In my junior year of high school, I had about a year-long phase during which I was obsessed with sneakers. I learned everything there was to know about the Air Jordan series, I learned what made a sneaker good or bad, and I even applied for a job at Footlocker. Once my interests wore off I was left with nothing but an extensive knowledge of sneaker history, and I am finally able to put it to good use. Here are a few of the shoes that define our generation:
1. Nike Air Jordan 1
The original basketball shoe. This is the shoe that you would wear to school to make all of the other kids jealous. I personally associate the Nike Air Jordan 1 with the creation of the word "swag." As both the start of the Air Jordan series and the shoe that made hi-tops trendy, the Nike Air Jordan 1 is one of the most iconic shoes of our generation.
2. Nike Air Force 1
The first basketball shoe to feature Nike's air cushioning system, the Air Force 1 was loved by all when it was first released in 1982. It enjoyed huge success in the basketball industry for about three years before becoming a truly fashionable item as a result of later Air Force and Air Jordan marketing.
3. Checkered Vans Slip-On
If you're from Southern California and you tell someone else from Southern California that you don't own a pair of these, prepare to lose your friendship. The checkered Vans are the most iconic skate shoe on the market and became widely popular when they began to infiltrate pop culture.
4. Adidas Superstars
You know those memes with a photo of a ton of girls all dressed the same way and the quote "I'm not like other girls?" Well in almost all of the ones I've seen, they're all wearing Adidas Superstars. Once people saw celebrities wearing these shoes, everyone wanted a pair. From basketball courts to hip hop groups in the streets of New York, the late 1900s brought great success to the Adidas Superstars.
5. Nike Air Max 95
The Air Max 95 was the first time that Nike stepped out of its comfort zone design wise. With a rugged, curvy, completely outside-of-the-box appearance, this running shoe's success led to all of Nike's more recent pursuits of unique designs.
6. Nike Air Jordan III
Although the Air Jordan 1 will always be the OG shoe, the Jordan III is recognized as the most loved shoe in the Air Jordan series. The story of this shoe makes it what it is, as Michael Jordan was about to end his deal with Nike before being presented with this unique design for his 1988 season and agreeing to sign another contract. It is a symbol for taking risks and is respected by the entire sneakerhead community.
7. PUMA Suedes
The suedes were the origin of the first shoe to ever be endorsed by a basketball player. Released in 1968, the Suedes set a precedent for the quality and culture behind all shoes that followed it. Countless athletes have endorsed the PUMA Suedes, and they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
8. Comme De Garcons x Converse
Probably one of the most iconic shoe collaborations on the market, this is the shoe to get if you're looking for something boujee but not insanely expensive. As one of the most popular designer products, the Comme De Garcons x Converse have truly had mass appeal.