There's only one way to learn your ABCs... and that's using sneaker association! For all the mini sneakerheads out there, make sure you get to know the difference between your Air Force 1 and Dunk before anything else. A isn't for apple, it's for Air Jordan 1!
A is for Air Jordan 1
The Air Jordan 1 was the first silhouette under Michael Jordan’s namesake branch of Nike’s ever-expanding brand. Now coming in Low, Mid and High iterations, as well as remixed versions such as the women’s-exclusive Elevated or ‘LV8D’, there’s not a design, collaboration or colourway that the Air Jordan 1 hasn’t seen. First taken to the court in the early ‘80s, the Air Jordan 1 is the brainchild of Peter Moore. It’s crazy to think about the sneaker’s journey from hardwood legend to the almost-untouchable lifestyle sneaker it has become today.
B is for Blazer
Nike’s Blazer silhouette was first seen in 1973 and was originally a basketball sneaker, like many of Nike’s other sneakers. That being said, the humble Nike Blazer has managed to step away from its basketball past and infiltrate the world of skateboarding and luxury fashion, too. Having been customised by the likes of Off-White and Comme des Garçons, the Blazer has reached new heights. In recent times, we’ve seen the ‘Jumbo’ rendition of the silhouette take over the airways, whilst the Mid and Low-top styles remain just as popular as ever.
C is for Converse Chuck Taylor
Converse’s Chuck Taylor has remained pretty much unchanged since its inception in the 1920s. Again, another basketball-turned-lifestyle sneaker, the Chuck Taylor was merely named after Converse’s travelling salesman and coach; he didn’t actually have anything to do with the design process. Like the previous two sneakers, the Chuck Taylor has been reimagined into new and exciting new silhouettes, but sneaker lovers still remain partial to the old-school, reliable Chuck Taylor high top. It’s difficult to beat!
D is for Dunk
Having seen a splurge in popularity in the last two years, the Nike Dunk has taken over social media in a way that could have never been predicted. Typically difficult to get hold of, resale prices skyrocket when popular colourways are released, meaning lots of fans are left mourning an L. A take on the Air Jordan 1 from three years prior, the 1985 Peter Moore-designed Dunk’s first colourways drew inspiration from the most popular schools for basketball in the US, including University of Michigan, Georgetown and Iowa. This pack was known as the ‘True to Your School’ collection.
E is for EQT x Sean Wotherspoon
Sean Wotherspoon and the Three-Stripes Brand is a match made in heaven, and in true SW fashion, the EQT SUPEREARTH combined retro colours and the stitching seen on the Superstar silhouette a few years before to create something extraordinary. Completely vegan, the 2022 collaboration is forward-thinking and moving sneaker culture towards a better place.
F is for Forum
Yet again, the adidas Forum was originally a basketball sneaker launched in 1984 (you will have heard this date referenced in many models). Combining both a Velcro strap and laces, this was a unique take on a sneaker silhouette. The idea was to create a ‘criss-cross ankle system’ that protected the weak spots in the ankle for the whole team, making the shoe a safe and great pair to play b-ball in.
G is for GANNI x New Balance
The 20-year-old New Balance 2002R has been the subject of many collaborations in recent times, but one of our favourites has to be the GANNI x New Balance releases from April 2022. The Danish fashion label released two sneakers, one green and one cream, which were crafted with sustainability in mind and took the 2002R silhouette to the next level. GANNI’s signature logo took over the colourful and busy sneakers, with rainbow accents appearing on both pairs.
H is for Huarache
Legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield designed the Air Huarache in 1991. Unlike anything anybody had seen before, the silhouette consisted of a sock-like inner lining surrounded by leather and TPU overlays. Unlike the Air Max 90 that was released the year before, the Air Huarache didn’t adopt the Air Max technology, and separated itself with a Phylon midsole. A firm favourite in sneakerheads’ wardrobes across the globe still today, the Huarache isn’t looking to go anywhere any time soon.
I is for Ivy Park x adidas
Beyonce-led brand Ivy Park takes on an athletic approach to fashion. Her collaboration with adidas always sees exciting and unique takes on sneakers we’ve seen previously, but presents them in such a way that we feel we’ve never seen them before. Usually coming in bright and outrageous colour schemes, Ivy Park x adidas is sure to brighten your gym rotation. One of our favourites has to be the Ivy Park x adidas Sleek Super 72 “ICY PARK”.
J is for JJJJound
Starting off as a digital mood board, the Justin Saunders-led JJJJound website became popular with designers and creatives before the Montreal label started to release clothing and other pieces of merchandise in 2008. Though for us, it's JJJJound’s footwear collaborations that really take the biscuit. Having collaborated with the likes of BAPE and Vans, as well as New Balance and Dr. Martens, there’s no limit to the brand’s foray into the footwear sphere.
K is for KITH
Ronnie Fieg’s Kith has seen quite the number of collaborations. Whether it’s Clarks, Off-White or Nike, there’s a partnership sneaker to suit all. Meaning ‘family’ or ‘friends’, the close-knit company sells its own clothing and apparel, as well as other brands. Each flagship store opening has been honoured with an Air Force 1 release. Our favourite has to be the “Hawaii” edition.
L is for Levi’s
Having collaborated with a number of companies, famed denim brand Levi’s always has added a jeans-inspired twist to many popular silhouettes. Often, these renditions deliver a fuzzy texture to the sneakers, as well as the red label Levi’s is recognisable from. Our favourite are the most recent New Balance 990v3s in both “Blue” and “Grey” denim, but the Air Jordan 4 collaboration is also iconic!
M is for MNVN 700
The Yeezy Boost 700 “Minivan”, or MNVN, first debuted in 2018 in an outrageous green colourway, and hasn’t really veered away from the loud colours since. The shape is the same as the original 700 silhouette, however nothing much else matches up. The nylon upper feels extremely retro (and maybe not in a good way…) and the 700 branding comes reflective, without fail.
N is for NMD
Said to be the perfect blend of ‘old and new’, the adidas NMD made a very quiet debut and sat in the shadow of the Ultra Boost silhouette for a while. However, the fusion of Primeknit, Boost and classic adidas design made sure that this sneaker was not secret for very long. The classic “Black/Red/White/Blue” iteration released late 2015, and is still a staple in rotations around the world.
O is for Ozweego
The adidas Ozweego is a household name in the sneaker scene. It originally launched in 1996, but was taken over by Raf Simons in 2013 who made it one seriously chunky sneaker full of cushioning and comfort. The Ozweego we see most commonly now was re-released in 2019 by adidas and gives off serious Yeezy vibes.
P is for PUMA
German sports giant PUMA was founded in 1948 by the brother of the guy who started adidas! Known for releasing innovative, new silhouettes on the regular, as well as remixing some of their older styles for a modern-day audience, PUMA has made sure they’re just as relevant now as they were in the ‘80s. Having worked with the likes of Dua Lipa and Cara Delevingne, the brand has the large following and celebrity backing that’s so important to success these days. Its clothing is just as popular as its sneakers are; no wonder it’s the third biggest sportswear brand in the world.
Q is for QNTM
Yeezy’s QNTM, or Quantum, silhouette is one chunky sneaker that is on the more experimental side compared to some of Ye’s other trainers. These basketball sneakers are equipped with Boost cushioning and reflective detailing, as well as a wildly cushioned ankle and luxurious suede overlays. Whilst not everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no doubt that these are guaranteed to be a premium pair of Yeezys that will make an impact with every wear.
R is for Reebok
British sports brand Reebok has been around for a while. Like, since 1895 while. Priding itself on technical sportswear and equipment, Reebok has perfected the art of balancing the line between athletes' needs and the general consumers’ wants. Having released collaborations with the likes of JJJJound, Maison Margiela, BAPE, Jelly Belly and Patta proves just how versatile the brand is!
S is for Stüssy
Californian-born Stüssy sought to epitomise casual, surfing clothing into what we know streetwear to be today. It began with Shawn Stüssy selling t-shirts and board shorts alongside the surfboards, and grew organically into something huge. The brand’s sneaker collaborations are some of the best around. We explored the best Stüssy x Nike releases here, make sure to check them out.
T is for TN Air Max Plus
One of the most distinct silhouettes in the Air Max line-up, the Tuned Air or TN or Nike Air Max Plus, was originally released as a running shoe in 1998. The Sean McDowell silhouette features a mesh upper with TPU overlays and a vibrant Air technology unit in the midsole. The TN logo sits in bright yellow on the heel counter. If you want a pair… Just Do It.
U is for Ultra Boost
adidas’ Ultra Boost is the best of the best. Designed as a running shoe in 2015, the Ultra Boost was marketed as ‘the best in the world’, and it’s easy to see why. Not only popular amongst athletes, but fashion-conscious individuals and sneakerheads alike, the Ultra Boost has been reimagined various times, always bringing a new flavour. Those in the field have predicted that the Ultra Boost will make a comeback very soon. Will you be rocking?
V is for Vans Old Skool
Regardless of whether you are a skater or not, the Vans’ Old Skool silhouette is a must-have for your rotation. Designed to be beaten up on the board, these durable and hardy kicks definitely stand the test of time. Not only this, but they’re never not in fashion. Whether you prefer a platform or flat sole, patterns or plain, the Vans Old Skool is there to rely on.
W is for Wave Runner
The Yeezy Boost 700 Wave Runner is arguably the best sneaker of all time. The beginning of the ‘dad shoe’ trend, the Wave Runner set the tone for many sneaker releases that came after this. Combining subtle grey tones with bright pops of orange, teal and yellow, this is one shoe that every sneakerhead needs in their wardrobe. adidas’ Boost technology is concealed away in the midsole, making this sneaker one of the most comfortable of its time.
X is for XC-72
An updated twist on a classic 1970’s design, the XC-72 adds futuristic detailing and clean lines to an otherwise archived New Balance silhouette. Having been reinvented by the likes of French fashion label Casablanca and U.K.-based retailer, END. Clothing, the XC-72 is one of the most contemporary designs out there. We’re here for it.
Y is for Yeezy 350
We’ve already mentioned the ‘flop’ 700 MNVN and the hot Wave Runner, but the most iconic Yeezy silhouette of all time has to be the Yeezy Boost 350. Comfortable and cool, the Yeezy 350 uses adidas’ Primeknit for the upper and Boost technology in the midsole to make the wearing experience as good as it can be. The “Turtle Dove” iteration was the first of its kind and lent itself to the Ultra Boost boom we were seeing in the mid 2010s. The first time we see the V2 silhouette is in 2016, one year after the sneaker’s initial launch. The Yeezy Boost V2 “Beluga” is one of the most beloved Yeezys, still to this day.
Z for Zoom Air Fire
There’s many fitting sneakers we could have chosen for ‘Z’, but one of the most overlooked and underrated silhouettes on the Swoosh Brand’s current release roster is the women’s Zoom Air Fire. Lending itself to the chunky trainer trend that seems just as popular now as it did five years ago, the Zoom Air Fire combines mesh and leather to create one versatile running shoe that looks good out and about, whatever the occasion.