The Complete Beginners Guide To Sneakers

Sneakers and Streetwear go hand in hand. The casual look of a sneaker allows it to blend perfectly with the informal, comfortable looks that tend to appear in street fashion.

However, there’re so many sneakers out there that if you want to become knowledgeable on the subject then it’s hard to know where to start. I intend to keep it basic.

I’ll be talking about the types of sneakers, popular sneaker brands, and where to get them.

Streetwear Sneakers

Sneaker Types

When it comes to sneakers, there are three main categories that they can fall into, low-top, mid-top, and high-top.

Low-tops
Low-tops are sneakers that do not cover the ankle.

Traditionally, they’ll be relatively lightweight and slim, making them better for summer than winter.

This is probably the type of sneaker you’ll see the most in day to day life.

Low top sneakers

Types of low-tops:
Runners: Runners are quite possibly the most popular sneaker type on the market right now. Runners really just blew up in the last 5 years thanks to the popularity of the Nike Roshe Run.

This shoe caused almost every sneaker brand under the sun to create some sort of athletic sneaker that was more geared towards fashion than sports.

One of the primary advantages of these shoes is the comfort.

Not only are they designed to look like running shoes, but they’re designed to feel like them too. The most popular runners today are probably the Adidas Ultraboost  and the Adidas NMD.

Nike Roshe Run Gold Black
Nike Roshe Run
Adidas Ultra Boost
Adidas Ultra Boost
Adidas NMD
Adidas NMD
Adidas Ultra Boost
Adidas Ultra Boost
Adidas NMD Collabs
Adidas NMD Collabs
Common Projects Achilles Low
Common Projects Achilles Low

Skate Shoes: Skate shoes are typically quite lightweight and made of canvas or leather.

They also often have thick soles which make them rather durable.

These definitely aren’t as comfortable as running shoes but they provide a completely different look that may appeal more to some people.

The most popular skate shoe brand by a mile is Vans.

They make a huge variety of shoes, but the Old Skool and the Era are probably the most iconic.

Vans Old Skool
Vans Old Skool
Vans Old Skool
Vans Old Skool
Vans Checkered Slip Ons
Vans Checkered Slip Ons
Vans Era
Vans Era
Nike Killshot 2
Nike Killshot 2

Other low-tops: Obviously there’s a lot of other types of low-top, but the categories are a little too specific to go into in much detail, so here’s some examples of popular low tops that I haven’t yet mentioned

adidas-stan-smith
Adidas Stan Smith
nike-air-force-one
Nike Air Force One
Maison Margiela
Maison Margiela
Adidas Stan Smith
Adidas Stan Smith
Adidas Gazelle
Adidas Gazelle
Adidas NMD and Adidas x Raf Simons
Adidas NMD and Adidas x Raf Simons
Adidas Gazelle
Adidas Gazelle
Ozweegos
Ozweegos

Mid-Tops
There honestly isn’t much to say about mid-tops. Basically a mid-top is anything between a high top, which cover the ankle, and a low-top, that doesn’t.

This is still a really unexplored area but we are seeing more and more really awesome sneakers coming out in mid top like the latest Nike Air Presto x Acronym and Yeezy Boost 550.

Nike Air Presto
Nike Air Presto
Nike Air Presto
Nike Air Presto
Adidas Tubulars
Adidas Tubulars
Adidas Tubular
Adidas Tubular
Adidas Stan Smith Mid
Adidas Stan Smith Mid

High-Tops
High-tops are sneakers that do cover the ankle.

Traditionally, they’ll be relatively bulky and a bit heavier on foot, making them better for winter than summer.

High-tops are not often seen outside of streetwear. They’re usually less understated than a nice, clean low top, and they don’t really look right with more formal outfits.

You’re not likely to see many high tops in menswear.

Yeezy 750 Boots
Yeezy 750 Boots

Types of high-top:
Basketball Sneakers: These are essentially the running shoes of the high top category.

Very casual, very comfortable, and they have a very athletic look.

Air Jordan 1s
Air Jordan 1s

Without a doubt, the most popular basketball sneakers in streetwear are Air Jordans. Most notably the 1’s, the 3’s, the 4’s and the 11’s.

Other High Tops: High tops come in a variety of different forms. Often a certain basketball inspiration can be seen, but the styles are so vastly different that they are hard to categorize.

You have very simple high tops like Converse & Sk8 Hi’s, you have Nike’s non-basketball related offerings such as the Blazer, you have crazy designer high tops like the Margiela Future &

the Geobasket, and you have so much more options that it would be impossible to list them all.

Converse
Converse
vans-sk8-hi
Vans Sk8 Hi
nike-blazer
Nike Blazer
margiela-future
Margiela Future
rick-owens-geobasket
Rick Owens Geobasket
Air Jordan 1 Shadow
Air Jordan 1 Shadow

 

Sneaker BrandsSneakers

 

Nike: Nike are without a doubt the most successful sneaker brand of all time because they make shoes for absolutely everyone.

I’d be very surprised if you couldn’t find at least one Nike shoe that you like. Additionally, they created the most successful line of basketball sneakers of all time, the Air Jordans. Basically, Nike

do it all, so if you’re looking for a dope sneaker, they probably have the shoe for you.

Adidas: Although I said Nike are the most successful sneaker brand of all time, Adidas probably have more appeal in the fashion world right now.

With their countless designer collabs and the increasing popularity of shoes featuring their boost technology, their definitely killing it right now and the streetwear scene is showing its appreciation.

Vans: Vans, although they predominantly just make skate shoes, have a huge presence in streetwear.

This is thanks to their knack for creating sneakers with a simple, versatile, but attractive silhouette.

If you’re looking for a basic, durable pair of shoes, then Vans are for you.

Other Brands: These three are probably the biggest, but there’s plenty other great brands out there. I’ll list a few below.

Converse
Puma
New Balance
Saucony
Asics
Filling Pieces
Common Projects

Designer Sneakers: If you have the money, plenty of designers also make great sneakers. I’ll list a few below.

Raf Simons
Rick Owens
Margiela
Balenciaga
Fear of God
Dolce & Gabbana

Where to buy

There’s countless sneaker stores out there, but some are significantly better than others. Below, I’m going to list what are, in my opinion, the 10 best sneaker stores right now.

End Clothing (Although its more so a clothing store, their sneaker selection is amazing and they get all of the high profile releases)

Flight Club (Easily accessible exclusive sneakers)

Hanon (Good variety, excellent sales)

Footpatrol (huge variety, occasionally decent sales, slightly higher end)

Footlocker (Its popular for a reason, it has one of the biggest selections of athletic sneakers out there)

Sneakersnstuff (Really nice collabs, good selection of sneakers ranging from affordable to high end)

Size? (Massive affordable selection, nice collabs)

Kith (Amazing collabs, decent selection of mid-high priced sneakers)

Concepts (Amazing collabs, huge range of sneakers from low-high end)

Extra Butter (Super nice physical location, decent selection)

So, there you have it, my introductory guide to sneakers. Obviously, there’s a lot more to know about than just what is here, but this covers most of the basics that you’ll need to know to start getting into sneaker culture!