By Daniel Loy from THREAD SG
Millennials are going crazy over the latest sneakers, and rightfully so. Offering just the right amount of style and fitting that throw-on-and-go attitude, sneakers go the full distance without subjecting the wearer to discomfort or an unintended fashion faux pas.
Before you head to your nearest sneaker store (or ZALORA) for your sneaker fix, get acquainted with the 10 most popular silhouettes that have become hot property the world over.
Nike Air Force 1
The basketball sneaker arena may be dominated by Jordans today, but it was the Nike Air Force 1 (AF1) that got the ball rolling back in 1982. Characterised by its paneled uppers, chunky midsole and oversized swoosh, the AF1 pays homage to POTUS’ plane of the same name and enjoys top-flight status even as we speak.
Coming in low, mid and high top iterations to suit just about any outfit and occasion, the AF1 is truly a force to be reckoned with.
Nike Air Max 1
Nike’s famed air cushioning technology was traditionally buried deep within the midsole, but all that changed when the Air Max line-up and its exposed air bag concept came to fruition. The granddaddy of them all, the Air Max 1, made its debut in 1987 and has lost none of the features that made it a cult classic, as witnessed by the sheer number of releases even today.
A slew of Air Max sneakers have been created since the Air Max 1 first appeared, and most recently, the sportswear giant lifted the curtains on the Air Max 270, featuring the largest air bag yet and boasting cushioning that’s purportedly light years ahead of its competitors.
Adidas Stan Smith
Originally seen in action on the tennis court, the Stan Smith made a successful transition to the streets and has stayed strong in the urban jungle ever since. Named after the famed tennis player, this sneaker shines because of its bare-bones design and clean aesthetics.
Adidas’ famous three stripes is replaced by three clean-cut, perforated lines, and the brand tips its hat to Stan by inking his portrait on the tongue. This sneaker is truly a sight to behold and every minimalist’s dream come true.
Nicknamed “Shelltoe” due to its unique rubber shell toe design, the Superstar was worn by basketballers the likes of Kareem Abdul Jabbar before being adopted by hip-hop stars such as the Run-D.M.C. crew.
While it may look like the Stan Smith’s beefier twin, the Superstar is distinguished by Adidas’ signature three stripes emblazoned on the sides and the outsole that’s a tad chunkier. This model is the silhouette of choice for many collaborations, so don’t be surprised if you spot the Superstar in a never-before-seen colourway.
Converse Chuck Taylor
Arguably one of the oldest sneaker designs still in production, the Chuck Taylor has cemented its position as one of the greatest kicks around. Named after a relatively unknown basketball player, the Chuck Taylor became a pop culture hit and comes in at a relatively inexpensive price point, considering its timelessness.
Students and working adults alike swear by the Chuck’s versatility, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t worn a pair at some point in their lives. Nike’s Lunarlon midsole also found its way to the Chuck, gearing it up for a thousand miles of comfort.
New Balance 574
Many sneakers have come off New Balance’s factory line, but none of them are as familiar as the humble 574. A running shoe back in its heyday, the 574 made its way off the track and onto asphalt when it was reissued in 2003.
Cushioning comes courtesy of the ENCAP midsole, and premium versions using leather uppers have also proved to be well-liked. Most recently, the 574 spawned a new edition, aptly called 574 Sport, which updates the sneaker with sleeker lines, breathable fabrics and improved comfort with every stride.
Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66
Way before ASICS sneakers became a hit with sneakerheads, there was the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66. Introduced at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games as the go-to shoe for athletes, the Mexico 66 placed ASICS’ iconic stripes front and centre.
Five decades later, the Mexico 66 continues its legacy as a staple in the sneaker world, now arriving in a myriad of colours, textures and finishes. Looking for some retro-inspired kicks? The Mexico 66 may be your best bet.
At first glance, the PUMA Suede may not stand out when compared to newer silhouettes like the Ignite evoKNIT and R698, but this sneaker has serious street cred to its name. For starters, the Suede made waves in the 1968 Olympic Games, when it was spotted on podium finishers. It then edged into basketball in the 70s, before jumping into hip hop and B-Boy culture in the 80s. Last but not least, creatives rocked the Suede from the 90s into the new millennium.
Now into its 50th anniversary, the PUMA Suede’s storied history has allowed it to sit among the best in the sneaker charts, and possibly your shoe collection too.
Reebok Instapump Fury
Every sneaker company’s thrown in serious dollars at R&D, and Reebok’s no exception. The Instapump Fury may not follow the conventions of how a sneaker should look — it has no laces, but Reebok has made up for it with a futuristic pump system that lets you adjust the fit on the fly, by simply squeezing a button found on the shoe tongue.
Attracting a great deal of collectors in the sneaker world, the Instapump Fury has also gone premium, thanks to a collaboration with upscale streetwear label Vetements, which sees the Pump priced at a whopping one grand.
Vans Old Skool
Skaters have developed an affinity with the entire Vans line-up, but if we had to narrow it down to one sneaker, the Old Skool from 1977’s probably it. Popular with thrillseekers who break the rules and chase new tricks, this sneaker’s design was based on a doodle sketch by Vans’ founder, the legendary Paul Van Doren.
Its simplistic appearance is complemented by the iconic Vans sidestripe, vulcanised outsole and a hardiness that keeps it looking and feeling fresh even after hours of abuse at the skate book. Old Skool has even waded into mainstream waters, being spotted on rappers and fashion icons alike.
Which of these sneakers stopped you in your tracks for all the right reasons? Let us know in the comments below!