You might have a friend or two that considers themselves to be a bonafide sneakerhead. You’ve never quite understood the hype–until now.
Thanks to high-quality sneakers and devoted sneaker collectors, sneaker-collecting is now a multi-billion dollar industry. The right pair of shoes could turn into a real asset for you as time goes on.
The question is, how do you decide where to start? When you’re building a sneaker collection from scratch, it can seem like there are too many options–classic and brand new–to choose from.
The good news is that we’ve done the research and narrowed it down to the top seven sneakers you need to start a sneaker collection. Read on so that you can skip the trial and error and start investing the right way.
1. Air Jordan 1
A good sneaker has always been in high demand, especially after receiving an athlete endorsement. However, nothing quite changed the sneaker game like the 1985 rollout of the Air Jordan 1. Sure, there are tons of Air Jordans you can choose from, but make sure that you start with the classic (and that means highs, not mids).
The Air Jordan 1 is a perfect sneaker for any occasion. They look great with anything from a pair of jeans to a pair of joggers and while a fellow sneakerhead will recognize them as retro gold, they don’t look outdated or out of style.
2. Nike Air Max
If you’re building a collection based purely on style, you’ll find that your collection isn’t complete without a pair from the Nike Air Max series. One of the OG tech runners, these sneakers still look sleek and stylish with a pair of jeans. The thick back sole will give you a little extra height and cushion, but runners beware: these aren’t for running.
We know what you’re thinking: they’re tech runners which means that they were designed for running. This is true but keep in mind that modern tech runners are far more advanced than their OG brothers. Go with an updated model like the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 if you’re trying to hit the pavement.
3. Chuck Taylor High Top
A lot of brands have tried and failed to make their own version of Chuck Taylor high tops. Sure, there are some convincing look-alikes out there, but a true sneakerhead will spot the dud a mile away. Add a pair of tried and true Chuck Taylor high tops to your collection to make sure that you’re covering your bases.
Not sure where to start? We suggest purchasing the pair of high tops that speaks most to your personal style. To go truly classic, stick with the Chuck 70 High line–but don’t be afraid to branch out a little.
4. Adidas Stan Smith
If you have any sneakerheads in your life, you’ve almost definitely come across a pair of these Adidas sneakers. Named after the 70s and 80s tennis legend, these sneakers are as simple and timeless as they come.
If you’re going for the original Stan Smith, seek out the supple white leather with green accents and gold lettering. If you’d rather go for a more modern look, don’t hesitate to check out the evolution of Stan Smith sneakers that have come out over the years.
5. Vans OG SK8-Hi LX
If you want to live like a sneakerhead, you’re going to have to shop like a skater at least once in your lifetime. Sneakers aren’t all about professional athletes and million-dollar endorsements. Skater culture is a huge part of sneaker culture and the Vans OG SK8-Hi LX is about as authentically “skater” as they come.
Sure, the checkered low tops are arguably the most recognizable Vans sneaker. However, the high top OG SK8 gets more recognition from the sneaker collecting world. And don’t worry–for a skater shoe, the OG SK8 is pretty lightweight and well-fitted.
6. Yeezy Boost 350
Any strong collection of sneakers is going to include at least one pair fit for a hype beast. For a long time, nailing that hype beast look meant buying every pair of sneakers you saw your favorite rapper sporting. Now, rappers are getting in on the sneaker design game and no one is doing it quite like Ye (formerly known as Kanye West).
The Yeezy line was birthed out of the partnership between Ye and Adidas and every stub-nosed sneaker from the line is instantly recognizable. Get your hands on any pair that suits you but we recommend anything from the Yeezy Boost 350 series. Not only is the 350 series stylish but these shoes are also ridiculously comfortable.
7. A Childhood Favorite
When you start talking to avid sneaker collectors, you’re going to start hearing the term “grail” quite a bit. What does it mean to buy sneakers that are your grail?
For most collectors, this means finding the pair of sneakers you coveted as a kid but couldn’t buy. With the sneaker industry booming, we’re seeing so many rereleases of classic kicks that we can’t even keep track.
The best way to start looking for your grail is to start with an affordable but extensive sneaker retailer. Check it out! Be warned, however; nothing seems to turn a casual sneaker collector into a serious sneakerhead like finding your grail.
Start Your Sneaker Collection Off on the Right Foot
If you’re trying to start a sneaker collection, it’s important to buy sneakers that impress. Use our list of the seven best sneakers to buy and build your collection the right way. Even if you don’t go beyond these seven, you’ll have a collection fit for a king.
Looking for more guides to the best products you can buy? Take a look around as we review everything from tech to skincare to help you cut to the chase.