Cover Here are the most important 2021 sneaker drops to watch out for in Hong Kong (Photo: Aanchal Wadhwani for Sneaker Surge)

From New Balance, Air Jordan and more collaborative pieces, we've rounded up the most important new sneaker drops in Hong Kong this year with insights from a sneaker expert

Some clamour for the latest Apple products, some for the latest designer bag––and some for the latest sneakers.

Getting your hands on the newest pair of sneakers is just as competitive as other latest products. But just like how we anticipate the latest iPhone or flaunt that designer bag with pride, wearing these coveted sneakers is the same for sneakerheads.

Tatler sought the help of Mira Uttamchandani, co-founder of Sneaker Surge to share her insights on the hottest new sneakers coming out in Hong Kong this year. Whether you're a certified sneakerhead or simply just on the lookout for the most important shoes coming out this year, these pieces deserve a place in your wardrobe. 

See also: How Sneaker Collecting Evolves From A Niche Hobby To An Investment

1 / 14

Trophy Room x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Chicago”

The Trophy Room x Air Jordan 1 Retro "Chicago" is going to be sentimental to a lot of Jordan fans. The Trophy Room is owned by Jordan's son, Marcus Jordan and is exclusively inside his mansion in Chicago. This pair will be paying tribute to the NBA legend's "Freeze Out" during the 1985 All-Star Game.

To begin with, this collection was limited to just 12,000 pairs. The scarcity of the shoe caused leaks and alleged early resells and backdooring - famous reseller Benjaminkickz posted a picture of himself with what looks like hundreds of pairs. 

Mira: "I am a sucker for any sneaker with a strong storyline and this pair speaks a thousand words. Rumour has it, a group of threatened basketball players attempted to 'freeze out' Michael Jordan from his first-ever All-Star game as a rookie.

Although Jordan declines to confirm or deny this rumour, it will forever be a part of his legacy that pushed him to become a better player. For me, I love that this one shoe illustrates such a pivotal point in Jordan's career through small details. It’s one of those 'If you know your shoes but if you don’t let me show you.'

Post-release, the shoe has caused a lot of hearsay and inspired multiple conspiracy theories of how the shoe actually reached its end users—garnering even more hype."

Release date: February 11

2 / 14

Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “University Blue”

The "University Blue" is borrowing the signature blue hue from Jordan's college years at the University of North Carolina for a fresh yet traditional look.

Mira: "This will most likely be the hottest shoe this spring. The university blue suede is refreshing and adds a pop of colour we could all use. The last time we saw a lighter blue on a Jordan 1 was in 2019 with the Obsidian’s and Blue Chills which is still high on everyone’s list.

We’ve already seen some influencers teasing the pair, and playing with the lace colours—I am loving the yellow that Sally Sneakers uses here. Having said that, CheckCheck app has recorded the most number of 'fakes' of this pair was found a few weeks ago so I would be careful where you shop them!

After the retail release of the Air Jordans 'University Blue', it was sold out immediately and was placed on live marketplaces such as StockX, causing the StockX website and app to crash. Nike saw this success as an opportunity to launch the Dunk Lows ‘University Blue’ using leather instead of suede this time which has also been a success."

Release date: March 7

3 / 14

Tom Sachs x NikeCraft Mars Yard 2.5

Tom Sachs x NikeCraft Mars Yard 2.5 collaboration aims to elucidate Nike's "better is temporary" philosophy as part of the initiative, Nikecraft with artist Tom Sachs.

Mira: "The collaboration between Nike and Tom Sachs has been one of my favourites and continues to be as Sachs pushes the envelope with every edition. The 2.5 model is improved by the NikeCraft community as they are given 'wear test kits' and asked to put the shoe through the wringer to test its durability with the goal of making more sustainable products.

The value-added feedback that Sachs encourages customers to give outlines his dedication to the cause, making you want to have the end product even more. Can you imagine a shoe that can withstand any and all environmental conditions? This is game-changing."

Release date: TBC

4 / 14

New Balance x Casablanca Monogram

The New Balance x Casablanca Monogram is the latest collaborative effort between the shoe brand and the Parisian label Casablanca. The previous models have been instant favourites so there's a significant level of hype for this upcoming drop too.

The founder of Casablanca, Charaf Tajer said he "wanted to add elegance to the silhouette, a level of maturity that will alter people’s perception of what a sports shoe can be." The success of this sneaker continues—by introducing the same 237 and 327 sneakers dressed in red and green hues and was launched in a campaign featuring Coco Gauff, a professional tennis player.

Mira: "New Balance, hands-down wins the biggest and best comeback for 2020 and I think Joe Grondin, senior manager of global collaborations deserves a huge shout-out for how he’s made the brand relevant again.

One of their best partnerships is with the Parisian label Casablanca, with whom they continue to innovate and create. Their newest Monogram sneaker collection is a blend of everyday essentials and elegance utilizing prints from its Fall/Winter 2020 collection."

Release date: February 27

5 / 14

LV 408 Sneaker Hightop

The Louis Vuitton x Virgil Abloh new drop is an LV trainer sneaker boot in an upgraded transparent technical material with its signature monogram pattern as well as Abloh's hand-written LV signature on the side. The number 408 in the name refers to Louis Vuitton's date of birth.

Each pair of LV 408 Trainer is made in Italy and takes around six hours for a shoe to be completed—as there are 106 pieces that make up the sneaker and have to be stitched. This collaboration proved to be a big hit for LV and has now been released in three different colourways that are suitable for the spring and summer collections. These include two suede calf leather sneakers with ‘508’ written on them, and an iridescent shade using the same material as the 408 sneaker boot.

Mira: "Although it seems Virgil Abloh doesn’t have anything up his sleeves for Off-White footwear collaborations at the moment (I could be wrong here, he is usually always working on something) he has given us a luxurious suitcase-inspired drop.

Do you remember the iridescent Louis Vuitton Keepall from Spring Summer 2019? Well, now you can wear them. I like the amount of transparency the shoe has because it literally matches anything and everything and the subtle rainbow of colours is just enough. I also love that on the second and third colourways of this pair, Virgil adds his signature 'tag', except this time it's a 'Louis Vuitton' luggage tag."

Release date: TBC

See also: Louis Vuitton Collaborates With Nike On Air Force 1 Sneakers

6 / 14

Sacai x Vaporwaffle “Dark Iris”

Another collaborative venture between Chitose Abe's Sacai and Nike is the third release of its Vaporwaffle colourway, this one called "Dark Iris." It features a mix of purple and burnt orange which has been teased since last year.

The shoe combines elements from the classic Pegasus 83 and Vaporfly to embrace and integrate the past and future of running. After the success of its release in April 2021, Sacai x Vaporwaffle is releasing  “White/Sail” this summer. 

Mira: "I have a soft spot for the burnt orange and navy on this pair because it’s the same tones that we use in our new branding. It is reminiscent of basketball and basketball courts which adds a very nostalgic aesthetic to the shoe.

The purple nylon fabrication is replacing the mesh that was used on previous Vaporwaffles which in a way makes it easier to wear since you don’t have to make sure you’re wearing cool socks too because no one can see them."

Release date: April 30

See also: Nike x Sacai Vaporwaffle Set To Drop This November In Two Colourways

7 / 14

Nike Flyease Go

This hands-free shoe from Nike takes away the trouble of laces, zippers and straps completely. It's made with a patent-pending bi-stable hinge and midsole tensioner band that raises the insoles to an upright angle, making it hassle-free to slip on.

As exclusivity and hype play a factor in all of Nike’s limited releases, customers soon became frustrated with the hefty markup. Tiktok user, Louie shared dissatisfaction with Nike and resellers as it restricts people with disabilities, like himself, to gain access to them and that the lack of accessibility was "very much performative activism."

Mira: "Nike is always one for breaking boundaries and Tobie Hatfield definitely hit a home-run with these lace-less handsfree sneakers. This shoe embodies the idea of inclusivity and innovation.

The Nike Flyease Go is for everyone, whether it is someone who suffers from a clinical illness affecting their hand and motor skills or someone who simply wants to make their life easier at airport security. Over the past 12 months, Nike's shares are up 36 per cent and I think this proves that people are excited about a pair of sneakers that makes your life much easier.

However, after its release, Nike has received a lot of backlash from customers who need these shoes as they were forced to go to live marketplaces and purchase this pair at a huge markup. I do think this shoe needs to be re-released in larger quantities so it can achieve what it set out to do—include everyone."

Release date: February 15

See also: Nike Unveils First Fully Hands-Free Shoe

8 / 14

Air Jordan High Neutral Grey

Air Jordan High Neutral Grey is just limited to 23,000 pairs and hype is high because the sneaker is a return to the original form in a neutral grey colourway that's been unseen since 1985.

The minimalist shoe makes a return in the form of Air Jordan 1 Low where the Jordan team adjusts the silhouette to emphasise features in the original 1985 "Neutral Grey."

Mira: "This pair from the archives will definitely be in my closet on February 11. When lifestyle meets basketball, you get the Air Jordan 1 Hi 85 'Neutral Grey'. This pair was first seen on Michael Jordan himself in 1985 and was used as inspiration for the Air Jordan 1 Retro High Dior which well, we all wish we had. We haven’t seen a muted Air Jordan for a while so this vintage-inspired pair is a nice edition.

The success of this pair led the Jordan brand to release this in a low silhouette for both men and women which you can find on Sneaker Surge. It's extremely wearable and is definitely part of my summer rotation this year."

Release date: February 11

9 / 14

Nike Air Force 1 “Reveal”

Nike's new Air Force drop, dubbed "Reveal" is a little reminiscent of a DYI piece. The new colourway features a thin white shell that looks like it's meant to be torn away to "reveal" the vibrant colour underneath.

With this drop, Nike encourages customers to have fun when revealing the sneaker’s design through tips on its packaging, stating: "Let it wear over time. Try a wet sponge. Use your fingernails."

Mira: "The first few colourways of the shoe did really well. The idea that something needs to be worn to reveal a beautiful colourway is exciting, not to mention all the TikTok users have made with this pair. This is the third colourway being released and it has a very coffee-inspired colour palette with the vanilla toebox, caramel midsection and a mocha heel.

It also seems like the Travis Scott brown and pink complementary palette (he used in his Air Jordan 1) resonates with a lot of designers as we see it used here again with a pink swoosh along with the brown hues, as well as the heel which has a darker chocolate colour and pink Nike branding."

Release date: May 15

10 / 14

Nike x Sacai Blazer Low

Another drop from the Nike x Sacai collaboration is the Blazer Low which will be delivered in two colourways, medium grey/classic green/white and white/magma orange/white. It's also set to feature double-layered details similar to previous versions including the swooshes, shoelaces, soles and much more.

Mira: "Chitose Abe’s Nike x Sacai collection deserves a spot in our top lineup for 2021. If you’re someone who finds it hard to pull off high-tops and chunky Vaporwaffles (me at 5’3) but still loves the double detailing that’s been a trademark for the Sacai x Nike collaborations, this shoe was made for you (and me). The shoe is being released in 3 colourways so far, an orange a green and a black and white (this one is my favourites)."

Release date: June 10

See also: Sacai x Tomo Koizumi Team Up For A Dramatic Summer Collection

11 / 14

Nike x Ambush Dunk “Royal Blue”

The Nike and Ambush collection is also following up their partnership with the release of the Royal Blue dunk high. The new drop will be a reimagined take on the Dunk with its new colour and expected Ambush's marked tongue tags, printed insoles and 3D heel counters.

The idea behind this design is from Yoon Ahn, founder of Ambush, who was inspired by Japanese bike, car and truck culture. The swooshes extend beyond the heel because she wanted it to mimic the bike pipe as she states, “How can I make the shoes almost look like this moving thing?” In January, Yoon Ambush showed the design of a “Chicago” inspired colour. However, her caption read “NFS” short for “not for sale” suggesting that these sneakers will be unlikely to be released to the public. 

Mira: "Yoon Ahn, creative director for Ambush teased a Chicago (Bulls-inspired) colourway of her recent Ambush x Nike Dunk High. When I say to tease, I mean literally they are not being produced for the public.

Having said that, a Royal Blue colourway was dropped and we have them for you. I love the elongated swoosh on this shoe, it feels exaggerated to the exact right amount to make it sexy. Other exciting news is she is releasing the same pair in a “flash lime” colourway for the summer season which we will be stocking too!"

Release date: May 18

See also: Ambush x Nike x NBA Collaboration Drops—Dedicated To Female Basketball Fans

12 / 14

Supreme Dunk Collection

This collection takes the classic Nike SB Dunk Low silhouette featuring a faux crocodile skin overlay and dresses it in black, mean green, hyper blue, and barkroot brown colourways with metallic gold coloured stars placed throughout the midfoot.

The supreme branding can be seen in the red printed insoles, “Supreme” lace dubraes, and hang tags. Instead of coming in a purple box like it did with the 2003 Nike x Supreme collection, it will be placed in a silver box. The stars on the designs is a Nike x Supreme trademark as it was first introduced in their 2003 collaboration.

With the immediate success of the 2003 collection, Supreme x Nike decided to bring it back to pay homage to the original SB highs. Due to the price point and limited availability, it made people believe that if you owned a pair of those sneakers, you had high status or had to trade in every sneaker you had to own a pair.

Initially, the star pattern was meant to be a Nike logo pattern but was discarded after legal issues. Prior to the release of this collection, @soleheatonfeet leaked information about this release on Twitter regarding its materials and colours. 

Mira: "This list wouldn’t be complete without a Nike Dunk for 2021. I love that the pair is released in four colours giving customers options of either a minimal aesthetic in black and white, a daring option in red, a summer look in green and then a safer option in royal blue. We’ve seen big celebrities wearing the newer pair including Kylie Jenner as well as some of DJ Khaled’s friends rocking the older version.

I like the combination of all-over-print of metallic stars with the faux crocodile skin (which is an extremely rare fabrication in sneaker design and production). Some noteworthy design details include the 'World Famous'  text imprinted on the shoelace end as well as the Supreme branded tag."

Release date: March 6

13 / 14

Off White "The 50"

Dubbed the "Dear Summer" collection, Off White and Nike are collaborating to release 50 Nike Dunk Lows in August. Each Nike Dunk Low will be dressed in a neutral grey colour scheme with differences in the laces, insoles, zip tie, swoosh underlay colours and number plate reading "XX of 50."

The 50th pair will be a special black and silver pair. In May, Virgil Abloh—the CEO of Off-White—teased this collection on his Instagram with a box with hand-drawn Nike Swoosh, neon green Off-White branding and circular cutouts throughout the box.

The shoes will be arriving in lots of 10 and will be released on August 9 while the Dunks will be made available through exclusive access invitations to members of the SNKRS community.

Mira: "I love the consistency in this collection—the overall differences will only be in the intricate details of the design which will appear in accented colours, except for the first and last lot, 1/50 and 50/50.

Virgil Abloh is a designer that's consistently sharing his design process with us, encouraging his customers to understand the meaning and construction behind what he likes to call "art." He has revealed each pair's Pantone combinations in images circulated by Nike and has used billboards around the US to tease this collection—its smart marketing is very much in line with his MO."

Release date: August 9

14 / 14

Jordan 1 Fragment Design x Travis Scott (Low & High)

The classic Air Jordan 1 High silhouette takes cues from both Travis Scott and Fragment Design’s previous projects, resulting in a blue and black colour scheme while still maintaining classic attributes. Trademarks of both of the creators can be seen within the shoes such as the reverse leather swoosh, Fragment’s lightning bolt logo, Cactus Jack’s smiley face and the name.

Prior to this release, Scott teased fans at the beginning of the year of a possible new collaboration by wearing an unseen Air Jordan 1 Low model in public. 

Mira: "When design details start all the way from the exterior box, and the pair is double boxed—you know it is going to be a great collaboration. It’s clear that the team has paid attention to every single detail and invested time and money into the pair. Check out our Instagram to see the design details broken down."

Release date: August 14

This article was originally published on February 22, 2021 and was updated on July 29, 2021.