The Olympics are icon-makers— turning moments, athletes, and their sneakers into legendary symbols.

Ever four years, the best athletes from all over convene on the world's biggest sporting stage to showcase their supreme physical (and mental) abilities. To give themselves the best chance at Olympic glory, athletes gravitate toward the best tools of the trade (in our case footwear) available. Naturally, brands use this grand opportunity to introduce new innovative products and marketing strategies to appeal to the billions watching. From this year's Nike Volt domination at the Track & Field events to Mizunos' international appeal in a variety of sports, including volleyball, soccer and everything else in between, this year's Olympic Games have brought us unforgettable footwear moments to add to our all-time favorites.

Click through above to see the expected (Michael Johnson's famous gold Nikes) and the unexpected (1926 Chuck Taylors) iconic Olympic sneaker moments.


No. 20 - Nike Zoom Vapor Tour 9

Athlete: Roger Federer

Event: Men's Tennis

Year: 2012 London

Roger Federer won the silver for Switzerland at this year's Games in the Nike Zoom Vapor Tour tennis kicks. The Zoom Vapor Tours feature Adaptive Fit and Zoom responsive cushioning for superior play on the court- classic, yet innovative.


No. 19 - Puma evoSPEED Spikes

Athlete: Usain Bolt

Event: Track & Field

Year: 2012 London


Usain Bolt recently won the 100m with a world record time of 9.63, and the 200m, in the Puma evoSpeed Spikes. These are sure to reach iconic status once the Games are over.

No. 18 -  Nike Flyknit Performance Track Spikes

Athlete: Dathan Ritzenhein

Event: Men's 10,000M

Year: 2012 London


Nike introduced their Flyknit technology during the 2012 London Games. Many of the Nike athletes wore the Flyknits during trials and on the medal stand. Ritzenhein finally brought them out during competition, winning silver in the 10,000M. The Flyknits' new woven upper technique is quite possibly the future of running footwear.

No. 17 - Diadora Track Spikes

Athlete: Ben Johnson

Event: Men's 100M

Year: 1988 Seoul

By 1988, Johnson, as the world record holder in the 100M dash with a time of 9.83, was already a household name. During the '88 Games Johnson lowered that time to 9.79, beating out Carl Lewis for the gold, which, later was taken away due to a positive drug test. Diadora custom-made his track shoes using a cast of his foot. The exclusive shoe allowed Johnson to grip with all five toes. However, after the doping scandal, the spikes disappeared without a trace.

No. 16 - Puma Tempo 1

Athlete: Armin Hary

Event: London Olympics

Year: 1960 Rome

Notorious for his "fast" starts, Hary wore the Puma Tempo 1 as he attempted to break the 100M world record during the 1960 Games. Armin didn't break it, but he did win gold. He also tried to get paid by Puma and adidas during those Games, wearing Puma on the track and adidas on the medal stand.

No. 15 - Nike Zoom Track Spikes

Athlete: Carl Lewis

Event: Track & Field

Year: 1984 Los Angeles

Carl Lewis wore these custom Nike Zoom track spikes when he made history after becoming the first person since Jesse Owens to win gold in four Track & Field events in one Olympics. Lewis won the 100 m, 200 m, 4x100 m relay and the Long jump.

No. 14 - Nike Air Force 180 Low

Athlete: Charles Barkley

Event: Men's Basketball

Year: 1992 Barcelona

The Nike Air Force 180 was built for Charles Barkley and his physical style. At the time, these were the lightest and featured the most cushioning of any Nike shoe on the market. The special Olympic colorway was introduced for Barkley's stint on the Dream Team.


No. 13 - adidas Grand Slam

Athlete: Steffi Graf

Event: Women's Tennis

Year: 1988 Seoul

Steffi Graff became the first (and only) person to win the Golden Grand Slam in one year. She won gold during the '88 Seoul Games wearing the adidas Grand Slam. The tennis kicks featured the revolutionary three-peg cushioning system.

No. 12 - Karhu Running Spikes

Athlete: Wes Santee

Event: Track & Field

Year: 1952 Helsinki

Wes Santee wore these track shows made by the Finnish company Karhu during the '52 Helsinki Games. He didn't medal in those games, but he was on another mission. Santee was one of three runners considered to be able to run a four minute mile. He never reached his goal, but he introduced the world to these sweet spikes.

No. 11 - Nike Air Swoopes

Athlete: Sheryl Swoopes

Event: Women's Basketball

Year: 1996 Atlanta

Sheryl Swoopes became the first woman to have a signature shoe when Nike designed the Air Swoopes for her. Swoopes wore this Olympic colorway during the '96 Atlanta Games and helped the Team USA steamroll the opposition to a gold medal. The kicks became so popular that even guys were lining up to get a pair.


No. 10 -  Puma Complete Theseus

Athlete: Usain Bolt

Event: Track & Field

Year: 2008 Beijing

Usain Bolt broke three world records in 2008 wearing these gold Puma Complete Theseus'—the 100 m, 200 m and 4x100 m relay. Bolt is the first person since Carl Lewis to win three sprinting medals in the same Olympics.

No. 9 - adidas Kangaroo Leather Spikes

Athlete: Wilma Rudolph

Event: Track & Field

Year: 1960 Rome

Despite having suffered from polio as a child, Wilma Rudolph made history as the first American woman to win three gold medals in Track & Field in a single Olympics. Adidas made a spike made of lightweight Kangaroo leather to help her get into the record books.

No. 8 - Foster's Running Pump

Athlete: Harold Abrahams

Event: Men's 100M

Year: 1924 Paris

The Foster's Running Pump changed the game. The shoe featured six spikes in the front for traction and the upper was made of lightweight leather. Abrahams won two medals wearing the Running Pumps—gold in the 100M and silver in the 4x100M Relay. He battled Eric Liddell in the 100M - both wearing the Pumps - a rivalry that was captured in the 1981 movie "Chariots of Fire."

No. 7 - Onitsuka Tiger Runspark

Athlete: Lasse Viren

Event: 10,000M

Year: 1972 Munich

Viren won two gold medals in Montreal donning the Onitsuka Tiger Runspark. When he won the 10,000M, he took off his Tigers and ran the victory lap with them above his head in order for the crowd to get a better look. One of the first acts of shameless promotion by a sneaker company.

No. 6- Dassler Brother's Shoe Factory Track Cleats

Athlete: Jesse Owens

Event: Track & Field

Year: 1936 Berlin

Owens won four gold medals in Track & Field wearing the Dassler Bros. Track Cleat during the '36 Berlin Games. He became the first African-American athlete to have an endorsement.

No. 5 -  Spalding Original

Athlete: Archie Hahn

Event: Track & Field

Year: 1904 St. Louis

Archie Hahn won the 60M, 100M and 200M events at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics rocking the Spalding Original. This style of running shoe became popular and was the norm in the sport until the mid '50s.

No. 4 - Converse Chuck Taylor

Athlete: Team USA

Event: Men's Basketball

Year: 1936 Berlin

Although, Chuck Taylors have around since 1917, the classic optical white version was introduced during the 1936 Olympics for Team USA Basketball. These are still iconic after nearly a hundred years.


No. 3 - Nike Waffle Trainer

Athlete: Steve Prefontaine

Event: Men's 5,000M

Year: 1972 Munich

"Pre" was the first to wear the Nike Waffle Trainer in Olympic competition. He was one of the favorites to win the 5,000M race, but ran out of gas towards the end. The Nike Waffle featured a revolutionary sole that was lightweight and provided superior grip compared to other shoes on the market.


No. 2 - Nike Air Jordan Olympic VII

Athlete: Michael Jordan

Event: Men's Basketball

Year: 1992 Barcelona

Nike decided to give MJ an Olympic colorway for the '92 Barcelona Games. The gold accents and his USA jersey No. 9 on the back make these one of a kind. No wonder they're still popular today.


No. 1 - Nike Gold Track Spikes

Athlete: Michael Johnson

Event: Men's 200M

Year: 1996 Atlanta

Michael Johnson broke the 200M record with a time of 19.32 seconds wearing these golden spikes. The record stood for 10 years until Usain Bolt broke it at the 2008 Olympics with a 19.30.