Sneakers are a hot commodity in the fashion industry. “Hypebeasts”, “sneakerheads” and “resellers” have become a global phenomenon, and we’ve witnessed guys queue up for days at a time and even selling their own grandmothers for the latest, hottest and most elusive kicks to hit the market.
Today, much of that history is overshadowed by hype. Riding on the streetwear wave, fashion brands like Dior and Prada have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret classic sneaker styles, throwing in a logo or a monogram and calling it day. Game-changing trainers by the likes of Nike and Adidas are constantly reissued, only to be backed by clout chasers and paraded around by celebrities younger than the shoes themselves.
The key to sneaker collecting is focusing on what you truly love, finding some sort of balance between everyday kicks and ones you’ll bust out on special occasions, and then passing on everything else. And sure, that’s easier said than done. There are thousands of new releases each year, making it relatively easy to spot, if not to cop, something that’ll attract your interest on a near-weekly basis. But if you stick to a few handy general guidelines, you’ll be able to temper your worst feelings the next time you want to pick up the sneakers you’ll never, ever wear.
So, no matter how old you are and need to sort out your collection, here are the 5 sneakers products Letter F recommend that you should own if you want to call yourself a sneakerhead.
- Adidas Originals Stan Smith
Aside from the shoe’s namesake, this Stan Smith’s other notable claim to fame is its official listing in the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, after 22 million pairs were sold worldwide. The sneaker is still widely available today, and at an affordable price, and has been worn by everyone from A$AP Rocky to David Beckham. But you don’t have to be intimately familiar with the shoe’s history in order to wear it. As one of the true OGs, and one of the easiest shoes to style, it’s a perfect starting place to start your sneaker collection.
- Nike Air Max 1
The Air Max also earns top marks for comfort, and the OG red-and-white silhouette is a standout that will catch any sneakerhead’s attention. The Air Max was also the shoe that helped commercialize the Nike brand, catalyzing global interest in the American imprint. The Air Max 1 “Revolution” commercial, sound tracked by The Beatles, featuring John McEnroe, Bo Jackson, and Michael Jordan, remains one of the most iconic ads ever.
- Nike Air Force 1
If Nike sells 25 pairs a second, you can bet that a good share of them are of the Nike Air Force 1. The world’s most famous basketball shoe debuted in 1982 as a high-top sneaker that echoed the silhouette of the Nike Approach hiking boot. But, what was revolutionary about it lay in its sole, it was the first basketball shoe to feature Nike’s Air cushioning.
- Nike Air Jordan 1
The Jordan 1 will always be the OG. Jordan’s winning streak threw his namesake shoes to iconic status. Long after Jordan’s many retirements from the sport, the high-top shoe continues to find fans in similarly irreverent celebrities such as Billie Eilish.
- Puma Suede
With their thick rubber soles, flexible uppers and unique material, the sneakers inevitably became a hit amongst B-Boys. Most recently, Rihanna reworked the Puma Suede sneakers into equally popular creepers, but the shoes still very much hold their own in their original silhouette.