Best Black Sneakers 2021: Nike Air Force 1s, Vans, Allbirds & More - Rolling Stone
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The Best Black Sneakers to Add to Your Rotation

From Allbirds to Vans to Yeezys, these are the coolest black sneakers to shop right now


Mr Porter

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Whether you’re shopping for a new pair of stylish shoes you can wear throughout the week or ones as comfortable as your favorite white sneakers, black sneakers offer versatile style and can be worn with anything in your closet, no matter the season. Because of their sleek look, you can easily pull them off with everything from under-the-radar office attire to laid-back outfits, and even as statement-making kicks on a night out. With more options to consider than ever before, from leather Common Projects to Chuck Taylors, we picked some of the best black sneakers to wear right now, including tried-and-true classics as well as the latest best-sellers.

What Are the Best Black Sneakers?

1. Vans Old Skool

It’s hard to get more classic than the Vans Old Skool (hence the name). The iconic kicks ooze surf-skate style, but since the sneakers’ release in 1977, we’ve seen the low-profile sneakers adopted by people in every corner of the fashion world, from A$AP Rocky to Gigi Hadid. In short, they’re one of the best all-around sneakers you can buy.


Vans Old Skool Sneakers, $59.95, available on Zappos

2. Adidas Samba Classic

Fun fact: The Adidas Samba is over 70 years old, and this latest iteration of the Samba isn’t too far off from the original. Still one of the coolest sneakers around, the Sambas are designed for real use with a leather upper, suede toe and grippy gum sole. This has made them a favorite with indoor soccer players (their intended users) as well as skaters who prize durability and agility. Design-wise, the Sambas are very simple yet instantly recognizable thanks to the three stripes, gum sole and slim silhouette. Wear them casually on the weekends with jeans or chinos and a logo hoodie.

black adidas sambas

Courtesy Amazon

adidas Performance Men’s Samba Classic Indoor Soccer Shoe, from $40.60, available on Amazon

adidas Samba OG Shoes Women’s, from $59.95, available on Amazon

3. Allbirds Wool Runners

Allbirds has only been around for about seven years, but it’s quickly become one of the hottest shoe brands around. Its sneakers are made of moisture-wicking, odor-reducing fabric that can be worn sockless and thrown in the wash when necessary. These Wool Runners are the original Allbirds model with a merino wool construction and a super minimal look. Just be warned: If you get a pair, you might find it hard to wear anything else.

Courtesy Allbirds

Allbirds Men’s Wool Runners, $95, available on Allbirds

Allbirds Women’s Wool Runners, $95, available on Allbirds

4. New Balance 990v5

Over the last couple years, the New Balance 990 has become a real style statement. For those of us looking to stay comfortable and stylish, it’s time to consider the brand’s trendy sneakers. The suede and mesh construction, Ortholite insert and roomy design make the sneakers some of the most wearable shoes around that look just as cool with a leather jacket as they do your favorite workout gear.


New Balance 990v5 Sneakers, $174.95, available on Zappos

5. Converse Chuck Taylor

The classic Converse Chuck Taylor takes on a different persona in this monochrome all-black pair. The rubber toe, canvas upper and All Star logo become less distinct, giving the throwback kicks a more modern style. In all black, they make a good (more comfortable) alternative to boots and look best with casual outfits such as chinos, an old tee and a leather jacket.


Converse Chuck Taylor Sneakers, $54.99, available on Zappos

6. Nike Air Force 1

As sneakers continue to develop, one thing remains the same: Air Force 1s are true footwear icons and a wardrobe staple that, if you don’t have a pair already, should be your new go-tos. We like the all-black variant because you don’t see them as often, and, best of all, you don’t need to worry about scuffs like you do with the white AF1s.

Courtesy Nike

Nike Air Force 1 ’07 Men’s Sneakers, $90, available on Nike

Nike Air Force 1 ’07 Women’s Sneakers, $90, available on Nike

7. Puma Suede Classic

At the intersection of Eighties fashion and modern street style are the Puma classics, making them a smart purchase right now. The low-key sneakers feature a high-quality suede upper with the iconic leather Puma Formstrip. Rock the throwback kicks with crisp, modern basics, or with cuffed blue jeans and a denim jacket.


Puma Suede Classic Sneakers, $64.95, available on Zappos

8. Common Projects Achilles

Common Projects Achilles were some of the first sneakers that had us happily emptying our wallets. The premium kicks do clean minimalism better than just about any other sneaker, and they make one of the most convincing cases for wearing sneakers in the office. Although they’re very low-key, Common Projects’ signature gold serial numbers on the heel have become instantly recognizable by in-the-know fashion enthusiasts. As mentioned, these are best in slightly casual office settings when paired with, say, crisp chinos, a button-up and a blazer.

Mr Porter

Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers, $410, available on Mr Porter

9. Maison Margiela Replica

The original premium designer sneaker is the Maison Margiela Replica. The Replica sneakers originally launched back in 1999 as a refurbished, re-worked pair of actual German military trainers. A few years later, Margiela started producing the Replicas from scratch, creating one of the first high-fashion sneakers ever. Over two decades later they’re still a favorite shoe of the fashion world and beyond, boasting a minimal yet upscale look.

Courtesy Mr. Porter

Maison Margiela Replica Leather and Suede Sneakers, $495, available on Mr Porter

10. Adidas Yeezy Boost 350

Kanye West’s now-iconic Yeezy Boost 350s are still one of the most sought-after sneakers around, making them an excellent candidate for your next sneaker pick. This Cinder colorway features a tonal side stripe in the Primeknit upper, alongside the puffy sole and sock-like ankle that made the Yeezys famous.

Courtesy StockX

Adidas Yeezy Boost 350, prices vary, available on StockX

In This Article: Fashion, RS Recommends, sneakers


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