We could write an entire novel devoted solely to sneaker trends. Despite occupying a small, relatively niche subset of the sartorial umbrella, sneakers seem to be subject to just as many trend fluctuations as, say, outerwear or bags. From dad sneakers and platforms to the resurgence of Vans, Reebok, and Fila, there’s always something to report on in the sneaker world. 

This brings us to the topic of the best sneakers for women in 2021. After carefully considering the street style, runway, and retail trends, we’ve separated today’s trendy sneakers into five main camps: dad sneakers, all-white sneakers, platforms and exaggerated soles, weekend kicks, and athleisure. Keep scrolling for the 2021 way to wear sneakers and to shop the most on-trend buys in each category.

Generally speaking, dad sneakers are still going strong in the high-fashion world. But we’re seeing a trend toward more true-to-era, less exaggerated versions of the look, like classic New Balance 624s. Style Notes: Take notes from Princess Diana circa 1980 and opt for throwback sneakers and tall athletic socks pulled over leggings or tights. 

Nineties New Balances have made their inevitable comeback.

These classic Reebok sneakers look like they came straight from the 1980s.

Though definitely in the “exaggerated” camp, this list wouldn’t be complete without a pair of Balenciaga dad sneakers. 

Classic with a bold new twist.

Be prepared to get reacquainted with platform sneakers and exaggerated soles. Echoing the lug-sole trend currently dominating the boot sphere, brands like Gucci, Nike, and Alexander McQueen have all released their takes on the Spice Girls–inspired look. Style Notes: Heed Alyssa Coscarelli’s styling advice and pair your platform sneakers with split flares and a puffer jacket. 

The ’90s are officially back. 

If you’re going to try platform shoes, make them Gucci.

These rugged hiker sneakers would pair perfectly with a black pantsuit and gold jewelry.

These Alexander McQueen exaggerated-sole sneakers come in 17 different colors and patterns.

Classic white sneakers will never go out of style, and brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Common Projects continue to release slightly tweaked iterations of this look season after season. Style Notes: White sneakers paired with tonal trousers and structured outerwear were the prevailing street style look at NYFW F/W 20. 

Veja’s vegan-leather sneakers are a favorite among Emily Ratajkowski, Meghan Markle, Reese Witherspoon, and more.

Behold the perfect all-white sneakers that’ll keep any look clean and chic. 

Spotted: a rare minimalist Gucci find.

These sleek sneakers will go with everything in your closet.

No wardrobe is complete without an affordable pair of weekend sneakers that you can scuff up without blinking an eye. A preferred choice for running errands or grabbing dinner with friends, classics like slip-on Vans, Stan Smiths, and Converse will never go out of style.  Style Notes: To elevate your weekend sneakers, pair them with patterned wide-leg pants and structured outerwear.

These checkerboard Vans slip-ons are a favorite among the fashion crowd.

The Comme des Garçons Play x Converse collaboration is still one of our favorites to date. 

You can’t wrong with classic Reeboks.

Nothing beats a versatile Stan Smith sneaker.

It’s common knowledge that workout shoes are no longer limited to the gym. Brands like Nike, Athletic Propulsion Labs, Adidas, and Puma continue to infuse performance technology with street style aesthetics, resulting in athleisure-style shoes that can transition from boxing to brunch.  Style Notes: Lime green and other neon hues like yellow, orange, and pink are having a moment. Opt for a bold color and style your outfit accordingly.

Veja’s performance line is just as chic as its covetable white sneaks.

Asics sneakers are the gold standard in athletic shoes. 

We love the lick of turquoise on these Onitsuka Tiger sneakers.

Go color crazy with these funky Nikes.

Up next, All the Sneakers I’ve Envied on Celebs Have One Thing in Common

This piece was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

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