For the Love of Sneakers: The Most Iconic Releases of them All

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If your sneaker collection eclipses that of all your friends, and you would wear your favorite pair to even formal events if you could, then you will love this list! We have gone through some of the most iconic sneakers ever released, to finally include the following seven.

Nike Air Max 97

Before we get into the details, let’s make it clear that every collector should have at least a few variants of the Air Max 97 sneakers from Nike’s vast and wide Air Max series.

The Silver Bullet remains the pioneer in the series though, and it should be the first pair to collect. There have since been plenty of other variations released throughout the next 22 years, but it was the first Nike Air Max 97 to use the company’s now-iconic, footbed air design.

If you don’t have a pair of Nike’s (arguably) best yet for some reason, or in case you have not updated your private collection with the latest variants in the series, you should check the collection on You will find every version of the Air Max 97 released over the years on this website and even info on upcoming retro revisions.

Nike Air Force 1

The Nike Air Force 1, also known as the Nike AF1, generates a mixed reaction every time it comes up as a topic in online threads, or when two sneaker enthusiasts get into a verbal brawl regarding its pros and cons.

The bit of controversy surrounding the AF1 isn’t what makes them a must-have, and whether you think they are one of the best pairs of sneakers ever manufactured by Nike or not. Chances are that you are already aware that the entire controversy is about the model’s weight. Most would agree that the Air Force 1 is a bulky sneaker, but some are of the opinion that it’s just way too big and heavy. We still think that for taller and larger men, in particular, the Nike AF1 is an awesome fit.

New Balance 990

How do you like the tag “Dad Shoe?” Probably not much in most cases! Nevertheless, in the case of the New Balance 990, it has proudly embraced its moniker and remained big and bulky even 40 odd years later.

If you don’t have some New Balance 990s yet, you won’t be lacking for choice though, because the manufacturer has churned out more variants of the original than we can count over the decades! Nevertheless, the gray and white original 990 is the one that should adorn your sneaker collection first.

Given the somewhat unchanged basics of the 990, if you have a pair of these already, you probably won’t need another, but it depends completely on your preferences of course.

Reebok Pump

Is the Reebok Pump the most popular sneaker from the 1980s? That’s debatable, and mostly depends on what you prefer as someone who appreciates quality sneakers, but it is certainly one of the most wanted pairs of the time.

In fact, it was so popular at that time, that its demand continued to soar until the early to mid-1990s as well. After that, the Pump lost quite a bit of its popularity, and though the pair remains one of the most iconic sneakers of all time, the retro versions released by Reebok, later on, did not do as well as they had hoped.

The fact that the retro Pumps were not as popular probably had something to do with the fact that it was around the same time when the Jordan 1 Retro was also released. Nevertheless, it has collector’s value, and they are actually one of the most functional sports shoes available.

Nike Air Jordan 1

Do you think that there are too many Nike shoes on this list? Probably not, because as someone who loves and collects sneakers, you already know that each of the Nike sneakers mentioned here definitely deserves a spot on any similar list as well.

So, just to make things clear, we are talking about the Air Jordan 1 Retro High and everything it brought to the masses back then. The Jordan 1 provides the options to choose from a whole range of colorways, and it has one of the best fits in sneaker history.

The main complaint about the Air Jordan 1 was and still is, that the shoes do not have sufficient ventilation like a basketball shoe should have. Apart from this, everything from the sculpted heels, ankle support, and perfect traction, to the fact that this is one of Michael Jordan’s original Signature Line of sneakers from Nike, makes the Nike Air Jordan 1 a must buy. As a matter of fact, if you don’t have a pair already, it is possibly because you have just begun with your collection.

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star

Converse sneakers have always been around, and it’s meant quite literally! After all, the Air Jordans, Air Maxes and Pumps that we are all crazy about were released between the 70s and the 90s originally, but the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star goes back by more than 100-years in its origin!

The first of the Chuck Taylors were released in the year 1917, and these were then followed up by an improved iteration of the line-up in 1921. Just in case you are wondering who exactly Chuck Taylor is, then the answer may actually surprise you.

Converse named their sneaker line after a famous celebrity basketball player of the time, but he was also one of their own salesmen, aka, Chuck Taylor. The man sold so many of the Converse sneakers, that the big head honchos decided to name the entire sneaker line after him. Of course, by that time, Chuck had also become a popular basketball player from Indiana, which helped them to promote their products by doing so! Therefore, although the Converse All-Star was being sold from 1917, it only became the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star 15 years later, in 1932.

The Chucks have too much history and a unique origin story behind them to not be in a sneaker collection, especially since they cost a fraction of what any of the other classics do. Just don’t expect anything fancy from the pair, because these are barebone “keds” by their very definition, being one of the first sneakers to be ever officially introduced.

Nike Dunk

Let’s end this list with another Nike sneaker, but one that is arguably the most adaptable sports shoe of all time. Don’t let the name Dunk mislead you into believing that the model was designed exclusively for basketball players, although they are still the prime target customers for Nike’s Dunk range, along with skateboarders. The sneaker from 1985 is iconic because of its versatility and quite a varied selection of color choices to choose from.

If you have at least one of each pair mentioned on this list, then congratulations, because you have a superb sneaker collection! Then again, there are just so many variants to find, that you will most likely always have something to look forward to. After all, when a collector’s collection becomes complete, the collector begins to feel incomplete.

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Danor Aliz is a lifestyle journalist who enjoys writing about everything luxury. Her favorite subjects are luxury travel and everything that has to do with fashion. In her spare time, she loves to paint and also enjoys her time walking her dog Daisy. Lifestyle

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As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. “ is a participant in third party affiliate and advertising programs; The Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and other affiliate advertising programs are designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees and commissions by advertising and linking to products on other sites and on Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.”