The Best 90s Sneakers That Stole Our Hearts

ellesse shoes from the 90s

Hey there, sneakerheads! It’s time to rewind the clock and take a trip down memory lane. The ’90s were an unforgettable era when it came to fashion, and that includes some of the coolest sneakers ever made. So, strap in and join us as we explore the best¬†90s sneakers, packed with unique insights and little-known facts!

Table of Contents

90s Sneakers Brands

The 90s was a golden age for sneakers, with several brands dominating the market and pushing the boundaries of design, style, and technology. The most popular sneaker brands in the 90s were Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Aasics, Vans, New Balance, Fila, Puma, Converse, Saucony and LA Gear (remember those light up ones!!)


Nike¬†was at the top of its game in the ’90s, thanks to their collaboration with Michael Jordan (Nike Air Jordan series) and the popular Air Max line. Tinker Hatfield, a leading designer at¬†Nike, made a significant impact during this era with his innovative designs


Known for their quality and design,¬†Adidas¬†was a popular brand during the ’90s. They released memorable sneakers like the EQT Support, the Gazelle, and the iconic Adidas Superstar, which are still popular today.


Reebok was a big player in the ’90s sneaker game, releasing popular models like the Reebok Pump series and the¬†Reebok¬†Instapump Fury. Their partnership with athletes like Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson also boosted their popularity.


Particularly popular among runners,¬†ASICS¬†was renowned for their technology and performance. The Gel-Lyte III and Kayano series were particularly popular during the ’90s.


A staple in skate culture,¬†Vans¬†had a significant impact on the ’90s sneaker scene with popular models like the Vans Half Cab and Old Skool.

New Balance

Known for their comfort and functionality,¬†New Balance¬†also made a mark in the ’90s with models like the New Balance 1500 and 990 series. Their sneakers became popular not only among athletes but also casual wearers.


FILA was a trendsetter in the ’90s, particularly in the realm of chunky, bold sneakers. Their signature models, such as the¬†FILA¬†Disruptor, became a defining aesthetic of the ’90s sneaker scene.


Was Puma popular in the 90s?

Puma continued to be popular in the 90s as they created innovative designs like the Puma Disc, which featured a unique disc closure system. The brand was just as popular in the 90s as it is today


Were Converse popular in the 90s? 

Yes without a doubt Converse were popular in the 90s! Their¬†Chuck Taylor All Star range continued to be a staple in everyone’s sneaker collection during the 90s and beyond!


While¬†Airwalk¬†may not be as prevalent today, it was a significant brand during the ’90s, particularly within the skateboarding community.

What Sneakers were popular in the 90s?

It’s pretty much impossible to pick the best sneakers of the 90s but we can give you the most popular sneakers of the 90s, so join us as we count them down and revisit the most influential era of the 90s sneaker world.

Nike Air Jordan 6 (1991)

Nike Air Jordan 6 (1991) – Infrared These iconic sneakers were the ones Michael Jordan wore during his first NBA Championship win. The bold infrared colorway and icy outsole made them instant classics.

Reebok Shaq Attaq (1992)

¬†The Shaq Attaq was the first signature shoe for the legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal. The shoe featured Reebok’s Pump technology, providing a custom fit for its wearers and for the big man himself!

Reebok Kamikaze II (1995)

These sneakers were made famous by Shawn Kemp, featuring a striking zigzag design that captured the essence of the ’90s. They’ve since been renamed to “The Blast Shoe”.


Fila Grant Hill 2 (1996)

Perhaps taking the crown for best 1996 fashion sneakers, the Fila Grant Hill 2 debuted during Grant Hill’s second season in the NBA. The unique midsole design and bold colorways made them a favorite among basketball fans.

Nike Air Max 90 (1990)

¬†As one of the early 90’s sneakers that really took the world by storm was the Air Max 90 which introduced the iconic visible Air unit in the sole, taking sneaker design to a whole new level. It remains a classic, even three decades later.

Reebok Instapump Fury (1994)

These sneakers, designed by Steven Smith, featured a pump mechanism and a split sole, making them one of the most innovative and futuristic designs of the ’90s.

Adidas EQT Support (1991)

The Adidas EQT Support was part of the “Equipment” line, focusing on performance and functionality. Its unique lacing system and Three Stripes branding made it an instant classic.

Nike Air Jordan 11 (1995)

Concord This sleek model, featuring patent leather and a carbon fiber spring plate, was considered the perfect blend of style and performance. MJ wore these during the ’95-’96 NBA season, the start of the Bulls’ second three-peat.

New Balance 1500 (1993)

The New Balance 1500 boasted a sleek design and ENCAP cushioning technology, quickly becoming a favorite among runners and sneaker enthusiasts alike.

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 2000 (1993)

A modernized version of the iconic Chucks, this iteration featured a sleeker design and improved cushioning, perfect for the grunge era.

Vans Half Cab (1992)

Designed by skateboarding legend Steve Caballero, the Half Cab was an instant hit among skaters and offered superior ankle support.

ASICS Gel-Lyte III (1990)

The Gel-Lyte III introduced the split tongue design, which eliminated the problem of tongue slippage, making it a favorite among runners.


Puma Disc (1991)

The Puma Disc was the first laceless sneaker, boasting a futuristic disc closure system. Fun fact: the disc mechanism was inspired by the braking system used in high-performance bikes.


Nike Air More Uptempo (1996)

Featuring the word “AIR” in bold lettering, the Air More Uptempo was a hit on and off the court. Fun fact: Scottie Pippen wore these during the 1996 Olympics

Nike Air Flight Huarache (1992)

Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the Air Flight Huarache was inspired by the South American sandal. Its minimalist design and neoprene bootie made it a popular choice among basketball players and sneaker enthusiasts.

Adidas Streetball 2 (1993)

The Streetball 2 was designed specifically for outdoor basketball. With its rugged outsole and flashy colorways, it quickly became a favorite among streetball players.



Ewing 33 Hi (1990)

Patrick Ewing’s signature shoe featured a high-top design and a reversible ankle strap, offering both style and support. The shoe’s popularity helped establish Ewing Athletics as a major player in the sneaker game.

LA Gear Lights (1992)

The LA Gear Lights were the first sneakers to feature LED lights in the heels. This unique feature, along with their bold design, made them a must-have for kids and adults alike.

Light up 90s sneakers the LA Gear Lights from 1992 in black and purple

Saucony Grid 9000 (1994)

The Grid 9000 was known for its unique mix of mesh, suede, and neoprene materials, as well as its innovative cushioning system. It became a go-to sneaker for those seeking both comfort and style.

Nike Dunk High (1990)

Originally designed for basketball, the Dunk High gained popularity among skateboarders and streetwear enthusiasts. With its simple silhouette and countless colorways, it remains a timeless classic.

Want to own a pair? Check out our guide on where to buy 90s sneakers and discover the best sources to find these coveted gems. And for a deeper dive into the fascinating technology behind these sneakers, don’t miss our post on 90s sneaker developments. You may be interested in these other posts to fully immerse yourself in the world of ’90s sneaker culture or perhaps you’d rather check out our best 90s football boots instead!

Rounding up the best 90s Sneakers

The 90s were a golden age for sneakers, with innovative designs and groundbreaking technologies that continue to influence the industry today.

¬†These top 20 coolest sneakers of the ’90s are more than just nostalgic footwear ‚Äď they’re a testament to the era’s creativity and style. So, the next time you lace up your kicks, remember to pay homage to the decade that started it all!