palette and chunky-but-not-too-chunky profile mean they'll go with just about anything.

best sneakers: New Balance MS997 Suede, Nubuck and Mesh

4. New Balance MS997 Suede, Nubuck and Mesh

Effortlessly cool kicks

Reasons to buy
+Neutral tones +Big on comfort+Not Nike or Adidas
Reasons to avoid
-A little too 'dad shoe'?

New Balance ticks just about every box you can think of when it comes to combining affordability, details and style. The 997 is a popular silhouette from the brand and, if you don’t already own a pair, is a refreshing switch from the tech-soled offerings from Nike and Adidas that can sometimes become be a little overdone.

This pair comes in grey and is detailed with flexible mesh, suede and nubuck for a comfortable finish. While you might see design similarities with a 1998 Le Mans prototype as you stare these over, every line and layer has purpose. As such, wearing these 997s will add a new kick to your sneaker rotation.

best sneakers: Nike Air Max 1 Premium Suede

5. Nike Air Max 1 Premium Suede

Best worn with denim

Reasons to buy
+Classic silhouette+Seasonal colourway+Suede elevates the style

The Nike Air Max 1 is a reliable go-to for fans of the brand and sneakerheads alike. If you’re keen on ‘90s styling in particular (say, baggy blue jeans) then you can do no wrong with a pair like this. Some people lean more towards the Air Max Zero camp for its taught lines, but you’ll just know which you prefer when you see them.

This pair of premium Air Max 1 in olive-green suede are an ideal match for a pair of jeans. The texture will go with denim of almost any type and the colour is stylish while also being cool and comfort focused. They won’t break the bank, either, but you mightn’t be able to pull these off so easily at the peak of summer.

best sneakers: Adidas Originals Ultra Boost Primeknit

6. Adidas Originals Ultra Boost Primeknit

Pure athleisure

Reasons to buy
+Understated cool+Highly versatile design+Can also be used for exercise
Reasons to avoid
-Boost sole not for everyone-Can't be dressed up

While there are a lot of great shoes on this list, this pair of Adidas Ultra Boost convey a sense of cool style. The silhouette itself is good-looking, comfortable and a proven style lifter thanks to its design pedigree. While the streetwear craze might not be your thing, these sneakers could be anyway.

The boost sole will definitely add more spring to your step, but bear in mind that you could pick up a similarly great pair of grey sneakers for less money. While they’re by no means expensive, buying these creps should be about adding to your styling options and refreshing your rotation more than anything. The knitted upper is cosy, while the painted midsole should do you many wears before it even begins to age.

(Image credit: Mr Porter)

7. Gucci Ace Watersnake-Trimmed Leather Sneakers

The luxe look-at-me option

Reasons to buy
+Instagram-friendly+Surprisingly versatile+An investment
Reasons to avoid
-You might be reluctant to get them dirty

Every Instagram influencer worth their salt has a pair of these trainers. But Gucci’s latest update to its Ace trainers has still got us drooling. The brand’s covetable Ace kicks now come in navy and red – a really easy to wear colour combo. In fact, Gucci’s striped webbing has been around since the '50s, so these sneakers are not a stylish flash in the pan, which is a good job because they're not cheap. 

While they may be too flashy for some, the shoe’s minimalist profile means they'll look great with smart trousers, jeans and sweatpants alike and add a little glamour to your go-to. Tennis inspired, you won’t want to wear them to the gym, but they are made in Italy from smooth leather with watersnake heel tabs and flexible rubber soles, so are built for comfort as well as looks.

(Image credit: Mr Porter)

8. Adidas Originals Trimm-Trab sneakers

A retro re-issue in eye-catching cobalt

Reasons to buy
+The most summery colour+D-ring eyelets and other cool features+Quality materials, including suede

Wearing blue and white is always a good look in summer. But if navy is a bit too nautical, why not consider switching to cobalt? Adidas Originals' 'Trimm-Trab' sneakers are a re-issue of a 1977 style and come in vibrant cobalt blue, which while being eye-catching (and great for enhancing your tan) is surprisingly easy to wear. 

When initially released, the style was favoured for training purposes, but soon garnered popularity on the streets – and it’s still cool today. These ones have blue suede uppers and feature textured tongues, D-ring eyelets and the label's signature trio of stripes – that’s a lot of detailing.

best sneakers: Nike Running Epic React Flyknit

9. Nike Running Epic React Flyknit

Nike’s latest tech

Reasons to buy
+High on comfort+Versatile look+Filled with technology
Reasons to avoid
-Too sporty for some

While you can definitely rely on the Nike React for hitting all the right notes on comfort, price and design, it’s important to point out the elephant in the room first. It’s obvious to most that this silhouette is a reaction to the popularity of runners like Adidas’s Boost models, which the Nike Vapormax did little to compete with. So unless you’re a sneakerhead with deep brand loyalty, let’s move on to the details.

The React sole is a strong competitor when it comes to comfort. If you’re planning to run in them they’ll also hit the mark performance-wise. The tonal grey colourway is reliable and versatile enough to match with just about anything in your wardrobe, and that includes smart casual outfits too.

best sneakers: Converse 1970s Chuck Taylor All Star High-Top

10. Converse 1970s Chuck Taylor All Star High-Top

The classic casual go-to

Reasons to buy
+Works with most budgets+Ultimate casual sneaker+Can be worn with jeans or a suit+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Less than average cushioning

No matter how deep your casual sneaker collection, it isn’t complete without a pair of Chucks. While you might already have multiple pairs in your rotation, it’s always worth seeking out a versatile colourway that stands out when you’re opting for a silhouette that’s been around for decades. 

This high-top Chuck Taylor does just that. Made from the lightweight canvas and white midsole that’s instantly recognisable, the highlight here is definitely the colourway. The taupe upper is neutral enough to go with practically anything and has a cool contrast with the black laces that run up to the ankle. Best of all, they’ll pair with chinos just as easily as jeans.

(Image credit: Mr Porter)

11. Converse Chuck 70 OX Woven Sneakers

Beachy rework of an American classic

Reasons to buy
+On-trend look+Cool clear soles+Great to add to your collection

If you live in Converse, good news. There’s an updated version of the original 'All Star' model that taps into one of this summer’s hottest trends – the surf look. Converse's 'Chuck 70 OX' sneakers are the board short. They have black and white woven uppers that create a graphic two-tone pattern and cool clear rubber soles, making them quite different from the others you probably own. 

If you’re a Converse aficionado, you’ll appreciate the cushioned Ortholite footbeds that pay homage to archival styles and if not, rest assured, this will make them comfy pounding the pavements on holiday, or for a trip to the beach. They’re not super cheap, but would make a cool and quirky addition to a collection of plimsolls.

best sneakers: Off-White Logo-Print Suede-Trimmed Sneakers

12. Off-White Logo-Print Suede-Trimmed Sneakers

Understated style from a hyped brand

Reasons to buy
+Easy to match with+Low-key style
Reasons to avoid
-On the pricier side

Off-White has a reputation for brash designs that incorporate distressed detailing and bold, even outlandish, use of colour. This has earned the brand fame but that’s also a reason to look elsewhere it when it comes to choosing attire that’s practical. That is not the case with these sneakers, however.

Made from nubuck and suede, the brand’s signature-style logo is printed across the upper. The black and grey tones blend smoothly together to create an understated look that will offer plenty of matching options whether for work or your social dates.

best sneakers: Nike Air Max 95 OG Grosgrain-Trimmed Sneakers

13. Nike Air Max 95 OG Grosgrain-Trimmed Sneakers

The often underrated classic

Reasons to buy
+Both stylish and practical+Great autumn colourway+Relatively affordable

You can never pass up on a classic like Nike’s Air Max 95. While it doesn’t pack the lustre of the Air Max 97, this silhouette still has a cult following of its own. While more on the functional, rather than the aesthetic, end of the athletic spectrum, this grosgrain-trimmed colourway is your everyday sneaker and more. 

Made from tonal-grey faux suede panels across the upper, and paired with white and black mesh, this is certainly a sneaker you could wear to the track just as you could a street style photoshoot. And while the midsole doesn’t have the prettiness of newer silhouettes a la Vapormax, there’s something refreshing about a sneaker that’s unapologetically stylish. 

best sneakers: Y-3 Kusari Boost Sneakers

14. Y-3 Kusari Boost Sneakers

Reasons to buy
+High on comfort+Unique design
Reasons to avoid
-Will dirty easily

These low-tops from Y-3 are yet another example of the fusion of sportswear and fashion that the brand has become famous for. The panelled neoprene upper is combined with mesh for a design that’s both soft and textured. The laces are secured with grosgrain piping along the upper which is complemented with off-white suede trim. 

Aside from the many other details that make the Kusari silhouette stand out is the Boost midsole. Not only will this be a comfort cushion for your feet, but also a marker of your taste in streetwear and the oft-debated marriage of high-low within contemporary fashion.

best sneakers: CRIME LONDON Force low top sneakers

15. CRIME LONDON Force low top sneakers

A classic tennis sneaker with a subtle twist

Reasons to buy
+Can be dressed up or down+Full-grain Leather+Black heel gives a subtle twist

Crime London was founded by two Italian sisters, and is inspired by the time they spent in London during university. The alternative scenes in Shoreditch and Camden Town and the cultural clash of Brick Lane have all had an impact on Crime London collections. We love these classic low top sneakers, made from premium full-grain leather, and with black accent on the heel.

Buy them from Farfetch for £158.

best sneakers: Nike Air Vapormax 97

16. Nike Air Vapormax 97

The very best of old and new

Reasons to buy
+Fresh take on a classic+Cool colourway
Reasons to avoid
-Not your everyday sneaker

It’s no secret that the Air Max 97 is the beloved silhouette of sneakerheads the world over. And what better way to rock it than with a newer, more technical midsole than Vapormax? This low-top comes in a canvas and faux-leather upper in white, purple and silver tones and are a solid combination for a sporty ‘fit, or just a pure street style look. 

This model features a logo patch and grosgrain pull-loop that match the silver highlights throughout. Aside from the deep varsity shade of purple strewn about, you’ll find a transparent rubber Vapormax midsole to provide not only cushioning and comfort, but a killer combination of 90s Nike design along with contemporary technology.

best sneakers: Balenciaga Race Runner

17. Balenciaga Race Runner

One for the style mavens

Reasons to buy
+High quality construction+Gorgeous navy colourway

Balenciaga’s Race Runner has been updated from previous iterations. While it’s known for being worn by celebrities, the Italian-made sneaker is subtle enough that you could wear it casually as well as when you take the Ferrari out for a spin. Even so, this is one for the style mavens – so you might want to leave your faded Levi’s out here.

Available here in a navy colourway, this version is constructed of neoprene, leather and mesh and also features elasticated strap detailing around the upper. Finishing touches include suede at the heels and rubber outsoles.

best sneakers: Adidas Originals NMD CS1 Gore-Tex

18. Adidas Originals NMD CS1 Gore-Tex

This is a Speed Sock on a budget

Reasons to buy
+Boost midsole+Gore-Tex waterproofing+Comfortable Primeknit upper

Adidas’s Boost-soled sneakers have been around long enough that you just might have a pair. That doesn’t mean you should stop at one or more – especially when you take a look at the NMD City Sock. 

This particular CS1 variant comes equipped with Gore-Tex linings, meaning you’ll have extra waterproofing over the standard model (great in the spring).

Essentially what you’re getting here is the best of everything from Adidas plus some extra technology thrown in for good measure. You can style this with your favourite streetwear brands and, aside from the Boost-Primeknit comfort combo, this is still a comparatively affordable crep.

best sneakers: Gucci Rhyton

19. Gucci Rhyton

While oversized logos are trending, this is more than just hype

Reasons to buy
+Makes a statement+Quality design and construction+Will hold its value

In 2017 we saw oversized logos make a splash not only on the runway, but also across some of our favourite sneakers. The Gucci Rhyton was no exception, with the kicks receiving several different logo combinations that are impossible to overlook. In contrast to the more subtle graphics printed on the Gucci Ace, the Rhyton is all about extroverted branding and perfect for posting on the ‘Gram.

The silhouette itself is based on the '80s-inspired Rhyton, with this particular pair made in Italy from softened washed leather. The massive print used on the upper leaves no question that you’re donning Gucci footwear and allows you to flaunt your style unapologetically.