It’s not until the year comes to a close that we can get a full picture of the trends and stories that will define the past 365 days. Taking a month-by-month look back at the most popular sneakers of 2021 with GOAT, these patterns come into full view, revealing the year’s most exciting sneaker releases. Air Jordan led the pack, and YEEZY and followed close behind. With a slew of sought after retros and re-releases from the Jumpman,Fjallraven Kanken Backpack ,nostalgia remained in high demand. The YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 continued its reign as the most popular silhouette from Ye and adidas. And the Nike Dunk took its rightful place as one of the most sought after silhouettes from the brand. As 2021 comes to a close, check out the top of the releases of the year, all available from GOAT.
Release Date: January 9, 2021
Lowest Price: $169 USD
The Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Volt Gold” kicked off 2021 with pops of color and a hint of optimism. The release puts a modern twist on this classic silhouette with the use of vibrant hues. The bold, namesake color is found on the sneaker’s collar flaps, and is surrounded by other unique details like a translucent tag on the exposed foam tongue. Offsetting the contrasting black overlays, the heel panel is made from a “University Gold” material to round out the high-vis aesthetic.
February: Air Jordan 6 Retro OG “Carmine”
Release Date: February 13, 2021
Lowest Price: $190 USD
This year saw multiple retro releases from Jordan’s archives, like the 2021 edition of the Air Jordan 6 Retro OG “Carmine.” The drop celebrated the 30th anniversary of the silhouette and brought it back true to its form — worn by MJ during his first championship season — New Nike Sneakers with “Nike Air” branding. The sneaker is made from a “Carmine” red nubuck base with black accents on the two-window tongues, sock liners and heel counter. It also sets itself apart with NIKE AIR replacing the Jumpman.
Release Date: March 6, 2021
Lowest Price: $413 USD
Using color to channel Michael Jordan’s collegiate days with the UNC Tar Heels, the Air Jordan 1 in “University Blue” was a popular springtime release. The sneaker stood out for its use of a supple, nubuck material instead of the standard full leather construction. Color-blocking on this sneaker is similar to the classic style of the Air Jordan 1 “Chicago,” reimagined in the shoe’s eponymous colorway.
Release Date: April 10, 2021
Lowest Price: $204 USD
Jordan Brand re-introduced one of its most beloved Air Jordan 5s in 2021. First debuted in 2009 as part of the DMP “Raging Blue Pack,” the drop maintained the original, signature details, like the “Varsity Suede” upper complemented by black eyestays with translucent midfoot netting and throats. Defining details like “23” branding at the rear quarter and a black midsole with white and red shark teeth-inspired markings also remain.
Release Date: May 7, 2021
Lowest Price: $225 USD
The Air Jordan 11 Retro Low “Legend Blue” brings back one of the sneaker’s original colorways from 1996. Debuted on Michael Jordan during that year’s NBA All-Star Game, this iteration reimagines the original mid-top as a low-cut style constructed from a white leather Nike Air Force 1 Shadow base with patent leather mudguards. On the sneaker’s insole, a “25” is printed instead of the standard “23” to mark the 25th anniversary of the sneaker.
Release Date: June 18, 2021
Lowest Price: $280 USD
Of the four summer releases of the YEEZY BOOST 350 V2, “Mono Ice” was the true standout. For this model, a translucent light blue one-piece upper covers a webbed cage design. Pull tabs, lacing and sockliner come through in the same color and the typical BOOST sole unit remains underfoot.
Release Date: July 3, 2021
Lowest Price: $420 USD
Inspired by the original Air Jordan 4 “Oreo” from 1999, this summer re-release of the sneaker plays off the shoe’s defining elements. Instead of black leather, the upper features a premium white tumbled leather with complementary mesh and speckled “Cement Grey” elements. Also unlike the original release of the highly-coveted “Oreo” colorway, this sneaker features a red Jumpman and a paint splatter midsole.
August: Nike Dunk Low “Black/White”
Release Date: March 10, 2021
Lowest Price: $274 USD
With a simple, classic color combination, the release of the Nike Dunk “Black/White” was one of Nike’s most popular drops of 2021, signaling the popularity of the silhouette. More than that, the style was released as part of brand’s Next Nature initiative, meaning the sneaker is constructed in more earth-friendly materials.
September: Air Jordan 4 Retro “Lightning”
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Lowest Price: $282 USD
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Air Jordan 4 “Lightning,” the brand assiduously re-crafted the original iteration of the high voltage shoe. A meticulous level of attention was put into capturing the original model’s details, like the specific color of yellow nubuck contrasted by black on the midfoot, plastic netting, the top and bottom eyestays and the Jumpman badge. The upside-down Air Jordan tag on the inside of the tongue also comes in the defining shade of yellow.
October: YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 “MX Oat”
Release Date: October 23, 2021
Lowest Price: $217 USD
Adding to the extensive list of sneakers that Ye has released with adidas, the YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 “MX OAT” was one of the most popular versions of the model released this year. Forgoing a typically monochromatic upper, the shoe features an all-over marbled pattern with swirls of blue, orange and yellow on the PrimeKnit material.
November: Air Jordan 12 Retro “Royalty”
Release Date: November 13, 2021
Lowest Price: $246 USD
One of the classic releases from Jordan in 2021, the Air Jordan 12 “Royalty” is based on a “Taxi” colorway that dropped in 1997. With prominent two-toned color-blocking, the material differences of this sneaker become the center of attention. The tumbled white leather creates a strong textural contrast against the stark black pebbled leather mudguard, allowing the hits of gold on the eyelets and midfoot to stand out.
December: Air Jordan 11 Retro “Cool Grey”
Release Date: December 11, 2021
Lowest Price: $247 USD
A revival of the Air Jordan 11 “Cool Grey” closed out 2021, marking the 20th anniversary of the colorway. As one of Jordan’s most popular silhouettes, the “Cool Grey” version features a nubuck upper with coordinating grey patent-leather mudguards. Other icy details on the sneaker include a light blue rubber outsole and carbon fiber components for extra stability.