There are teacher wearers: individuals who, neatly, put on running shoes. And then there are sneakerheads: frenzied creditors, bloggers, consumers and resellers chargeable for an trade that, by means of 2020, is expected to be value $220bn; greater than the GDP of New Zealand, Portugal or Qatar.
And in the event you ask any individual on this modern day subculture – which has its personal boutiques, blogs, books, exhibitions or even pawn stores – what number of pairs they personal, the solution will often succeed in into the hundreds.
So without a doubt whittling down the unending new releases, restricted editions and collaborations those sneaker obsessives hustle, camp and queue across the block in a single day to get their fingers on could be an unattainable activity?
That’s precisely what we were given one of the largest names within the sport to do. Here are the best footwear of all time, in line with the individuals who in point of fact know what they’re speaking about.
Nike Air Max 1, 1987
The Expert: Sean Williams
“My favourite sneaker of all time is, and always will be the original red, grey and white Nike Air Max 1,” says Sean ‘Paperchasr’ Williams, who co-founded the wildly fashionable podcast Obsessive Sneaker Disorder.
“Launched in 1987, it was the first sneaker created by focusing on the midsole, an approach now used by every major sportswear company in the world. Thirty years on, the Air unit is still one of most copied design features and has even made its way into dress shoes. In my opinion, no other sneaker has changed the game quite like it.”
Adidas Stan Smith, 1965
The Journalist: Matt Welty
“The Stan Smith was never supposed to be the Stan Smith,” says Matt Welty, affiliate editor of the Complex footwear channel. “When Adidas first manufactured the sneaker in 1965, it used to be given to French tennis superstar Robert Haillet. It could be every other 8 years till Stan’s now-signature picture would grace the tongue of the shoe.
“What makes the Stan Smith the best sneaker ever isn’t who it’s named after, even though Stan himself would move directly to win each Wimbledon and the USA Open all over his tennis occupation. But slightly that it’s a design so easy – with its white leather-based higher, perforated Three Stripes, and inexperienced splash at the heel – that it might’t be bettered. It’s turn out to be Adidas’ best-selling shoe ever and prefer Stan Smith the person, the shoe assists in keeping on conserving on.”
Air Jordan three, 1988
The Reseller: Tyler Blake
“It’s difficult to nail down the best of all time, but I would say near the top of my list is the Air Jordan 3,” says Tyler Blake, who has produced collaborations with the likes of Saucony.
“The model was the brand’s saving grace in the late eighties, and helped cement Michael Jordan’s legacy within footwear. Everything from the elephant print to the tongue branding and flight script are all still synonymous with Jordan today. The now iconic ‘Jumpman’ logo also first appeared on this shoe, replacing the Wings logo on the Jordan 1 and 2. This, combined with the technical abilities of what I feel is the best off-court lifestyle sneaker, is why the Jordan 3 deserves a spot in the hall of fame.”
Mita Sneakers x Reebok Classic Leather, 2013
The Blogger: Patrick Dempsey
“Clean. Classic. Timeless. Ask me to draw a sneaker and this is the silhouette I would start sketching,” says Patrick Dempsey, who blogs underneath the alias SneakerGrandpa.
“The Reebok Classic is the model that sparked the collecting bug for me. Leather, suede, mesh, nubuck – it doesn’t really matter. Add in a gum sole and I’m set. There have been so many great releases over the years, but the 30th Anniversary pack, which contained collaborations like this one by Tokyo sneaker store Mita, as well as Michigan-based boutique Burn Rubber and the late sneaker journalist Gary Warnett, from 2013 tops my list.”
Adidas Originals SL80, 1980
The Store Owner: Brendan Wyatt
“My tastes change all the time, but if I had to pick a favourite out of the ones I have owned I would go with the Adidas SL80 in a navy/gold colourway,” says Brendan Wyatt, proprietor of deadstock specialist Transalpino.
“Released to coincide with the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the athletic shoe takes elements from its predecessor, the SL72, and runs with them. I made the mistake of selling mine when I reopened Transalpino back in May 2015, but I recently found an OG pair at a secret location in Asia. It would be hard to upstage the SL80, unless of course I found a pair of the extremely rare SL82s.”
New Balance M1300JP, 2010
The Restorer: Robert Stewart
“As with most things New Balance does well, simplicity is the key to this all-time classic silhouette,” says Robert Stewart, founder sneaker cleansing carrier and emblem Sneakers ER.
“Introduced in 1985 and hailed as the first running shoe to cost over $100, the JP still holds firm as the holy grail for many collectors of the brand. Re-released every five years, expect a scramble come 2020 as we all try and catch a limited pair (or two, or three).”
Nike Air Jordan four ‘Bred’, 1989
The Collector: Kish Kash
“Whether they actually like them or not, every sneakerhead knows that few styles revolutionised the sportswear industry like the Air Jordans,” says Kish Kash, who has forked out greater than £250,000 on his number of over 2,000 running shoes.
“Aside from having an endorsement from the greatest basketball player of all time and a campaign by legendary hypeman Spike Lee, Nike designer Tinker Hatfield completely transformed the blueprint of how athletic kicks could look. I was the first person in the UK to own a pair and when I wore them, people would literally be twisting their necks to get a look. I even met one of my best mates by bonding over the model, proving that the right style can transcend being mere cool footwear, and can even cement the bond between lasting friendships.”
Converse Chuck Taylor Hi-Top, 1936
The Instagrammer: Maj Veloso
“Out of all the kicks I’ve owned over the years, my greatest of all time has to be the Converse Chuck Taylor high-top,” says Maj Veloso, whose sneaker Instagram account has greater than 25okay fans.
“The timeless style is what first got me into sneaker collecting around 10 years ago and at one point I owned over 120 pairs, a good handful of which were Chucks. Bought in a classic black colourway, they can be matched up with anything from a pair of jeans to shorts.”
Common Project Achilles Low, 2004
The Buyer: Luke Mountain
“Stripped-back silhouettes have been a ubiquitous trend across the sneaker market for a number of seasons now; albeit with contemporary twists such as stamp detailing, colour variation and designer collaborations,” says Selfridges purchasing supervisor Luke Mountain.
“Launched in 2004, Common Projects’ Achilles Low epitomises this new laid-back style and paved the way for simple sneakers as we know them to infiltrate every aspect of the male wardrobe, even tailoring. With their quality construction and wearable, minimalistic design, it’s easy to see why they are recognised as future classics.”
Nike Air Max 1 Jewel, 2017
The Store Manager: Simon Blenkinsop
“At Soleheaven, we’re big on three things: a minimalist approach, subtle branding and classy materialisation,” says Simon Blenkinsop, supervisor of the Newcastle-based sneaker boutique.
“For us, the shoe that exemplifies all three more than any is Nike’s Crown Jewel of sorts, the Air Max 1 ‘Jewel’. After returning this year to duke it out with multiple OG releases, the Jewel displayed everything needed for a modern-day drop. Accents of colour on the branding pop against the monochrome palette, with the subtle Jewel swoosh showing addition by subtraction. After a series of drops this year (my favourite being the ‘Carolina Blues’), I can’t wait to see the next.”