8. Eric Avar
Who And Why: Nike designer, innovator
Eric Avar was named Footwear Designer of the Decade (2000s) by NiceKicks.com for a number of reasons, but his greatest influence on sneakers at this moment is the way he's changed the appeal of performance basketball sneakers. In the summer of 2008 a renaissance in footwear design occurred: Nike introduced both Flywire and Lunar at the same time, the first time Nike had released two game-changing technologies concurrently that complemented one another in footwear design. Kobe jumping over an Aston Martin and taking home a "Redeem Team" Gold later, Avar again changed the way we looked at basketball shoes when he unveiled the Nike Zoom Kobe IV, debunking the myth that you couldn't play the highest level of basketball in low tops. Each subsequent year, the Nike Hyperdunk and Kobe line have been elevated to new heights, building their own legacies.