Nike just finished celebrating its 50th year in business and to mark the occasion, we’re looking back on the 50 best shoes that helped make the brand the industry titan it is today.
Nike is a company rooted in sport, but one that has transcended pop and street culture alike. Its sneaker catalog simply can’t be matched, with pairs that changed the way athletes performed and everyday people dressed. Through a combination of superstar endorsees, masterful design, groundbreaking technology, and clever marketing, Nike has produced some of the most memorable footwear of all time.
Whether it’s Tinker Hatfield’s Air Jordan 3 design, which essentially salvaged Michael Jordan’s relationship with the brand, or Eric Avar’s Zoom Kobe 4, a shoe that changed the way people played basketball, there are certain sneakers that were pivotal in the brand’s evolution thus far.
To celebrate five decades of the Swoosh, we look back on the sneakers—and the stories behind them—that contributed to its history. These are Nike’s most important and impactful shoes, the ones that shaped and continue to shape the brand’s legacy. They’re shoes that broke ground upon debuting and remain relevant through retro storytelling, both of which were considered when determining the rankings.