Popular Sports Shoes in the Late 80s

Written by nancy hayden
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Popular Sports Shoes in the Late 80s
Michael Jordan was one of the first '80s super athletes to inspire a sports shoe. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images)

Throughout much of the '80s, a few brands of sneakers such as Vans and Keds for girls became the must-have shoe of the moment. By the late '80s, though, the sports shoe was king for both guys and girls. Thanks to celebrity athletes and the hip hop music scene bringing the shoes into vogue, designer sneakers became all the rage. A few brand names ruled this '80s style.

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Nike

Nike began in 1967 and became an industry leader in the '80s by partnering with celebrity athletes to market their brand. Air Jordans were named for basketball superstar Michael Jordan and were considered by many to be the beginning of the '80s designer sneaker craze. Air Jordans were high-top leather shoes with the iconic Nike swoop logo and Jordan's leaping silhouette on the back or bottom. They ranged from simple white leather with black accents to bright colour combinations and even patent leather.

Adidas

Adidas was another hugely popular brand name in '80s sports shoes. As rap and hip-hop became more mainstream, people began wearing the styles of their favourite artists. Rappers and their fans wore adidas nylon track suits with the brand's iconic tri-stripe design down the arm and leg. People also wore low-top adidas sneakers, even in the midst of the high-top phenomenon. Basic adidas styles of the day were one colour of leather with the three side stripes in an accent colour. They had nearly flat heels, like wrestling shoes, although styles with a slightly thicker heel became trendy.

Converse

Converse All-Star high-tops, also known as Chuck Taylor's, had been the quintessential high-top sneaker long before the late '80s sports shoe craze. Converse released the canvas All-Star brand back in the 1910s. Taylor was a high school basketball star who later took a job with Converse and his name was added to the shoe in the '30s. By the late '80s both guys and girls were wearing both high and low-top Chucks, although the high-tops were a bigger trend. The shoes came in every colour imaginable and even patterns such as stars and stripes or camouflage.

Reebok

Reebok released their high-top sports shoes in 1982 and they quickly became trendy, especially with women. In cities like New York women walked to work in their '80s power suits. They carried their pumps and wore slouch socks and tennis shoes to make the long trek. Soon the look caught on and turned into a fashion trend. By the late '80s, girls wore Reebok high-tops with leggings, skirts or tight jeans. The shoes had two Velcro straps at the top and the basic design was all white, although other colours were available.

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