Major sports brands like Nike and Adidas are constantly pushing the boundaries of sports footwear design, looking to improve not just the look, but the performance of their shoes to help athletes succeed. Producing thousands of cutting edge sporting designs over the years, every sport now has its own iconic shoe, so we thought we’d take a look at the standout sneakers, from the football pitch to the tennis court.
Tennis - Adidas Stan Smith
While the Dunlop Green Flash might hold a special nostalgic place in the hearts of many tennis fans, this other green and white classic knocks it out of the ball park. The Adidas Stan Smith is the biggest-selling tennis shoe of all time. Working with tennis ace Stan Smith, Adidas launched this shoe onto the court in 1971. It’s now available in eight different models, and has shifted more than 30 million pairs to date. It stands out from the Adidas line up, as it features three subtle stripes of perforated holes rather than the traditional solid Adidas bands.
Basketball – Adidas Superstar
This is a tough one to call. The world of basketball has been responsible for so many iconic trainers, many of them reaching legendary status thanks to their crossover appeal. Nike Air Jordans, Chuck Taylor All-Star Converse, Reebok Pumps – all have become essential footwear on the streets as well as on the basketball court. For sheer staying power and global appeal, we’ve decided to go with the Adidas Superstar. As well as becoming the go-to footwear for the hip-hop scene during the 80s, this shoe was a truly important part of the world of basketball. The first ever low-cut leather basketball shoe, it featured the unique ‘shell toe’, and just a few years after it first launched in 1969, three-quarters of all NBA players were wearing these on the court.
Football – Puma King
Truly the king of all football boots, Puma Kings have scored more World Cup goals than any other shoe. First launched in 1968, in black, white and gold, just about every footballing legend you care to mention has put one in the back of the net wearing a pair of these. Maradona, Pele, and Cruyff famously wore Kings, with Eusebio scoring 42 goals in them in 1968 to make him Europe’s leading goal scorer and winner of the Golden Boot. In 2008, to mark the boot’s 40th anniversary, they launched a special edition Puma King in his honour. Puma have made only slight alterations to the model over the years, with the original still available today.
Running – Nike Air Max
Always at the forefront of sportswear design, Nike launched their Air Max range with the Nike Air Max 1 in 1987. The first running shoe to feature a visible air unit in the heel, this air-filled pocket provided extra cushioning and support for the heel, and looked real cool too. Quickly becoming a status symbol shoe in high schools, it’s another sneaker that was adopted by the hip-hop scene. Nike continues to launch Air Max models to this day, making it one of the most successful running shoe ranges of all time.