3. Nike Air Jordan
Release Date: 1985
For a sneaker from 1985 to even make this list, let alone get into the top three, it had to be something pretty special. And the original Nike Air Jordan was just that. Nike played it just right with Michael Jordan, buiding hype by putting him in the shoe as early as the pre-season, airing commercials on how the NBA banned the shoe, having him wear ALL the gear for the 1985 Dunk Contest, then finally releasing the shoe at retail on April 1st. The result? Immediate sellthrough, kids (and adults) getting robbed for their sneakers, and $100 million in business the first year. This is as big as it got in the pre-internet era.