Popular Sneakers of the 80s

Sneakers from the Eighties

Here's a list of the most popular sneaker styles that came out in the eighties.

Transcending foot coverage since 1982, this once hoops shoe was named after Air Force One, the aircraft that carries the U.S. President. It was the first basketball shoe to house Nike Air, revolutionizing the game for players like Moses Malone and Charles Barkley while rapidly gaining traction around the world, from the hardwood to the blacktop to the core of hip-hop culture. Today the Nike Air Force 1 stays true to its roots with a soft, springy cushioning and a massive midsole -- but the Nike Air technology takes a backseat to the shoe's status as an icon. When in doubt, Squeaky WHITE is the right color.

02
of 15

Air Jordan 1

Since his game-winning shot that brought the National Championship to North Carolina, Michael Jordan has been at the forefront of basketball consciousness. He took the court in 1985 wearing the original Air Jordan I, setting a new standard for performance and style, simultaneously breaking league rules and his opponents' will while capturing the imagination of fans worldwide. Since then, the AJ1 has become legend.

03
of 15

Air Jordan 4

Soon after the huge success of the Air Jordan 3, Tinker Hatfield did all the things that he could to make the Air Jordan 4 even better in 1989. He essentially planned on concentrating more on the performance side of the sneakers’ design rather than utilizing the same ones used on the AJ1, AJ2 and AJ3. Air Jordan IV was yet another work of a genius from the Jordan lineup using the straps on the side for increased ankle support and an over-molded mesh as additional features. Also, one of probably the most fascinating attributes of the Jordan 4 is its capacity to be laced in 18 various styles.

04
of 15

Nike Air Max 1

Coming in an array of different colors and styles, the Air Max has evolved plenty since its original launch in 1987. There are styles that look very futuristic and there are some that look very sporty or casual sharp. Whichever you prefer, they make great add-ons to your wardrobe for the club, streets or gym. The Nike Air Max sneaker capitalizes on a large air cushioning unit at the heel which is visible from the side of the midsole in most models. Yet, the Air Max 1 model keeps its athletic technology at a low profile and boosts style in sharp simplicity. Air Maxes make great everyday sneakers for they will keep you grounded and give you an added boost in each bounce.

05
of 15

The Air Max 90

The Air Max 90 started out as a running shoe when it first released in 1987, but has transformed over time into a retro sneaker with lots of street appeal – and a look that shoe collectors love. Even as the design and color combinations change, one thing remains the same: the Nike Air Max 90 styles stay true to their roots as a top sneaker of the past and the future.

Roll with style. Released in 1987, Reebok's classic nylon sneaker is retro cool and vintage slick. Featuring a suede/mesh upper with foam sockliner and rubber outsole, these kicks are infamous on the streets, and are commonly worn with dark blue baggy denim and fresh white or gray t-shirts. Popular colors are white, black, grays, and navy blues. You can check out more awesome colorways and selections right here.

07
of 15

Air Jordan III

With buzz surrounding Michael Jordan and his signature kicks, Nike looked to corporate architect-turned-footwear-designer Tinker Hatfield to head up the creation of the Air Jordan III. Possibly the most distinct aspect of the Air Jordan III was the upgrade in materials. The upper was constructed of rich full-grain tumbled leather and was built to feel broken in — so Jordan could wear a brand new pair every game without worrying about stiffness in the shoes. Hatfield also chose to combine the tumbled leather with faux elephant skin. The AJ III is one of the most popular, in-demand Air Jordans in the series and continues to sell out every re-release.

08
of 15

Air Max 87

The Nike Air Max was first released in 1987 in a nylon/synthetic suede combo with a transparent window for the Max Air-sole unit. Despite incredulity that led customers to poke and squeeze the Air-sole, the Air Max quickly proved to be a hit. A leather edition soon followed in 1988 and from 1988-1992, Nike used a variety of colorwaysand fabric combinations to keep a contemporary look. In 1992, however, the Air Max was reissued with two major design changes. These reissued models were manufactured in leather and used the midsole and outsole design from the Air Max 90 (then known as the Air Max 3. Nike did reissue the nylon Air Max 1995, but continued to experiment with the design, eventually reducing the size of the Nike Swoosh. To date, the Air Max continues to evolve as Nike tries to keep this classic running shoe contemporary.

09
of 15

Nike Vandal

The Nike Vandal was produced from only 1984 to 1987 for basketball as their sole purpose. And instead of using leather, Nike constructed the shoe with thick canvas or nylon. Nike Vandals that featured the nylon were named Nike Vandal Supreme and were sold with different colored sets of laces and a velcro ankle support strap that came in a three way color scheme. Nike Vandals were one of the first fashionable basketball sneakers by Nike. The Nike Vandal and Nike Vandal Supreme resurfaced in 2003 when as assortment of specials editions were launched: the Jim Morrison, the Haight Street and the Geoff McFetridge. In 2004, camouflage and Premium editions were released.

Originally introduced in 1984, Saucony's Jazz model is what I call the ultimate beater sneakers! Why is that? These are what I use to clean in, run errands, move, and travel. They are so light on your feet, comfortable, and extremely durable. Saucony Jazz is available in any color scheme imaginable. They provide great traction from the rubber outsole and a durable nylon/suede upper with padded tongue and collar. Grab a few pairs today!

A favorite amongst vintage sneaker junkies, the Pegasus line is synonymous with running, but some of the older ones are, in addition to being classic runners, just nice looking lifestyle shoes. That’s about where the 1992 version stands today, which is fortuitous because it keeps making repetitive returns with updated silhouettes and colorways.

Introduced in the late 80s, the New Balance 574 is an extremely versatile and classic retro sneaker that keeps coming out in new colors. Now popular on college campuses and the streets of east coast cities, the 574 is a classic retro-style running shoe featuring an ENCAP midsole for added support, plus a Nubuck leather upper for endurance and a super casual outdoor vibe.

Introduced in 1984, the Adidas Forum builds upon classic Adidas styling to produce a slightly heavier and chunkier kick. Finding cool Forums can be tricky as they do disappear fast, especially if you live in the Midwest. Also listed as one of the hottest high tops on the streets, you can find these in all sort of colors and cool anniversary editions.

14
of 15

Nike Cortez

Prominent in international street scenes since the early 80's, the Nike Cortez is a true star classic and takes the reign for defining retro. Featuring a durable bottom and a lightweight nylon upper for easygoing comfort,the Cortez is clean cut and can accommodate any outfit.

15
of 15

Nike Dunk

Originally released in 1985 and reintroduced in 1998, the Dunk has transformed from a basic basketball shoe into a subcultural icon and an inspiration for fashion, culture, and art. This casual sneaker subtly hints at its sporting intentions. Built with a contemporary, low-profile design, Dunks are very simple, versatile and sleek.