The ‘90s were unequivocally great—that’s why they’re back. And so are the shoe trends that made it such an incredible time period. The ‘90s were so versatile. You could wear a big, clunky shoe one day while wearing a smooth and sleek one the next, complete with a trippy color scheme. Growing up as a ‘90s kid, you couldn’t always fully experience it the way you wanted. But now they’re back in style, so we’re here to help you go full-force this time around. Here are the best ‘90s sneakers to wear in 2023.
The Best '90s Sneakers to Rock for a Nostalgic Kick
If you told me two years ago that the Air Monarchs—the most dad of dad shoes—would ever be considered cool or fashionable, I would’ve laughed you out of the room. And yet here we are. After you finish cutting the grass in these you could probably do a quick Instagram photoshoot and get a solid amount of likes. Time is weird.
The Disruptor was dormant for what feels like decades but made a comeback, along with the rest of FILA, in 2018. There isn’t a beach you can go to without seeing these paired up with some long socks and clean khaki shorts. And, honestly? It’s a clean look.
The 990’s give off the same chunky dad-vibes as the Monarch, yet they’ve always been considered a fairly cool shoe. You can rock them casually on a trip to the grocery store or wear them to the club. They come cheap, they’re ugly, but they’re so good.
Being that I’m from D.C., I’m obligated to include these shoes on the list. Folks in the district have been wearing this shoe since the beginning of time and they’ll wear them until the end of it. And it’s not just a D.C. thing—you can find folks rocking these as far up as Baltimore all the way down to Atlanta. We set trends out here.
The 574 might be the most simple pair of New Balance shoes to date. It doesn’t have the same chunkiness the 990 series does and it has just a bit more flair than the 992’s. They’re smooth and sleek — you can be active in them without feeling goofy. These are definitely a favorite of mine.
The Gel-Lyte’s have been in style for my entire life—literally. The shoe was released in 1991 and has been a staple in fashion ever since. It’s classic, smooth look has been redone over and over with collaborations from the folks in big fashion to hip-hop artists interested in style. Get you a pair.
I won’t name a specific Jordan here because every single drop the brand had from 1990 to 2000 was pretty much a hit. From Jordan’s first championship in 1990 over the Lakers while wearing the VI, to his final shot over Byron Russell in the XIV’s, to the XV dropping in 2000, the man has hits.
The Humara goes all the way back to 1997 as one of Nike’s best trail runner models. It fits right into the 2018 aesthetic of chunky, bulky and colorful. And yet this shoe makes for a surprisingly good look with the right outfit. Nike resurrected this shoe in 2017 and it’s been a hit ever since.
The One Star isn’t the same classic as the OG Chuck Taylor, but it’s just as versatile. They’re fashionable, active and colorful. Tyler, The Creator’s latest collaboration with the One Star give them even more life in this decade. They aren’t going away anytime soon.
Your math teacher probably wore the Reebok Classic with some rough denim jeans and a fanny pack back when she was teaching you how to count in the second grade. Now that I’m thinking about it, that’s a pretty clutch outfit today. Your math teacher wasn’t cool then, but she would be now—just like the Classic.
This shoe has been retro’d too many times to count in 2018. From the 97/1 Sean Wotherspoon collab to the Gundam model being considered one of the best releases this year, this is easily one of the best shoes you can wear today. If only you caught on a little sooner—it wasn’t even on the radar four years ago.
12. Air Max 93
If the Air Max 97 is a bit out of your price range, go with the Max 93. It’s a classic that has a plain and simple look, but comes in some pretty cool colorways that call back to the ‘90s. Not for nothing but it’s comfortable too.
This shoe looks like one of those paper SOLO cups you’d get from a fish fry joint in the ‘90s and that’s so perfect. It’s a cheap cop, but the look is so clean and it comes in a few different colorways already. Let’s hope Nike builds on this one for a while.
The Disruptors have never truly gone out of style as they have always had their fans so to speak, but the MB '90s are discovering a new audience. This new and improved version of the MB90s still very much have the retro look and feel of the original with the high top sports leather upper, the perforated panels, the iconic panels and more.
Does it get any more 1990s than Ewing sneakers? One of the most prolific NBA players of the decade, people often forget that Ewing had his own signature shoe in the midst of the 90s Air Jordans craze, but he did, and it's still here and rocking.
The Spot-Bilt Sonic High sneakers from Saucony was originally a 1980s shoe that made its way into the 90s due to its popularity. And while that has never really gone away for Saucony, you could argue that they are experiencing somewhat of a resurgence when new releases and collaborations that are introducing them to audiences that weren't around for the original drops.
If this seems extra, it's because there were many elements of the 1990s that were indeed extra. It wasn't uncommon to add objects to your shoes clothing and pieces that weren't originally supposed to be there, and the JS Bones Campus 80s are an example of that. You might call it crazy, but us 1990s babies and kids call it creative.
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