The 90s were a legendary time, from gaming to sports, music, and of course, sneakers. Let's take a trip down memory lane to honour the most iconic sneaker models from the 90s.
Iconic Sneaker Models of the 90s
1. Nike Air Huarache
In 1991, the Nike Air Huarache was released for the first time. The design of the running shoe was very exclusive at the time, as it had a neoprene upper that looked like a sock. The quote that went with the shoe was: "Have you hugged your foot today?
The Air Huarache, like so many other Nike legends, was designed by Tinker Hatfield. He said at the time that the design didn't need a Nike Swoosh because: "People know that only Nike could think of this crazy idea and then pull it off".
2. adidas EQT Support 93
adidas launched a new model in 1993: the adidas EQT Support 93. This sporty model reveals the brand through the three iconic stripes on the side. It's purpose was to support a runner's feet, regardless of the terrain they were running on.
The special colorblocking in the design is something that has been seen more often in the history of this model.
3. Reebok Instapump Fury
The Reebok Instapump Fury hit the shelves in 1994, years after the historic release of the Reebok's PUMP technology in the late 80s. The experimental design became a cult sensation, and is still one of Reebok's most ambitious shoes to date. Initially intended as a running shoe, collectors became more interested in its frankenstein design than any performance features the sneaker actually provided.
4. Air Jordan V
The Air Jordan 5 dropped in four colorways in its initial run in February 1990, with white/black, black/metallic, white/fire red and white/grape all released, the most famous of which is the 'Fire Red'. The AJ5 was the first Jordan model to feature a clear rubber sole and reflective 3M material on the tongue, giving it a unique look over its predecessors, and making it a trendsetter within the Air Jordan line. It was also the first basketball shoe to be given moulded foam in the upper.
You may be familiar with the model if you were a fan of the famous American 90s comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The series was not only extremely funny, it also had a very big influence on the sneaker scene. The main character Will Smith was known for the awesome sneakers he wore in the series, most often the Jordan model.
In one of the promo pictures of the series, he wore the iconic Jordan V's without laces. Of all the sneaker models from the 90s, he sure picked one of the best!
5. Nike Air Max Plus
Released in 1998, the Nike Air Max Plus has had a huge fanbase for over two decades - but you might know the model better as the Nike Air Max TN, due to the Tuned Air system in the sole. Designer Sean McDowell was inspired by a whale, with the tail fin of the giant mammal reflected in the upper of the shoes.
6. Nike Air 180
Released in 1991 as a running shoe, the Nike Air 180 took its name from the visible Air Bubble that is distributed 180 degrees over the sole. Although not popular upon its initial debut, the Air 180 gained momentum when it was promoted by Michael Jordan during the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where he wore the Air 180 'Concord', a special colorway that was developed with a striking golden Swoosh and purple accents. The 180 was also seen on the feet of Kanye West, Eminem, and Dizzee Rascal, amongst others.
7. Nike Air Max BW
The iconic Nike Air Max BW (also known as the Nike Air Max Classic, or originally the Air Max IV) was not only a favourite of long-distance runners in the states, but of American R&B stars and Europe’s rave scene, and had a huge impact on street-style in the 90s that has recently been seen again in an explosive comeback.
The Air Max BW was originally released in 1991 in a black, white, and ‘Persian Violet’ colorway. Although it’s since been released in many further colorways, the ‘Persian Violet’ remains its signature look.
8. New Balance 1500
The New Balance 1500 was launched in 1993 as a running shoe. At the drop of the 1500, New Balance proclaimed it: "the closest thing yet to a perfect running shoe". It was first seen in a 'Grey' colorway as part of the Made in England range.
Nowadays, this New Balance model is still very popular in street style. The sneaker has a classic silhouette with a comfortable fit.
9. ASICS GEL-Lyte III
In 1990, ASICS released the legendary Gel-Lyte III. The model has a timeless design with a sporty look. The sneaker also became famous for its contrasting colorways. In addition, the split tongue for better comfort distinguishes this particular sneaker model.
10. Air Jordan VI
The Air Jordan 6 was released in 1991, and is notable as Michael Jordan won his first championship while wearing the model. It was originally available in five colorways, including the 'Black', 'White', 'Carmine', 'Sport Blue', and 'Maroon.' MJ wore the 'Black/Infrared' colorway pictured above for the postseason in 1991.
The Air Jordan 6 is also notable also because it was the last time an Air Jordan would feature Nike branding. After the AJ6, the Air Jordan moved the sneakers into being their own brand.
One of Air Jordan's most iconic silhouettes, the Air Jordan VI remains popular to this day, selling out almost instantly on release.