The Only Sneaker Trends That Matter This Year, According to Sneakerheads

Is it just me, or does a new shoe trend—be it the It boots, sandals, or loafers—find its way onto my Instagram feed on a near 24/7 basis? It's true. More than ever before, footwear designers are churning out viral creations, each one better than the next. Sneakers, however, move at a different pace. Often, when a sneaker style hits the sartorial mainstream, that's where it stays for a handful of seasons to come. For proof, see New Balance's constantly sold-out 550s (they're even harder to find if they're from the brand's famed collaboration with Aimé Leon Dore) and Nike's celeb-favorite Dunk Lows.

Finally, though, it appears that the sneaker world is getting some fresh meat. While we'll still be seeing plenty of the aforementioned styles this year, according to a sneaker expert from the luxury sneaker retailer GOAT, they face some tough competition. From retro silhouettes by Adidas and New Balance to the latest Yeezys, GOAT Merchandiser Annie Burton gave Who What Wear the inside scoop on all the must-have sneaker trends of the year, ahead. And before you ask, no, they're not all sold out yet—but they will be if you don't act fast.

"Retro [styles] and much-loved silhouettes from years previous will make appearances [in 2022] as outfits take inspiration from decades like the 1990s and early 2000s," says Burton. According to her, Adidas Sambas and Forum styles will be the two most-wanted retro styles of the year, especially after the latter was featured in collabs with Bad Bunny and Prada.

Shop the trend:

New Balance's 550 sneakers are damn-near impossible to get your hands on, but somehow, Farfetch still has this green color in stock.

"The Samba is an everyday shoe in fashion circles," says Burton.

The vintage green details are our favorite.

Every influencer is wearing these right now.

"Runners experienced a renewed surge of popularity in 2021, with Balenciaga introducing a new silhouette and New Balance gaining popularity to be a must-have brand for sneaker enthusiasts," says Burton. 

Shop the trend:

One scroll through Instagram will have you spotting these sneakers over a dozen times. 

According to Burton, though bright, vibrant shades are appearing on runways and in street style, a very different color palette is reigning supreme in the sneaker world: "To create a balanced look, neutral footwear will be what people will go after."

Shop the trend:

A rare leather sneaker that won't completely break the bank.

The best part about these sneakers is their versatility. 

"As we continue to work with flexible, at home arrangements, we know the casual and everyday low tops will become wardrobe staples," says Burton.

Shop the trend:

These will never go out of style.

Another Hailey Bieber favorite. These sneakers go with absolutely everything. 

Still not over platform sneakers? GOAT isn't either: "In keeping with the [overall] retro trend, we’ll see more brands adding height to classic styles," says Burton.

This, my friends, is the perfect platform.

"Yeezy will continue to maintain popularity through the new year by adding more adventurous styles to its catalog, such as the futuristic 450s and the coveted 1050 boots," says Burton. It doesn't hurt that the brand's most-popular styles keep being spotted on street-style favorites like Bella Hadid and Lori Harvey.

An old favorite: Yeezy's Foam Runners were the #1 hottest product for men in Lyst's Q3 Index for 2021.

Wearing these is a sure-fire way to make every outfit look cooler. 

"Yeezy led the way with futuristic, boot-sneaker hybrids last year and people bold enough will break them out in colder weather," says Burton.