Fashion

The 2020 GQ Sneaker Survey

If 2020 has been the Year of the Sweatpant, it should follow that it’s also been a massive year for sneakers. With our hard-bottoms crying out for love from the backs of closets, we spent the year in comfortable, casual sneakers. Some were plain and easy to buy; others baroque in design and all but impossible to source. Outside quarantine, the industry continued to go gangbusters: we learned about the Chunky Dunky, and Travis Scott continued his long-simmering takeover of the business, and a tongue caused an uproar. In a year where everything stopped, sneakers kept moving. To make sense of it all, GQ’s style team convened to answer the most pressing sneaker questions we could think of. 

What sneaker have you been wearing most this fall?

Chris Gayomali, articles editor: ’98 Nike ACG Air Terra Albis 2

Rachel Tashjian, style writer: Salomon XT-6 in red and white

The Salomon S/Lab XT-6 Is GQ’s Sneaker of the Year

Or: how a years-old mountaineering shoe won 2019.

Willa Bennett, senior manager, social media: Airforce 1s, mids.

Daniel Varghese, tech and lifestyle commerce writer: Black Adidas Sambas—the cheap ones with long tongue.

Noah Johnson, style editor: Honestly, it’s not cool and I’m not bragging, but it’s the Hoka Speedgoat 4 for trail running. Runner up is the new Adidas Puig shoe for skating.

Chris Cohen, wellness editor: NB 990s, but barely any sneakers at all. I run in Hokas and Asics and BRIEFLY tried the monochrome fashion Hoka thing with a pair of Cliftons in “Tofu”—it did not work for me.

Yang-Yi Goh, style commerce writer: Adidas Puigs. They’re bright royal blue with a sort of greenish-clear sole, and they look like a slightly warped pair of Gazelles. I’ve been wearing the same pair of chocolate brown cords everywhere lately, and they play real nice together.

Codie Steensma, deputy managing editor: Mustard-colored velvet Golden Gooses. One of those purchases I just thought: this will make me feel golden and bright.

Samuel Hine, senior associate editor: White Adidas Sambas, followed closely by Rick Owens Ramones and Chuck Taylors (the normie ones, not the chunkier 70s model).

White Reebok CLUB C 85 sneaker on a green background

How a Pair of $70 Reeboks Cured My Sneaker Addiction

A mellow pair of white sneakers helped Jake Woolf put things in perspective.

Cam Wolf, style writer: The Reebok Club C 85s. They’re white, they’re made out of leather, they’re the exact shoes I wore all of last year, too. The pandemic basically zapped any desire to buy new sneakers, to be honest.

Martin Mulkeen, commerce director: New Balance 850 OG Reissue in blue and white. As an actual dad who occasionally sports “dad fashion” to signal to—I guess my immediate physical neighbors?—that I am still just a little bit “with it,” these sneaks are a compromise between overt dad sneakers and, just, sneakers a dad would wear, if that makes any sense. Most importantly, they are quite comfortable. Also, the sneaker’s backstory explains the ouroboros of all fashion and is begging to be turned into a movie. 

Sam Schube, senior editor: TBH I switched over to my Sid Mashburn Playboys the minute summer ended.

Describe your current sneaker rotation: number of sneakers, types, colors, etc.

CG: I rotate between a pair of old ACG Nikes and Merrell Moabs, depending on the activity.

RT: Six pair: Salomon XT-6s, white Air Max, Virgil’s white Air Maxes from 2017, gold Common Projects (ugh I know but they look sooo cool), La Sportiva Nucleos (if you can count those? I wear them like sneakers, so I think you can!), Vans Authentics in powder pink.

WB: Lots of Converse, Air Jordans, Air Force 1s.

DV: I mostly wear my Birks and loafers, but when I wear sneakers, I switch between three: the white ones from New Republic, black Adidas Sambas, and the yellow Nike x Gyakusou Zoom Pegasus 36s.


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