Some shoes are just iconic, but what is it that makes a pair of shoes so timeless? Is it the celebrity or athlete endorsements? The colorways and silhouettes? The designer, perhaps? Whatever the reason, these five sneakers have serious staying power.
Timberland boots have been an American icon since the early 1970s and are the ultimate timeless shoes. Originally released in 1973, Timberland’s waterproof boots were the first of their kind. Quality craftsmanship and features like the heavy lug soles and premium full-grain leather are what made these yellow boots so iconic. Today, Timberland boots can be found almost everywhere, and are popular with outdoor enthusiasts, professional trade workers, celebrities and everyday people who want a tough, weather-ready pair of boots.
Nike Air Huarache
Inspired by water-skiing booties and Mayan Sandals, the unmistakable Nike Air Huarache not only changed the way sneakers looked in the early 1990s, it would change how a pair of sneakers fit, too. This new futuristic concept promised a close fit that “hugged” the foot. And while today it might seem underwhelming, this idea was incredibly innovative in 1991 and forever changed the sneaker industry. With a myriad of clever advertising designed to infiltrate an untapped market, the Nike Air Huarache not only served as a performance athletic trainer, but a good-looking everyday shoe for anyone. And that’s still true all these years later.
Adidas Stan Smith
Adidas’s Stan Smith is instantly recognizable. In the beginning, the shoe was named for the tennis player Robert Haillet, who was endorsed by Adidas at the time. Later, in 1978, the shoe we know and love today took a new namesake — Stan Smith, another tennis phenom who was also endorsed by Adidas. While Smith has long been retired from the game, the Stan Smith remains an iconic tennis shoe for its sleek, minimalist design and versatility. Bridging a series of different aesthetics, this timeless shoe works for everything, whether paired with ripped jeans and band tees or button-down tops and chinos.
Sneakerheads give the Puma Suede a lot of credit for the way modern sneakers look and fit today. In fact, shoe junkies will say that this shoe singlehandedly paved the way for all modern sneaker styles. And it’s easy to see why. The Puma Suede’s low-profile and a rainbow of colorways make this shoe a must-have for any shoe collector.
In the 1960s there were just two choices for athletic shoe uppers — leather or canvas. The Puma Suede are timeless shoes that changed that. During that time, suede was considered a luxury fabric and wasn’t seen on a tennis shoe. That summer, the Puma Suede made its debut at the Olympic Games on the feet of runner John Carlos. And the rest is history.
One of the first to feature velcro straps, the Reebok Ex-O-Fit was practically destined to be influential. Originally released in 1983, this high-top sneaker rocketed in popularity throughout the 80s, especially in the fitness industry. The focus on healthy lifestyles was bigger than ever before and practically everyone was wearing these shoes at the gym. Today, you can still find this classic silhouette. And although the shoe has been modernized, its retro look remains.
There’s no denying that these fab five timeless shoes are cultural icons. From unique fabrics and first-of-their-time designs, these time-tested shoes aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.