Collecting sneakers has transformed from a niche hobby to a worldwide phenomenon over the past two decades, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. If you’re already part of the culture, you know how hard it is to get your hands on the latest from high-profile collaborations, fashion fads, social media influence… etc. However, for people who are relatively new to the culture, it can be quite daunting when it comes to starting your own sneaker collection. Like, what is considered a classic? And what should you avoid?
If you’re one of the many people who have just started to take an interest in sneaker collection, and you’re wondering what essentials you need in your collection, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 8 sneakers to start your sneaker collection.
Nike Air Force 1
While some may say that they’re overrated, it’s still a timeless classic. One of the best selling shoes of all time, the hyped-up collaborations and limited-run collectibles have only made the Air Force 1 a staple in everyone’s wardrobe. Everyone should start their sneaker collection with the Nike Air Force 1 Low “Triple White” since it effortlessly goes with any outfit, and you can wear it all day long thanks to the classic chunky Air midsole unit underneath for comfort that lasts all day.
There’s a reason why A$AP Rocky, the Mob, Kendrick Lamar, and so many others are still rocking this classic, as it brings a sense of nostalgia ever since its release back in the 1980s. Besides, in a world where quickstrike releases are so common with most sneakers, the Air Force 1s are one of the most accessible kicks out there. No camping out necessary!
You’ve likely seen these floating around town, where people pair them with some jeans that have just the right amount of stack sitting above their dunks, or some shorts paired with some white knit socks. It’s undeniable that the streetwear landscape has been dominated by the Nike Dunk. These kicks were mainly inspired by their predecessors, the Air Force 1s and Air Jordan 1s, and were made for the court in 1985.
They’ve since become the go-to sneaker for any kind of fit, thanks to the countless colourways and co-branded editions since their initial release. While there’s still some ongoing hate against the ‘overplayed’ Panda Dunks (the black and white Dunk Low Retros that everyone seems to own), there’s no denying that they’re a good-looking sneaker.
Nike Air Jordan 1
Onto the shoe that started it all… the iconic Air Jordan 1. While there were many popular sneakers that came before the AJ1 in 1985, none of them changed the game quite like these. They were Michael Jordan’s first-ever signature basketball shoes, and naturally, everyone wanted to wear whatever he was wearing.
These kicks stood the test of time, still being wildly popular 35 years later. While part of its popularity is due to the legend surrounding it, it just looks great with everything. Jeans, chinos, cargos, shorts, joggers… they go great with anything! While the OG colorways do NOT come cheap, think of it as owning a piece of history. Tip: If you’re copping a pair, don’t go for the mids.
If you’re not a lover of the Swoosh, three stripes might just be your thing. Known as the shoe of 1980’s hip-hop, they’re a low-top classic that have stood the test of time. It’s widely recognized for its rubber shell toes that provide extra toe protection, the smooth leather, as well as the sidewall Three Stripe motif and the Trefoil insignias on the tongues and heels of the shoe.
While the sneaker is currently being overshadowed by the adidas Samba sneaker which has made a huge comeback in recent years, it’s still one of the OGs everyone needs to cop. With the simple colour blocking, along with its versatile silhouette, they pretty much go with anything in your wardrobe.
adidas Stan Smith
Before basketball created their own signature sneaker, adidas had operated in the tennis space by selling a shoe composed of white leather with perforated sidewall branding and a rubber outsole. The Stan Smiths we know today originated from 1971, when adidas brought in 27-year-old Stan Smith as the namesake, after Robert Haillet retired.
The appeal of Stan Smiths stem from their simple, yet memorable design. The coloured heel tab is distinctive and defining without being too obnoxious, not to mention the “affordable” price point (well, compared to some of the sneakers on this list), they’re simply hard to ignore. There’s a reason why they’re adidas’ most successful shoe of all-time!
Converse Chuck 70
One of the easiest ways to start your sneaker collection is to start from the all-time classic Converse. Since 1917, the canvas high-top sneaker has run from hoop to hoop on countless basketball courts and has become the staple shoe in everyone’s closet. To put it simply, there’s nothing that can replace the Chuck Taylor, and it’s one of the most copied, replicated and ripped off shoe out there.
You can either go for the standard low-top version in black and white, or you can go for the Chuck 70s with a slightly retro take on the OG silhouette. The fact that these bad boys had not only survived, but thrived for close to a century shows how much of a staple these sneakers are.
New Balance 990
In an era dominated by Nike and adidas, New Balance has somehow become one of the most hyped brands in the market right now (despite the fact that they never set out to be part of hype culture). Yes, the Boston-based footwear label known for its “dad shoes” has become prominent in the fashion world, and this is thanks to their iconic 99x range, starting from the New Balance 990 which was created in 1982.
Known for its retro look, premium pig skin suede and mesh panels, as well as the ENCAP and ABZORB midsole, this sneaker is adored by celebrities and sneakerheads alike. While it’s not as attention-grabbing as some of the sneakers listed here, they will go with anything in your wardrobe.
Reebok Club C
Initially debuting in 1985 under the name Reebok Club Champion, the tennis-centred silhouette made a triumphant comeback to the sneaker world to mark its 35th birthday as Reebok Club C. This is THE retro tennis sneaker that should be a staple in your lineup if you’re into more retro designs. Made with a soft leather top, cushioned interior, and old-school Reebok window box emblem, they’re comfortable and offer a lot of support for everyday wear.
While they might not be as sought-after as the ones we’ve mentioned previously, their ongoing partnership with Maison Margiela is proof that these sneakers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon