Reebok Classic Leather
It entered the market (and undoubtedly, the shoe cabinets of many teens) in 1983. The British-born sneaker was Reebok’s first running/active shoe to be clad in garment leather; the first Reebok shoe to use leather was the hi-top Freestyle, just a year earlier. The first Reebok Classic Leather was white, and sported a stitched Union Jack. It also featured air vents for breathability, and earned itself a reputation as one of the most comfortable sneakers. This year in May, rapper Kendrick Lamar teamed up with the brand to release a deconstructed look with a longitudinal seam running across the sneaker.
Released in 1978, the Vans Sk8-Hi was actually inspired by basketball shoes, and its above-ankle height and padded collar served to protect skaters’s bones from being hit by their skateboards. Also known as “Style 38”, the sneaker featured the jazz stripe — Van’s iconic “wave” seen across most of their shoes — and became the perfect canvas for doodles and other creative prints and colours Vans and their fans can think of. This model has seen many collaborations, from heavy metal brand Iron Maiden in 2007 to streetwear brand Supreme (remember 2013’s beautiful floral, “Power, Corruption & Lies collection?).
Nike’s Air Max
The Air Max revolution started on 26 March 1987 — yes, it’s specific, and Nike doesn’t let anyone forget it by celebrating this (practically, national holiday) day every year. It’s called 3.26, and if that doesn’t spell out for you how important this sneaker is, we tell you why it’s revolutionary: while the Air Max cushioning wasn’t a new invention, it had always been hidden; pushing this ingenious technology to the forefront (via the visible air unit) showed Nike fans and disbelievers that the brand was all about innovation. The first Air Max 1/Air Max 87 featured a bold red and white colourway, and Nike has continued to churn out bold colour combinations ever since.
Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars
Also known as “Chucks” and “Chuck Taylors”, it’s safe to say that this canvas sneaker has been worn by almost every kid, teen, and adult. It’s comfortable and versatile, and since its launch in 1917 — which by the way, was an entry into the basketball sneaker market — has established itself as a sneaker of creativity, individuality, and passion. The All-Stars have particularly been popular in the rock and roll communities, and was seen on musicians like Kurt Cobain and Green Day to All American Rejects and Bruno Mars. In 2003, Converse was bought over by Nike, and in 2015, introduced the All Star II — an all-new Converse sneaker which uses a Nike Lunarlon sockliner and a foam padded collar.
Unlike the Nike Air Max, this low-top sneaker has no exact launch year or date — although many attribute it to 1968. This is because Adidas constantly updated their shoes with many small changes and it was hard to keep track of them! Whatever the date, Gazelles were the first Adidas sneaker to don a full suede upper, and this certainly made a huge impact on sportsmen who were used to leather shoes. The first Gazelles were launched in two colourways: red-white and blue-white; the former featured a transparent non-slip sole, and the latter a microcell ripple sole. Both had athletic performance in mind. Adidas Gazelles were still in production well into the 1980s, and came in many colour variations in the 90s. No wonder celebrities like Kate Moss and Oasis were seen wearing them!
Puma Suede Classics
It was launched in 1968 with a bang. Ask your dad about it, and he might recall the memorable Olympics, when African-American gold and bronze sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on their podiums in Mexico City and raised their fists in a Black Power salute. Accompanying them in their protest, as well as their athletic feat, were two pairs of Puma Suede Classics — known by then as a sports favourite, thanks to the thick, rubber sole and rounded silhouette. Other notable athletes who wore these include basketballer Walt “Clyde” Frazier,of the New York Knicks, and the many breakdancers, to whom the Puma Suede Classics developed an affinity with.
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