THE BEST SNEAKERS OF ALL TIME, AS PICKED BY SNEAKERHEADS

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They are the best sneakers of all time. Some people wear trainers, as the name suggests. Then there are sneakerheads, who are crazy collectors, writers, buyers, and sellers who are driving an industry that will be worth $220bn by 2020, which is more than the GDP of New Zealand, Portugal, or Qatar put together.

This modern subculture has shops, blogs, books, art shows, and pawn shops. If you ask someone in this community how many pairs they own, they will often say thousands.

There must be an overwhelming number of options for these sneakerheads to pick from among the many limited editions, collaborations, and new releases they wait in line for all night.

We recruited some of the industry’s most renowned figures to do that precisely. According to experts, these are the pinnacle of sneaker design.

NIKE AIR MAX 1 FROM 1987

IN THE KNOW: SEAN WILLIAMS

NIKE AIR MAX 1 FROM 1987

laced_hamilton/instagram

Sean “Paperchasr” Williams, the co-founder of the hit podcast Obsessive Sneaker Disorder, says, “My favourite sneaker of all time is and always will be the original red, grey, and white Nike Air Max 1.”

When it came out in 1987, it was the first sneaker made with the midsole in mind, which is now how all big sportswear companies work. Even after all this time has passed, the Air unit remains a highly imitated design element. Its influence has spread to dress shoes as well. To my knowledge, no other footwear has had such a profound impact on the sport.

ADIDAS STAN SMITH, 1965

MATT WELTY IS THE JOURNALIST

ADIDAS STAN SMITH, 1965

adidasoriginalsukraine/instagram

Asst. editor of the Complex sneakers channel Matt Welty says, “The Stan Smith was never supposed to be the Stan Smith.” “French tennis star Robert Haillet was given the sneaker when Adidas made it for the first time in 1965.” Stan’s now-signature picture wouldn’t be on the tongue of the shoe for another eight years.

“Who the Stan Smith shoe is named after isn’t what makes it the best shoe ever, though Stan would go on to win both Wimbledon and the US Open in tennis.” Instead, it’s because the design is so simple—the white leather top. There’s no way to top it with the Three Stripes and the verdant heel accent. Similar to Stan Smith, it has become Adidas’ most popular shoe of all time.

THE 3RD AIR JORDAN 1988

WHO SOLD IT: TYLER BLAKE

THE 3RD AIR JORDAN 1988

sneakerpolitics/instagram

It’s hard to say which shoe is the best of all time, but the Air Jordan 3 is near the top of Tyler Blake’s list. Blake has worked with brands like Saucony to make shoes.

“The model saved the brand in the late 1980s and helped make Michael Jordan famous in the shoe world.” The elephant print, the tongue branding, and the flight writing are all still things people think of when they think of Jordan. This shoe was also the first to have the now-iconic “Jumpman” logo, which replaced the Wings design on the Jordan 1 and 2. Because of this, and the Jordan 3 is the best off-court lifestyle shoe in terms of technical skills, it deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

REEBOK CLASSIC LEATHER x MITA SNEAKERS, 2013

THE BLOG WRITER IS PATRICK DEMPSEY

REEBOK CLASSIC LEATHER x MITA SNEAKERS, 2013

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It’s clean, ancient, and not out of date. “This is the shape I would start drawing if you asked me to draw a sneaker,” says Patrick Dempsey, who writes as SneakerGrandpa.

“I got interested in collecting shoes when I saw the Reebok Classic.” It doesn’t matter if the shoes are leather, suede, mesh, or nylon. I’m good to go with a gum bottom. Thirtyth Anniversary Pack 2013 is the greatest release ever. The late sneaker journalist Gary Warnett, the Michigan-based store Burn Rubber, and the Tokyo sneaker shop Mita were all involved in such partnerships.

THE FIRST ADIDAS SL80, 1980

THE STORE’S OWNER IS BRENDAN WYATT

THE FIRST ADIDAS SL80, 1980

urbanindustrystore/instagram

Brendan Wyatt, the owner of Transalpine, says, “My tastes change all the time, but if I had to pick a favourite from the ones I’ve owned, it would be the Adidas SL80 in a navy/gold colourway.”

“The athletic shoe, which came out at the same time as the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, takes ideas from its predecessor, the SL72, and runs with them.” When I reopened Transalpine in May 2015,I should not have sold mine. However, I only recently discovered an original pair in Asia. So long as I can’t get my hands on a pair of the extremely rare SL82s, it will be difficult to top the SL80.

BRAND NEW M1300JP, 2010

ROBERT STEWART IS THE RESTORER

BRAND NEW M1300JP, 2010

akamedaka17/instagram

Robert Stewart, founder of the brand and service Sneakers ER, says, “As with most things New Balance does well, simplicity is the key to this all-time classic silhouette.”

In 1985, the JP was hailed as the first running shoe to cost over $100. For many brand fans, it is still the holy grail. Since they come out every five years, there will be a mad rush in 2020 to get one of the limited pairs (or two or three).

THE NIKE AIR JORDAN 4 ”BRED” FROM 1989

KISH KASH IS THE COLLECTOR

THE NIKE AIR JORDAN 4 ''BRED'' FROM 1989

swoosh_head23/instagram

Even if you don’t like the Air Jordans, every sneakerhead can agree that they revolutionised the sportswear industry. This is according to Kish Kash, who has spent over £250,000 amassing a collection of over 2,000 trainers.

“Not only did the best basketball player of all time endorse the shoes, but legendary hype man Spike Lee also ran a campaign for them. As a Nike designer, Tinker Hatfield completely changed how athletic shoes could look.” People would bend over to look at them when I wore them because I was the first person in the UK to own a pair. I even met one of my best friends through the model, which shows that the right style can be more than just cool shoes—it can even help people become friends for life.

THE 1936 CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR HI-TOP

MAJ VELOSO IS THE INSTAGRAMMER

THE 1936 CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR HI-TOP

fogsneakers/Instagram

Maj Veloso has owned many shoes, but the Converse Chuck Taylor high-top is his favourite. His sneaker Instagram account has more than 25,000 fans.

I started collecting sneakers about five years ago because of their traditional look. At one point, I owned around 120 pairs of shoes, including many Chucks. Whether you wear jeans or shorts, these black sneakers complement any outfit.

ACHILLES LOW CORNER PROJECT, 2004

WHO BOUGHT IT: LUKE MOUNTAIN

ACHILLES LOW CORNER PROJECT, 2004

gents_tools/instagram

Luke Mountain, buying manager at Selfridges, says, “Stripped-back silhouettes have been a huge trend in the sneaker market for several seasons now but with modern twists like stamp detailing, colour variation, and designer collaborations.”

The 2004 release of Achilles Low by Common Projects encapsulated this casual new style and set the stage for plain sneakers to be a staple of any man’s wardrobe, including suits. You can understand why they’re regarded as future classics: they’re well-made and have a simple style that makes them comfortable.

THE 2017 NIKE AIR MAX 1 JEWEL

SIMON BLENKINSOP IS THE STORE MANAGER

THE 2017 NIKE AIR MAX 1 JEWEL

flightclub/instagram

“At Soleheaven, we’re big on three things: a minimalist approach, subtle branding, and classy materialisation,” says Simon Blenkinsop, manager of the shoe store in Newcastle.

“The Air Max 1 “Jewel,” which we think is Nike’s crown jewel, does all three of these things better than any other shoe.” The Jewel had everything needed for a modern drop when it returned to compete with several OG versions this year. The branding has pops of colour that stand out against the primarily black-and-white colour scheme. The faint Jewel swoosh shows how addition and subtraction work. One of this year’s drops, “Carolina Blues,” was my best. I can’t wait to see the next one.

Muhammad Shoaib
Muhammad Shoaibhttps://fashionnovaaza.com/
Muhammad Shoaib is a seasoned fashion expert with a particular interest in streetwear, accessories, and luxury leather goods. He splits his time between NYC, Paris, and Pakistan, constantly on the hunt for today’s latest trends

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