In a culture full of hype it’s easy to give in and only purchase the most coveted releases. Many forget about the essentials perfect for your day to day but here’s a friendly reminder
By: Christopher Claxton
Just as a disclaimer, when I say everyone, I mean everyone. When it comes to sneakerheads, average consumers, moms, and even hypebeasts, these sneakers are a necessity. I’m not saying go out and buy every last one of these sneaker models but if you’re on the hunt for some new kicks, consider this list. There’s no particular order and this is all my opinion, so if you don’t agree with the list or think some other sneaker should be up here, leave a comment in the comment section below.
Air Jordan 11
The Jordan 11 will always be one of the best Jordan models of all time and is a shoe sneakerheads wait all year for. It was originally released in 1995 when Jordan returned to the game of basketball with a shoe like no other. He wore this one sneaker for the entire ’95-’96 regular season which is odd for a well-known player, which then paved the path for the future Air Jordan 11 craze. The Air Jordan 11 is legendary and is one of the greatest sneakers MJ has ever played in. This model has been released in different colors every holiday season and sells out every time. It’s a shoe with a standout design that will always turn heads.
Nike Air Force 1
When asked about an iconic shoe, the Air Force 1 is first to come to mind. Designed by Bruce Kilgore and released in 1982, it took the world by storm. The AF1 is the sneaker of Harlem, Manhattan, a place I’m proud to come from. The white on white AF1 was so popular Harlem declared it the “Uptowns”, a shoe that perfectly represents them. Today you see the Air Force 1 on the feet of millions and the silhouette used as the base model for notable collaborations.
Converse All Star (Chuck 70)
When I tell people that the Chuck 70 was used as a basketball shoe they’re surprised. The shoe was originally released in 1917 and was known as the Converse All-Star. Now we call them the Chuck 70’s after Charles Hollis “Chuck” Taylor, an American Basketball player who later joined Converse and became the Converse All Star salesman in 1921. As technology evolved, the Chuck 70 was no longer a basketball shoe but a sneaker to complete any outfit. It is truly a sneaker that fits any occasion.
Adidas Originals Superstars
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Adidas Superstar and it’s 100% a classic. The chances of seeing this silhouette during your day to day are as high as your chances of looking at a screen. The Superstar was a basketball shoe released in 1969 and has been given credit as a shoe that helped raise the sneaker culture we know of today. It all started with Run D.M.C. in 1980 when they made the Superstar their signature sneaker, resulting in the shoe becoming a staple within the black community, especially in the South Bronx. The group wore them without laces and pushed the fat tongue out. They released a song titled “My Adidas” in 1986 which increased the sneaker’s popularity. Eventually, they grew the name “Shell Toes” in reference to the hard toe box. Since the 1980’s, the shell toes have fallen in and out of mainstream popularity but have always remained huge within black culture. Now Adidas continues to keep the shoe alive with collaborations with music artists and many different alterations.
Nike Air Jordan 1 High
Jordan 1 High’s and only the highs are a must-have. It’s the first installment of Jordan sneakers and the shoe that changed the sneaker game forever. The black and red colorway known as the “Breds” brings about the memory of a young player just getting his foot in the door of the NBA, becoming an all-star, and solidifying the sneaker’s importance. A shoe that was released in 1984 is recognizable to this day because it is able to connect generations through its nostalgia. If you don’t have a pair, you need to get one ASAP but remember, get the highs.
Nike Air Max 97
A sneaker inspired by mountain bikes became a shoe that everyone wanted. For those of you who don’t know, the shoe is called the Air Max 97 because it’s the signature air max released in 1997, and 23 years later, it’s still one of Nike’s best selling sneakers. It’s a retro runner that’ll look great with any athleisure outfit or with a simple pair of jeans.
Nike Dunk High
The Nike Dunk High is not a new sneaker; it’s been around since 1985 and was originally a basketball sneaker for college players. The hype didn’t begin to grow until 2002 when Nike SB was created and turned the Dunk into a skating sneaker. They were hot in the early 2000s, and as fashion repeats itself, they’re back as one of the most coveted models of the last few years.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2
The Yeezy 350 V2 is a fan favorite, so I had to put this model on the list. People have been going crazy for this shoe since 2015 when the first version released, back when every pair was extremely hard to get. Now the V2 is widely available, with releases almost every weekend of the month. The Yeezy brand is one of the most influential sneaker brands of our time, and it’s not going anywhere. If the V2 is too basic for you at the moment, I recommend you get a pair while you can and keep it stored till the hype dies.
Air Jordan 3 & Air Jordan 4
Either or, preferably both. I know, I know, two sneakers for one spot is cheating but hey, what can I say! It’s hard to choose. The Jordan 3 was released in 1988 and is now one of the most popular Air Jordan models ever created. It’s the first Air Jordans to feature the visible Nike Air sign. The Jordan 3 is a fashionable sneaker with minimal branding.
The love for the Air Jordan 4 was created on the court and the silver screen. Michael Jordan made history in his 1988/89 season with an unexpected buzzer-beater turning heads and creating hype around the sneaker. The Jordan 4 was also worn by characters in Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing before the public could get their hands on a pair. The Jordan 4 is a classic that will be a hit in all collections.
Nike Air Fear of God 1
The Nike Air Fear of God 1 is one of my favorite new sneaker models of the past two years, first released in 2018. Co-created with Jerry Lorenzo, brand owner and fashion designer for Fear of God, the sneaker combines luxury streetwear and basketball. Out of all the sneakers on this list I recommend this model the most. The quality is impeccable and the sneaker elevates the simplest of outfits. The sad part is the $350 price tag but if you ever get tired of them you can sell them on the aftermarket used and still break even.
Air Jordan 3 & Air Jordan 4 are the best!