Rappers have long been some of the biggest influencers when it comes to style. The more visible hip-hop has become as a genre, the more important rappers’ fashion choices have become important in dictating what’s hot or not for the public.
This all started well before the days of Yeezy Mud Rats. Since back in the day, if your favorite rapper wore a pair of the hottest new kicks, then that particular sneaker’s stock instantly rose. If you were able to get a pair for yourself, then you automatically became the cool kid on the block. If you grew up in the ‘80s, for example, you were probably rushing to the nearest Foot Locker to get a pair of Adidas Shell Toes after seeing Run DMC’s “My Adidas” video. Rappers are tastemakers; they set the style trends and the masses follow suit.
Over time, rappers have progressed from not only wearing and marketing the hottest new sneakers, but to creating them. Between Jay-Z’s S.Carter collection with Reebok in the early 2000s and Kanye West’s boundary breaking Nike Air Yeezy sneakers—which eventually led into his current Yeezy Boost collection with Adidas—rappers’ influence in the world of footwear has only gotten bigger over the years.
Now, it seems as if every notable rapper has some sort of endorsement deal or collaboration with a major sneaker company. Tyler, The Creator has worked with Vans and Converse, Drake has released multiple pairs of Air Jordans under his OVO moniker, and Pharrell has helped push Adidas’ NMD sneakers to new heights with his Human Race collaboration.
The sneaker industry is big business, and now more than ever, rappers are getting their feet in the door and becoming an integral part of that business. With so many different collaborations, it can be hard to decide which kicks stand out the most. Here is our list of rappers who have created the best sneakers.