For its 35th anniversary, the FN Achievement Awards make a welcome return to an in-person, star-studded extravaganza in New York after going virtual in 2020. The event — often dubbed the “Shoe Oscars” — is the footwear industry’s biggest night and will once again honor the people and companies who triumphed in the face of intense challenges.
What did it take to succeed in 2021? Vision, commitment, passion and — at times — a sense of humor. And the 2021 FNAA winners have all those characteristics in spades.
“We found this year’s list of winners particularly inspiring. In a year when so much changed as a result of the pandemic, each winner rose to the occasion, creating new opportunities, defining new fashion to be excited about and bringing a solid burst of momentum to the footwear universe,” said Michael Atmore, editorial director of FN and chief brand officer of Fairchild Media Group.
Below is a complete list of the 2021 FN Achievement Award winners:
Person of the Year: Ronnie Fieg
As his company celebrated its 10th anniversary, the Kith leader debuted flagships in Paris and Hawaii, and took on a new role with Clarks to bring a modern perspective to a footwear icon.
Shoe of the Year: Crocs Classic Clog
The Crocs Classic Clog phenomenon has been building for a few years and culminated to a full market takeover in 2021, appearing on the feet of customers of all types, in all corners of the globe.
The Icon Award: The Hiltons
Paris and Nicky Hilton have long been style icons of the pop culture lexicon, in large part due to the enduring style influence of family matriarch Kathy Hilton. Now thanks to Kathy’s breakout appearances on “The Real Housewives,” the world is recognizing the generational power of this trio.
Company of the Year: Authentic Brands Group
ABG has already amassed an impressive brand roster, but the biggest win came this year, when CEO Jamie Salter and partner Shaquille O’Neal achieved their dream of buying Reebok.
Style Influencer of the Year: Law Roach
Mega-stylist Law Roach was the genius behind some of the most memorable red-carpet looks of 2021, with an enviable client roster of “it” stars including Zendaya, Anya Taylor-Joy and Priyanka Chopra.
Designer of the Year: Jerry Lorenzo
The founder of Fear of God has long been a defining voice in the L.A. streetwear scene, but through his latest partnerships with Zegna and Adidas, he’s putting his mark on new markets.
Retailer of the Year: Dick’s Sporting Goods
While other companies tread cautiously in 2021, Dick’s Sporting Goods unleashed multiple new banners to expand its physical footprint, attract more fans and inspire consumers.
Brand of the Year: Hoka One One
Hoka One One has been a rising star for Deckers Brands, who predicts the maximalist sneaker label could become a billion-dollar brand. With its crew of celebrity fans, that feat is looking increasingly likely.
Brand of the Year: On
2021 was a banner year for On in multiple ways. The Swiss footwear brand backed by tennis champion Roger Federer not only saw its shoes fly off shelves, but it also went public in August.
Launch of the Year: Saysh by Allyson Felix
Decorated track-and-field star Allyson Felix found a new footwear home this year: one she created. The Olympic gold medalist sprinter launched Saysh in June — a “by women, for women” shoe brand.
Launch of the Year: Larroudé
Former Barneys fashion director Marina Larroudé is utilizing her extensive industry knowledge to build her own eponymous DTC lifestyle brand.
Collaboration of the Year: A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 3
James Whitner’s A Ma Maniére retail chain reimagined a classic Air Jordan silhouette in a deeply personal way, celebrating the strength and courage of Black women — particularly Whitner’s mother.
Social Impact Award: Phillip Lim
Designer Phillip Lim has been one of the leading voices in the fashion community speaking out against hate crimes and violence against Asians, and has drawn much needed attention and funds to the cause.
Hall of Fame: Blake Krueger
Blake Krueger, who this year handed his CEO title to Brendan Hoffman, has been the driving force at Wolverine Worldwide since 1993 — as well as a defining figure in the shoe industry.
Emerging Talent Award: Titi Adesa
The Nigeria-born, London-based designer is finding a following for her elegant luxury heels, with supporters like Level Shoes and celebrities Emily Blunt, Jennifer Hudson and Andra Day.
Sustainability Leadership Award: Adidas
The athletic giant has set a goal for its entire supply chain to be carbon neutral by 2050. But through a series of more-immediate projects, it’s also working to “End Plastic Waste” in our communities and envision a circular future for sportswear.
The 2021 FNAAs will be held Nov. 30 at Cipriani South Street in New York. The event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Authentic Brands Group, FDRA, Informa, On and Wolverine Worldwide.