- The world’s 17 most expensive sneakers (2020)
- 17. Nike x MSCHF Air Max 97 Jesus Shoes – Walk On Water – 00
- 16. Nike Yeezy 2 Red October – ,500
- 15. Nike Dunk SB Low Staple NYC Pigeon – ,000
- 14. Chanel x Pharrell x adidas NMD Hu – ,000
- 13. Air Jordan V ‚Trophy Room‘ Friends & Family – ,000
- 12. DJ Khaled x Air Jordan 3 ‘Grateful’ – ,000
- 11. Macklemore x Air Jordan 6 Cactus –,000
- 10. Eminem x Carhartt Air Jordan 4 – ,000
- 9. Air Jordan 4 Eminem – ,000
- 8. Nike Air Mag Back to the Future 2016 – ,000
- 7. Nike So Cal Air Force 1 Supreme Max – ,000
- 6. Air Jordan Silver Shoes – ,000
- 5. Air Jordan 12 OVO (Drake Edition) – 0,000
- 4. Air Jordan 12 (Flu Game) – 4,000
- 3. Converse Fastbreak, worn by Michael Jordan – 0,373
- 2. Nike Moon Shoe –7,500
- 1. Solid Gold OVO x Air Jordan – 2,000,000
- To recap, these are the world’s 17 most expensive shoes
- Sneaker Trends for Men in 2021 & Beyond (The Good, Bad & Ugly)
- WHAT’S THE LATEST TREND IN SNEAKERS?
- Best Casual Sneakers For Men (The Good)
- 0 +
- 2. BACK TO THE CLASSICS
- 3. TECH RUNNERS
- SHOP TECH RUNNERS SHOES
- 4. SUEDED OUT SILHOUETTES
- SHOP SUEDE SHOES
- Coolest Men’s Shoes (The Bad)
- Fashionable Shoes For Men (The Ugly)
- 7. BOLD LOGO SNEAKERS
- 8. A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING SHOE TREND
- SHOP THE KITCHEN SINK
- WRAPPING THINGS UP
- WHICH OF THESE SNEAKER TRENDS ARE YOU A FAN OF?
- From Converse to Air Jordans, sneakers have been a status symbol for decades — but millennials are redefining what that means in 3 major ways
- Footwear has always held meaning — it's just evolved over time
- Sneakers get more expensive to meet demand, fueling their status
- Sneakers signify power in the workplace
- Sneakers are walking into the fashion world
- Here’s Why You Deserve A Pair Of Luxury Sneakers
- Axel Arigato
- Common Projects
- Saint Laurent
- John Lobb
- Brunello Cucinelli
The world’s 17 most expensive sneakers (2020)
But before you start reading, pay attention to how we put this list together – the list isn’t 100% accurate – to make it more interesting, we occasionally picked the sneaker that had a more captivating story or a more visually interesting look. The prices of the following sneakers were taken either from an auction house or estimated from their prices on secondary markets.
Now that this disclaimer is the way, you’re free to check out the most expensive sneakers in the world.
17. Nike x MSCHF Air Max 97 Jesus Shoes – Walk On Water – $4000
It turns out walking on water is indeed possible. One of the most controversial models that certainly deserves a spot in this list came out during 2019.
This Nike Air Max 97 Air Sole could easily be renamed to the Holy Water Sole, as it contains 60ml of holy water from the Jordan river.
Every single pair, priced at $1,425, was immediately purchased, and the sneaker subsequently disappeared from the StockX site for upwards of $4,000. Holy shit.
16. Nike Yeezy 2 Red October – $7,500
Before Kanye West signed to adidas, the legendary Yeezy shoes used to be released under Nike.
But this is a kind of questionable statement, because at the time of the release of the Nike Yeezy 2 Red October, Kanye wasn’t on such good terms with Nike anymore, and at first it even seemed that the Red Octobers would never be released to the public. But they were, and they became the most expensive Yeezy of all time.
15. Nike Dunk SB Low Staple NYC Pigeon – $16,000
You´re looking at one of the most popular “Dunks” ever.
When their release was announced in 2005, queues quickly started to form outside designer Jeff Staple´s New York store, and it looked that people would be willing to have a free-for-all for each of the 150 pairs – the situation escalated to the point that the police had to keep an eye on things. The price of the Nike Dunk SB Low Staple NYC Pigeon has been on the rise ever since. A perhaps more affordable alternative for you could be a selection of other colorways.
14. Chanel x Pharrell x adidas NMD Hu – $10,000
Most of the Pharrell x adidas NMD Human Race collaboration fetched a high resell price. The pair that stood out the most was the one that also featured a helping hand by Chanel.
All together, 500 pairs were made, and to get one, you had to win a special raffle and pay the retail price – something over $1000.
Luckier individuals could make up to ten times that amount by reselling them.
13. Air Jordan V ‚Trophy Room‘ Friends & Family – $10,000
According to several sources, the Air Jordan V Trophy Room Friends & Family verison is the most valuable sneaker made in 2019. The price of the shoe, designed by Marcus Jordan, Michael Jordan´s son, is something over $10000 on StockX.
12. DJ Khaled x Air Jordan 3 ‘Grateful’ – $25,000
When DJ Khaled released his album Grateful, his collaboration with Jordan – a pair of Air Jordan 3´s called “Grateful” also came out. What makes these 3´s, featuring Khaled´s “We The Best” slogan so pricey, is that the major key to getting a pair was buying the record and registering into a contest – one that obviously didn’t have many winners.
11. Macklemore x Air Jordan 6 Cactus –$25,000
Looking for these at a thrift shop would be completely futile. Why? Because there’s approximately 30 000 thrift shops in the USA, with several times that globally – but there are only 23 pairs of these sneakers.
10. Eminem x Carhartt Air Jordan 4 – $30,000
The fifteenth anniversary of Shady Records brought joy not only to Eminem fans, but also to sneakerheads – to celebrate the occasion, Eminem, Carhartt and Jordan teamed up to create a very limited pair of Air Jordan 4´s. These sneakers probably cost more than what you would need to properly equip a recording studio of your own.
9. Air Jordan 4 Eminem – $32,000
One of the world’s most famous rappers makes an appearance on our list for the second time – again with a pair of Air Jordan 4´s, with the subtitle Encore, a reference to Shady´s 2004 album. What makes these sneakers so expensive is probably the fact that they´re incredibly limited – officially, only 23 pairs were made in 2017.
8. Nike Air Mag Back to the Future 2016 – $35,000
One of recent year´s most famous sneakers – owned by, for example, the Slovakian rapper Rytmus. This reference to the legendary movie Back to the Future was released back in 2011 in a quantity of 1,500 pairs.
Several years later, in 2016, fans demanded a re-release, which they got – but only 89 more pairs were made, which pushed the Nike Air Mag Back to the Future 2016´s into the top 10 of the most expensive sneakers.
7. Nike So Cal Air Force 1 Supreme Max – $50,000
The legendary rap duo OutKast has millions of dollars in their bank accounts and countless hits and 6 Grammy´s under their belts.
With a resume this, is it really a big surprise that they started spending big money on seemingly unnecessary things? This is exactly what Big Boi, one of the members did when he had a pair of Nike Air Force 1´s customized with 13 carat diamonds, pricing them at $50,000.
6. Air Jordan Silver Shoes – $60,000
No, these sneakers aren’t made from real silver. So why, do you ask, did they sell for $60,000 at an auction? Apart from only 10 pairs being made, Michael Jordan also got one of them as a 32nd birthday gift from his wife, which gives this sneaker a cute backstory.
5. Air Jordan 12 OVO (Drake Edition) – $100,000
What you see in front of you is the result of a collaboration between the Jordan brand and rapper Drake’s brand OVO (October’s Very Own). At first glance, they don´t seem anything special.
However, at a Toronto Raptors game, Drake gave a pair of these sneakers (with a retail price slightly over $200) to one lucky fan, who managed to sell the shoe for an incredible $100,000 on eBay, which made them the second most expensive Jordan sneaker at the time.
A lesson to be learned from this is that going to a Toronto Raptors game might be worth it, not only for the entertainment value.
4. Air Jordan 12 (Flu Game) – $104,000
When the final NBA match between Chicago and Utah took place in 1997, Michael Jordan wasn’t looking fit to play and all signs pointed to him having a rather nasty case of the flu. But this in no way meant that he would skip out on the final match.
Despite pain, dehydration and exhaustion, Jordan finished the game, scoring an unbelievable 37 points. At the time of this victory, he had a pair of Air Jordan 12´s which received the nickname “Flu Game” and later auctioned for $104,000.
For a while, that made them the most expensive sneaker sold at an auction. Read more about the Flu game in this article.
3. Converse Fastbreak, worn by Michael Jordan – $190,373
This is where we start reaching astronomical prices. This crazy price tag wasn´t caused by the sneaker´s rarity or the use of expensive materials. The third pair on our list was owned by Michael Jordan himself – he won the 1984 Olympic games in the USA in these shoes.
2. Nike Moon Shoe –$437,500
This shoe was designed by Nike´s co-founder Bill Bowerman for the 1972 Olympics qualifiers. It’s the only remaining preserved pair of this shoe, and it is also unique because the sole was literally made in a waffle maker. The sneakers were auctioned off at Sotheby’s by collector Miles Nadal in July 2019, officially making them the world’s most expensive shoes for many.
1. Solid Gold OVO x Air Jordan – $2,000,000
This is more of a kind of bonus – you probably wouldn’t be able to do much walking in these 24 carat solid gold sneakers, made by Jordan and OVO. So who is the owner of these one-of-a-kind sneakers? Drake himself.
Although no official price was released, according to a study that took into account the price of gold in 2016 and the amount necessary to create these sneakers, the shoes are estimated to be worth an incredible $2,000,000.
To recap, these are the world’s 17 most expensive shoes
17) Nike x MSCHF Air Max 97 ‚Jesus Shoes – Walk On Water $4,000
16) Nike Yeezy 2 Red October – $7,500
15) Chanel x Pharrell x adidas NMD Hu — $10,000
14) Air Jordan V ‚Trophy Room‘ (Friends & Family) – $10,000
13) Nike Dunk SB Low Staple NYC Pigeon – $16,000
12) DJ Khaled x Air Jordan 3 ‘Grateful’ – $25,000
11) Macklemore x Air Jordan 6: $25,000
10) Eminem x Carhartt Air Jordan 4 – $30,000
9) Air Jordan 4 Eminem – $32,000
Nike Air Mag Back to the Future 2016 – $35,000
7) Nike So Cal Air Force 1 Supreme Max – $50,000
6) Air Jordan Silver Shoes – $60,000
5) Air Jordan 12 OVO (Drake Edition) – $100,000
4) Air Jordan 12 (Flu Game) – $104,000
3) Michael Jordan’s Game Worn Converse Fastbreak: $190,373
2) Nike Moon Shoe: $437,500
1) Solid Gold OVO x Air Jordan – $2,000,000
If you´re interested in sneakers that might make the list in the future, check out our upcoming releases post and register in one of our raffles. Or visit our limited edition sneakers store category.
Or you can explore more about the sneaker world and look at a close-up view of the first Air Jordan 1 release or find out more about the legendary Nike Air Max 90. Or maybe just get to know FTSHP blog better to know what kind of information you can expect here.
Sneaker Trends for Men in 2021 & Beyond (The Good, Bad & Ugly)
Sneaker trends in 2021 are nothing new — it’s just a renewal and resurgence of past styles — after all style and fashion is a cyclical beast.
While trends in the menswear space seemingly come and go by the seasons, it’s no surprise that sneaker culture changes just as quickly.
If you’ve followed Gentleman Within for a while now then you know that I to preach timeless style and simplicity—leaning on the verge of minimalism.
I’m not huge on what’s trending out there, but I do feel it’s important to stay abreast of what’s going on because there’s inspiration to be had by keeping an eye on the style & fashion trends of today.
In this article I’m going to touch on trending sneakers for men in 2021, specifically the good, the bad, and yes the ugly. I personally the Mr. Porter Sneaker Store to stay up-to-date on the freshest kicks of today.
For my recommendations, let’s dive in.
WHAT’S THE LATEST TREND IN SNEAKERS?
So what are the trendy men’s shoes as we head into a new decade? That is the question we answer with this comprehensive article featuring 8 men’s sneaker trends that cover the gamut of what’s trending for men right now.
BEST MINIMALIST SNEAKERS Under $250 (Greats, Veja, Oliver Cabell, Nothing New, Koio & More)
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Best Casual Sneakers For Men (The Good)
These are the best casual sneakers for men, aka the good sneaker trends that I’m fully endorsing for 2021 and beyond. In this article, we will feature plenty more sneaker styles that you can rock and then provide examples of what you should look to avoid.
Let’s begin with minimalist men’s sneakers.
White sneakers, forever a classic.
Two words. Common Projects (in tan, gray or my favorite, off-white). The all-white trainer has been having a moment for a while now. The wildly popular shoes has given rise to a minimalist sneaker movement.
The clean and classic minimalist sneaker trend is currently a fan favorite, versatile enough to dress up with high end tailoring or dress down with athleisure or casual jeans. This makes white sneakers a must have in all men’s wardrobes. The Greats Royale or classic Vans are a extremely popular, yet affordable options if you’re in the market for a pair.
At this point, solid white leather sneakers are ubiquitous in the world of menswear — a smart casual staple that’s going to be around for a while.
In addition to white, brown suede is another, classic and versatile option. The made in Italy, Koio Capri is currently one of my favorite minimalist sneakers to wear.
They even have minimalist high-tops the Primo Roccia in suede. Furthermore, you could opt for an all white or beige canvas pair of low-top sneakers also known as skate shoes for a bit more of a casual vibe.
A drawback of white sneakers is that they get dirty easily, and I don’t recommend wearing them in rainy weather or grimy places.
Whether you’re on a budget or have a bit more to spend, I’ll provide my minimalist white sneaker recommendations below as well as some suede sneaker options.
The Ace Marks Duke Sneaker (seen above) is a high-quality, luxury white sneaker with a middle-tier price tag. Definitely worth taking a look. Check out the Ace Marks review of the Duke Sneaker and Troy Chelsea Boots.
2. BACK TO THE CLASSICS
One of my favorite kicks at the moment. The Internationalist. And here are 2 popular alternatives, Tailwind & Daybreak.
You can never go wrong with the classics aka essential shoes for men.
A majority of the shoe trends in this article will fall in and style over time, but it’s these classics that will continue to endure.
Brands Vans, Converse, Nike, and Adidas have been offering classic silhouettes for decades now.
A black and white pair the Converse One Star or Vans Old Skool are affordably priced classics, prime for everyday casual wear. Alternatively, a pair of casual lace up running sneakers pairs exceptionally well with sweatpants, light or dark blue jeans. And then there’s the tried and true, classic Adidas Stan Smith (currently on sale for $48).
One of my favorite timeless silhouettes comes from Nike, specifically their Nike Internationalist Low that’s sleek and stylish, and designed in a myriad of colorways for extreme versatility. Another great pick is the ever popular, often sold out, Nike Killshot 2 with the gumsole.
Whatever the case, whether you’re rocking a pair of suede slip-ons or casual lace-up sneaks, you’re sure to keep things cool and comfortable.
NIKE KILLSHOT 2 REVIEW & LOOKBOOK | Casual Outfit Inspiration | Men's Fashion 2020
Check out the Nike Killshot 2 lookbook video where I styled 5 casual outfits for men that you can get inspiration from or copy yourself.
3. TECH RUNNERS
In 2016, sneaker technology took a leap forward when Nike released the HyperAdapt 1.0 which are essentially self-lacing sneakers for a whopping $750. We’re talking Back to the Future type stuff.
According to Nike, “The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 is the first fully-functioning athletic shoe that electronically adjusts to the contours of your foot via adaptive lacing technology—providing a personal, customized fit that makes it feel an extension of your body.”
It’s this kind of boundary pushing technology that makes this sneaker trend more than just a trend, but instead, a model that is going to shape the footwear industry in the years and decades moving forward.
SHOP TECH RUNNERS SHOES
In fact, the HyperAdapt’s successor the Nike Adapt BB (released Feb. 14, 2019) improves upon its predecessor while coming in at a lower price point of $350 and a much sleeker silhouette. Imagine lacing up your sneakers with an app. Well now you can.
As of today brands are introducing cool sneakers with built-in waterproofing and ripstop fabrics. And these shoes aren’t just for runners or athletes either. They’re ideal sneakers to complement the ever popular athleisure style with their sleek silhouettes and knitted uppers.
With brands Nike and Adidas pushing men’s sneaker tech forward, technology enabled and enhanced sneakers are merely in its infancy.
4. SUEDED OUT SILHOUETTES
Who said suede isn’t stylish?
Take all of the popular sneaker trends above, then throw in a little suede and we have our next sneaker trend for 2021.
We’re talking neutral, versatile ‘pops of color’ suede colorways. This season you can go for a light navy blue or light olive. They’re still neutral colors, but have more visual interest than a plain brown.
SHOP SUEDE SHOES
If you want to go bolder, opt for a darker olive, though not quite forest green. Or you can take things to the next level with a burnt orange or ochre pair of casual sneakers. These are all more exciting to wear than plain black or brown suede, at the same time they’re subdued enough to be versatile, standout pieces.
Additionally, suede adds texture and visual interest to simple yet stylish outfits. I actually prefer a little bit of suede on my sneakers, especially when it’s blended together with leather and a nice gumsole for example.
Quick note: If you’re enjoying this article on the latest sneaker trends for men, then you’ll probably find my other writing on all things men’s style useful. Each week, I share updates, style tips and other things not shared on the blog through my free email newsletter.
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BEST SNEAKER TRENDS for Fall/Winter 2018-2019 | Good, Bad & Ugly
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Coolest Men’s Shoes (The Bad)
We’ve talked about the good sneaker trends for 2021, but now it’s time for some of the bad. These aren’t the best shoes, although it’s not all that bad if we take a closer look.
The following trending sneakers are considered the “cool shoes” for men for the past couple of years and only look to be gaining steam as we head into 2021 and beyond.
Dad sneakers will be huge (literally) in the early part of the 2020s.
It was only a matter of time before they reared their ugly heads back into the sneaker scene. They’ve been trending heavily all year among sneaker heads and fashion influencers and will only pick up steam in 2021. Although a shoe this doesn’t have staying power and so it will probably fade away sooner than we think.
Looks something I wore in the 90s.
The maximalist bulky or chunky sneakers also known as dad trainers or ugly sneakers are a direct response to the minimalist sneaker trend. Brands Balenciaga and Gucci to Nike and New Balance are rocking this trend hard right now. They’re not pretty with the worst of them introducing crazy colors to elevate these brick- silhouettes into obnoxiously loud territory.
But with all the things wrong with this trend, there are a few bright spots. If you’re down to experiment with the bulky sole sneaker trend, then opt for a shoe with a sleek silhouette upper and a solid or neutral colors. It will help to tone down the chunky sole and ground the overall look.
A great current example of the chunky sole, dad trainer trend is the new Everlane Tread Trainer. The shoe launched in late-April 2019 to much fanfare. It’s a chunky soled sneaker that is actually wearable for most men.
I was lucky enough that they sent me an early pair before launch and so I’ve been wearing them for the better part of this year. You can check out the full review and comparison of Greats vs Everlane.
Everlane also has a new sneaker called the Court that’s more minimal than the original Tread.
The chunky sneaker done right. Tread By Everlane gets it. | Available for $98 in a myriad of versatile colorways.
Fashionable Shoes For Men (The Ugly)
Fashion is a cyclical beast that gives way to new trends on a seasonal basis. Before the wide leg trouser trend we had skinny jeans. And naturally, years of Vans and Common Projects have led us here.
These are the so called fashionable men’s sneakers right now in late-2019. To each his own, but these are trends that I wouldn’t want to be caught dead in. I’d avoid these ugly, trending sneakers at all costs.
These things are utterly hideous. Living up to their name, ugly sneakers combine a bulky soled shoe with unnecessary embellishments, Ed Hardy-esque paint splatters, hand sketched art, and bold logos which is a category unto itself.
Do yourself a favor and avoid the ugly dad sneaker trend in 2021. Sure a tiny subset of fashion dudes (hypebeasters) are going to rock these unsightly horrors, but at least you won’t be looking back in 10 years thinking WTF was I wearing?
7. BOLD LOGO SNEAKERS
Regular Gentleman Within readers know that I’m not a fan of logos obnoxiously plastered on products. Leave it to high fashion to shout their brand name to the rooftops with bold logos emblazoned across the front of their shoes. It’s a status thing I guess. To them these are the coolest men’s shoes ever.
If you’re going to rock this trend, go with some New Balances, it’ll run you 10x less than a pair of Gucci, Prada or Givenchy sneakers and it’s a tried and true classic.
8. A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING SHOE TREND
Finally to conclude this list of latest shoe trends for 2021, it’s time to throw in the kitchen sink.
This trend takes a little bit of everything and blends it into a single, unified sneaker trend that can actually work.
Take a sleek leather, mesh and suede upper in neutral colors and pair it with a slimmed down chunky sole and you’ve got a great looking shoe that stands out without screaming out. Take this Tom Ford Jago Neoprene, Mesh and Nylon Sneaker or Brunello Cucinelli Suede-Trimmed Mesh and leather Sneaker for example. Quite the price tags, but look great, IMO.
Sometimes throwing a ton of crap at the wall and hoping that it sticks can work out after all. I’m personally a big fan of mixing and matching textures when it comes to putting stylish and visually interesting outfits together. It works just as well with trendy sneakers.
SHOP THE KITCHEN SINK
BEST SNEAKERS FOR MEN 2019 | Nike, Adidas, Vans, Koio, Everlane, Beckett Simonon + More
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WRAPPING THINGS UP
There you have it, men’s sneaker trends 2021, the good, the bad and the ugly. I hope that this article helped to provide insight on what’s currently hot and what you can potentially experiment with moving forward into 2021 and beyond.
About what I expected from my Instagram followers.
WHICH OF THESE SNEAKER TRENDS ARE YOU A FAN OF?
Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.
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From Converse to Air Jordans, sneakers have been a status symbol for decades — but millennials are redefining what that means in 3 major ways
Take a walk in a millennial's shoes, and you could find out a lot about their owner.
Balenciaga's Triple S sneakers might find you seated in the front row of a fashion show as a fashion editor or celebrity. Lanvin low-tops might take you around Silicon Valley as a tech CEO. And No.6 clogs just might make you a Brooklyn mom pushing a stroller down Flatbush Avenue.
These shoes may represent different worlds, but they all have one thing in common: high price tags that spell out the new look of luxury. Retail prices start at $900, $495, and $300 for each, respectively.
But people are willing to pay big bucks for something that symbolizes their status — and nothing says who's who a pair of pricey shoes.
Footwear is the most powerful category in the online luxury market, according to a recent report by The NPD Group. Consumers are even spending more money on expensive shoes than luxury handbags — $794 on one pair on average, Business Insider's Mary Hanbury reported.
At the forefront of this trend? Sneakers — for which you can largely thank millennials and their desire for comfort and athleisure.
Read more: Shoppers are spending hundreds of dollars on shoes instead of handbags
The primary growth driver in luxury shoes is sport leisure footwear — mainly casual sneakers, but also sport slide sandals, Beth Goldstein, fashion footwear and accessories analyst at The NPD Group, told Business Insider. While this trend can be seen across all ages, Gen Z and millennials are driving most of it, she said.
“A casual and comfortable lifestyle has become the norm, and we see this reflected in consumers' footwear and apparel choices. And, in some cases, sneakers are the new status items,” Goldstein said.
But sneakers as a status symbol isn't an entirely new concept — it's just become more pronounced and diverse due to the millennial lifestyle. What's happening now is a threefold reinvention of the sneaker as a status symbol.
Footwear has always held meaning — it's just evolved over time
In an article for the Atlantic, Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell wrote that footwear has always conveyed “ideas about national identity, class, race, and other forms of social meaning.”
Several milestones have propelled the sneaker into status category. In 1917, Converse tapped basketball players to serve as brand ambassadors; it was then rebranded in the 1950s with a more rebellious status thanks to TV and James Dean, before achieving significance — along with other canvas sneakers Keds — among rock bands and musicians, according to Chrisman-Campbell.
Marky Ramone of The Ramones sporting a pair of Pro Keds. LGI Stock/Getty Images
“Beatniks, rockers, and skateboarders adopted them because they were cheap, anonymous, and authentic — not necessarily because they were comfortable or cool,” she wrote.
In the 1970s, famous non-athletes Farrah Fawcett began wearing sneakers as status symbols, she reported. But the “modern sneaker culture” was arguably born with the Air Jordan in the mid-1980s, when Nike signed Michael Jordan to an endorsement deal, according to Chrisman-Campbell.
Today, Air Jordans have evolved into an even higher marker of status. Models and sneakerheads — shoe enthusiasts who collect limited-edition sneakers with an expensive resale value — a have been seen sporting them; as Sunny Montgomery for Times Free Press wrote, it's “all about bragging rights.”
Sneakers get more expensive to meet demand, fueling their status
But what's a status symbol if it doesn't indicate that you had enough money to purchase it in the first place? As millennials continue to buy sneakers, they're continuing to drive prices up — and the more expensive the sneaker, the more coveted it becomes. It's a cyclical process.
Converse reportedly cost $3.95 in 1957 — that's $25.33 in today's dollars. From 2011 to 2013, prices for the Converse All Star, the brand's classic shoe, increased by 11%, according to Quartz.
In 2015, the All Star was redesigned, and it came with a $25 price hike, reported Business Insider's Dennis Green.
Today, the All Star ranges in price from $50 to $75, and limited edition Converses cost as much as $150.
When released in 1985, the Air Jordan originally cost $65; its most recent iteration is priced at $185, according to Foot Locker. But rare collector's editions can go for much more — one pair sold for $104,000 in 2018.
Meanwhile, women are dropping $900 on the Balenciaga Triple S. And men are spending up to $795 on Balenciaga faux-python leather hi-tops and $790 on Gucci sneakers with embroidered velvet, reported Lisa Fickenscher for the New York Post.
Over time, “mounting customization and collectability (driven by eBay) only increased the cost of sneakers; artists and elite fashion designers Prada and Gucci began releasing their own designs or limited-edition collaborations with athletic brands,” Chrisman-Campbell wrote.
Millennials' willingness to spend such a high amount is partly what's redefining the sneaker's status today.
Sneakers signify power in the workplace
While Goldstein finds the trend has taken hold across age groups, she said it's largely a reflection of how the younger generation lives and works today.
“Comfort and versatility is important to everyone,” she said. “Goldman Sachs just relaxed its historically formal dress code — this is significant because they have a very young workforce and this is the preference.”
As luxury versions of sneakers with soft leathers and designer logos begin to rise in prominence and price, they're supplanting a professional wardrobe staple among men: dress shoes, as Business Insider's Dennis Green reported.
Look no further than Silicon Valley to see this in action; low-top kicks Lanvins or Common Projects have become a status marker in the tech world.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom wears Lanvin low-tops. Mike Windle/Getty
“For many of the Valley's elite, the right pair of kicks is a trademark accessory carefully selected to convey a mix of power, nonchalance, creativity, and exclusivity,” Business Insider's Avery Hartmans wrote.
Green called Silicon Valley “the birthplace of the casual work wardrobe,” of which sneakers have become a cornerstone. “As time goes on, it'll probably be more useful in identifying the office hierarchy if you can pick out a Lanvin sneaker than a Gucci Bit Loafer,” he wrote.
Read more: Silicon Valley's ultimate status symbol is the sneaker. Here are the rare, expensive, and goofy shoes worn by the top tech CEOs.
Sneakers are walking into the fashion world
But the tech world isn't the only place sneakers have taken hold — sneakers have also become a mainstay in the fashion world.
Consider the aforementioned Balenciaga Triple S sneakers, which appeared on the feet of a host of “fashion people” in 2018. Meanwhile, Balenciaga's speed sneakers recently made Lyst's recent ranking of the world's top 10 fashion products, Hanbury reported.
In an installment from Vogue's video series, Go Ask Anna, Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief and Condé Nast creative director, commented on fashion's growing sneaker trend.
“There are sneakers everywhere,” she said. “Years ago it used to be that women would wear sneakers on the subway or walking to work and then immediately would get into the office and go into their bags. That's no longer the case.”
Influencer Aylin Koenig wears Balenciaga Triple S Sneakers, a status symbol in the fashion industry. Jeremy Moeller/Shutterstock
While most trends start on the runway and trickle down, the athletic trend was different, according to Goldstein.
“Designers took what they saw from the sport brands and created high fashion from it,” she said. “Sneakers and sport slide styles are driving the designer business. The big athletic players' fashion athletic business is greatly outpacing their performance athletic business. And now most of the fashion footwear brands are focused on more casual, athleisure styles.”
Athletic is fashionable now, Goldstein said — a trend she doesn't see changing anytime soon.
Here’s Why You Deserve A Pair Of Luxury Sneakers
Luxury ready meals. Luxury water. Luxury bleach. The human race has transformed plenty of everyday products into fancy, pointless abominations. But one thing it did get right was turning the humble athletic trainer into a piece of art worthy of a streetwear king (AKA someone with a six figure Insta following).
The high street may be failing, but high-end brands are continuing to flourish – especially those that make luxury sneakers.
Brand sales by the s of Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga are continuing to soar, proving that today’s generation of stunting, brand-conscious consumers is investing in premium, well-made fashion rather than wear-once-and-throw-away pieces. And the luxury sneaker is at the heart of it all.
Every brand worth its salt has created one – from traditional Northampton shoemakers to century-old Parisian fashion houses, and it’s been a key contributor to the casual direction menswear is firmly committed to. In short, you need a pair. But if you don’t know your Jordans from your John Lobbs, you might want to get your feet stuck into our guide to the slickest luxury sneaker brands you can invest in right now.
Credit cards/second mortgage at the ready.
The world’s biggest trendsetters kicked off the embroidery revolution about four years ago, and it hasn’t slowed down since. Made in Italy, its most popular low-top white Ace sneakers feature either the brand’s iconic bee emblem – introduced in the 1970s – or a snake in the red, green and gold Gucci colourway.
These much-imitated shoes are the eternally on-trend sneakers that go with virtually everything in your wardrobe, from raw selvedge denim jeans and a plain white tee, to dressing down your summer suits.
Nice shoes from Stockholm. Surprise surprise. CQP’s (Conversations & Quintessential Products) premium kicks are designed in Sweden, and handmade in Portugal, and certainly fit the bill. You’ll most ly spot its Racquet collection, low tops commonly featuring a canvas side panel, 100% Italian suede toe and tongue, and waxed cotton laces.
Alternatively, there’s the Tarmac line, a smarter quarter-top style made with the same quality suede but with a 100% calf leather lining and arch support with several layers of cushioning. The next best thing to wearing pillows on your feet.
Some brands stick to one shape and that’s that. Not Axel Arigato. To this Swedish brand, variety is everything.
From the uber casual basketball-inspired Court hi-top, the signature Clean coming in zip-up and laceless options, to the futuristically functional Tech Runner, Axel’s lavish leather-infused lineup is a one-stop shop for all sneaker lovers, bringing art students and sports nuts together in perfect harmony. They did it. World peace at last.
A brand immersed in history, with trainers from the future. It’s an unusual combination, and for a company nearly a century old Balenciaga is continuing to shock the world with its innovative designs.
The oversized Triple S sneakers are the most iconic of the Spanish fashion house’s footwear styles, manufactured with superior nubuck and mesh, proudly boasting the brand logo towards the back, with that divisive triple-stacked sole jutting out. They are kings of the chunky trainer trend.
This isn’t the only avant-garde style the brand has though, as they’ve also jumped on the sock-meets-shoe hype with the Speed trainer. This alternative silhouette showcases more practical properties, with a memory sole and comfortable shock-absorbing technology.
One of the most instantly recognisable silhouettes on the market today, mainly because they’re so clean you could eat your dinner off them. But there’s another reason why Common Projects are so noticeable: the gold foil style code stamped on the heel, each unique one signifying the colour, code and size of the shoe.
It’s this little detail that makes the American-Italian label such a cult purchase; the fact that they’re expertly crafted in Italy, come in on-trend pastel colour ways blush pink and nude, and are worn by the s of Drake and Alexander Skarsgard is just a plus.
Another footwear industry shocker: Grenson doesn’t just make brogue boots for bearded selvedge denim enthusiasts; it also makes killer sneakers in its own distinct style. You might not have even known it made its own sneakers, which is an easy mistake to make as it hasn’t been in the casual footwear game for long. This doesn’t mean the British brand is inexperienced, however.
Producing three styles, each is simply named ‘Sneaker’ followed by a number, Grenson’s takes on the casual footwear staple look extremely polished and smooth.
Sneaker 1, for example, is an homage to the ‘70s tennis shoe with its simple silhouette, but it’s made premium by hand-painted calf leather, giving it an opulent feel.
Sneaker 3 on the other hand fits more in-line with the brand’s traditional aesthetic, giving a low-top trainer shape brogue detailing in regal colourways.
Think Saint Laurent and you automatically envision tight leather jackets and black boots. But that’s not always the case with the French fashion house, as rock stars also have to worry about foot cramp.
For those laid back days, Saint Laurent produces equally edgy and decadent trainers, with scrawled branding across its court classic low-top trainers which are crafted in canvas and available in a variety of shades.
Looking for more of a statement? Then try out its hi-tops adorned with block panelling, born to be paired with your favourite leather jacket and black jeans.
Did you ever want to leave your regular shoes behind at the bowling alley when you were a child so you could take home those vintage looking rentals? Well now you can get a pair – albeit of previously unattainable quality – without hundreds of people having worn them first. John Lobb makes seriously exquisite and spotless retro sneakers in Italy, featuring a stitched cup sole construction for durability and lightness – two qualities perfect for both the bowling alley and the sidewalk.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling (extra) flush, you can use Lobb’s By Request service and create your own bespoke trainers.
A proper heritage footwear brand, Church’s was established in 1873, yet in the 1990s the company was taken over by Prada, injecting it a fresher and more contemporary direction.
Many of its sophisticated designs (the Willenhall loafer, the Walthum brogue) remained for its loyal sartorial customer base, but the brand also attracted a younger, casual consumer who wanted well-made trainers steeped in masterful craftsmanship.
You’ll find the renowned Church’s logo on the tongue of its luxury sneakers the Mirfield, with its silhouette resembling a Derby shoe. It also features a refined Nevada leather the company’s formal styles, showing that Church’s has shifted with the times while maintaining its roots.
Italian man-behind-the-brand, Mr Brunello Cucinelli describes himself as “part businessman, part philosopher and park monk”. Although best known for its cashmere and exemplary tailoring, the brand’s retro trainers are pristine to say the least (but please don’t run in them; nurse them as if they were your own child).
Hand-milled, made in Italy, 100% leather, and with each style featuring intricate detailing, these shoes have it all. You’ll feel even better about purchasing such extravagant footwear too, as Brunello donates 20% of his profits to charity.
Founder of AMI Alexandre Matiussi has worked at Marc Jacobs, Dior and Givenchy, before starting his own streetwear-worshipped brand in Paris in 2011. Just that small sentence there would be enough for most to gain trust in AMI’s sneakers without actually seeing them. And your trust would’ve paid off, because these kicks are special indeed.
AMI’s most identifiable trainers are the Lucky 9s, a neoprene inner sock runner with a leather insole, sporting major Back To The Future vibes with its ‘80s colourways and ridged shape. But if you’re looking for something quieter to go with your everyday staples, the equally throwback three-strap sneakers with embroidered AMI at the heel will do.
Berluti’s ethos is that ‘you cannot be elegant if you are not comfortable and well-shod.’ This message is clearly evident by looking at the Parisian brand’s shoes.
The hi-top Fast Track is a runner/hiking boot hybrid, but instead of being chased out a Frankenstein monstrosity it has been heralded as a modern masterpiece. The mashup consists of a glazed calf leather upper and Vanezia leather detailing, but it’s the technical qualities memory-foam insoles and anti-slip notched soles that gives the shoe substance as well as style.
But if it’s more substance you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. Lizard and alligator leather are just some of the exotic materials produced by the brand, with extra detailing coming from fine line engraving.
Expensive sneakers don’t just have to be for self-entitled teenagers using daddy’s credit card; they can also be for the sophisticated gentleman who has a drinks trolley full of rare bourbons in his study.
Jigsaw, founded in Brighton in 1970, doesn’t lend itself to trends or fads. Instead it makes luxury sneakers you could’ve worn last season, this season, and next season.
Simple and timeless, the brand’s signature low-tops are made of 100% leather in Portugal, boast gunmetal eyelets as well as durable rubber soles.
If you’re of the smart casual persuasion (T-shirt and trainers with a coloured suit), these luxe but inexpensive kicks are for you. High street prices with an upmarket design – what more could you want?