Why Red Is the Best Colorway Ever (As Explained by Science)

A scientific explanation of why red is the only color that matters.

Written by Gerald Flores

It’s perceived as the color of power, anger, and excitement. The hue is also found on every flagship Air Jordan

Is there any colorway better than red?  

According to experts, there’s a biological reason why we all have a reaction to the color. When the eyes see it, blood pressure goes up, we blink more frequently, and our brains are more alert - which might explain why red colorways are currently receive the most comments in the sneaker blogoshphere.

“Unlike other colors, the color red exudes power,” said Libby Parker, color team coordinator for global product development at MAC Cosmetics. “Red is one of the brightest and fiery colors, and when focusing on shade direction of a product, it immediately displays strength.”

The color red also has a psychological effect on the people wearing it. An anthropological study at the University of Durham found that sports teams that incorporate red in their uniforms have a higher probability of winning. The study also shows that human performance in contests is enhanced when a red stimuli is attached

Sound familiar?

Psychologists have proven that there’s no other color that gets people’s attention and holds it better than red. Marketers and designers in the sneaker industry have tapped into that truth. Red monochrome looks have been bubbling in sneaker culture for the past two years now, in everything from signature Nike basketball lines to Pharrell’s collection of monotone adidas Stan Smiths. 

With good reason. Not only is red the most eye-catching, but many marketing experts believe red is the number one color used for increasing sales. Whether we notice it or not, the color has a subconscious impact on how we view sneakers.

Not everyone’s reaction to the color is the same. Co. Design spoke to psychologist Markus Maier of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich who said: "What is really remarkable is the fact that one and the same color can exert opposite behaviors depending on the circumstances under which it is displayed," he said.

Lauren Labrecque of Loyola University Chicago, studies the role of color in marketing and her research found that just adding red to a logo or branding can immediately alter the perception and personality of a product. "Often with these different sensory effects, people think they're in control--oh, this doesn't influence me," she told Co. Design. "But time and time again we see it does."

We live in a sneaker culture where brands churn out a superabundance of colorways for each specific model. This new generation of sneaker enthusiasts have grown to embrace a new color option every weekend, but in reality - red is the only colorway that matters. 

Gerald Flores is the Editor-In-Chief of Sole Collector. You can follow him on Twitter here.