What Makes A Sneaker Classic?


Solid question.

We hear the word classic thrown around all the time. Whether someone is referring to an album, movie, cartoon, television show, sneaker, etc.

Sometimes I think people call something classic just because it’s old or because they have a nostalgic connection to it. But when YOU hear the word classic, what does it mean to you?

This is a question that I planned on asking someone in “Random Questions, Random Places.” And yes, I’m still going to ask someone this question.

Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks and Nadeska beat me to the punch on the entertaining daily show, Everyday Struggle. They started to debate classic albums, and Joe actually made some solid points. I have no idea what Akademiks was talking about with his trash list. lol

If you’re not familiar with the show, they debated Drake’s classic album, which most people will say is Take Care. Personally I don’t think Take Care is a classic. In fact, my cousin thinks Take Care and If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late are both classics. But keep in mind he also said Drake’s music touches his soul.

But back to Budden and them. Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy also came up in the conversation. I think most people consider the album a classic, but Joe disagrees.

Without digging too deep into the Everyday Struggle convo, I’ll stop here. I included the video below so you can watch for yourself.

As for sneakers, or even albums – how do you define what’s considered to be a classic?

When talking sneakers, we all know the Chuck Taylor, Stan Smith, Superstar, Jordan 1, Jordan 3, Jordan 4, Air  Max 1, Air Force 1, and Puma Suede are all classics. That’s just to name a few, by the way.

Of course, there are several others.

But what makes a sneaker CLASSIC? List your criteria and definition of a classic in the comments. Also, feel free to mention a few shoes that you consider classic.

About The Author

Lord G-Roc from the Great South. Twitter/IG: @GRocSmith

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  • Looking forward to reading all the comments. This is going to be good because of course this is based solely on opinion, but a lot of good points can be made about this topic.

  • PsychadelicSavage

    Colorways that are simple enough to go with everything, but still have enough flair to turn heads. (95s/Griffeys)

    Innovation. Either from a tech standpoint (air max 2009, Ultraboost) or material/design (Elephant print)

    Worn by a player during a dominant/historic season

  • Han Lee

    Wow..lot of stuff from 95-96…those orlando magic pennies r my grails…to me classics are something that will look good no matter what era

  • Ron Simms

    i think if a shoe is timeless, it’s classic. gazelles, stan smiths, AM90s, AM1s, Jordan 1s, Vans Eras & Slip-Ons etc…etc…still look good today despite being decade old models.

  • curt diggler

    classic in the shoe game basically means any old pair that came out during big sneaker release years…in the 90s just about any new nike in the eastbay is now considered a grail …i sat out the sb phase, but they were the rage because the colorways were new, now they are classics…..2012 onward, seems like every old pair is considered classic

  • MikeyDrums86

    A lot of factors can determine this nostalgia, colorway, hype, or just your fav player, but for me it can be the story. For example the Flu Game 12’s are a classic to me because of what MJ did to the Jazz in those. Come out visibly sick and drop 38 and take the 3-2 series lead. And they just so happen to be the Red/Black colorway which makes em more classic. Just me tho..

  • DJR

    One word, longevity.

  • Jay

    Longevity, story, era and originality

  • curt diggler

    in that case almost every nike will be a classic because they keep reeleasing the same kicks

  • DJR

    Ok I’ll expand on that. One example is when the Spacejams initially dropped they soldout and then they re-release twice and sold out again. Don’t get me wrong, numbers are not the only criteria to be considered a classic. Shell toe Adidas could be used as another example of a classic. Basically a sneaker that released awhile ago and still is considered fresh now is a classic. Also being classic is one of those things you just know when you see it but is hard to put into words. Nike has been around for awhile so they will naturally have a lot of classics but to say a Yeezy or whatever the newest hottest thing out now is a classic is wrong to me. 10 years from now maybe even 5 we can really see if Yeezys are classics. There are so many examples of classics though.

  • YallStillMad LeBron’Em Won

    Well, i read your first comment. And i knew that this is exactly what you meant. But hey, ya know….

  • Nailed it.

  • Proven organic sales winner.

  • Super Mario

    A classic is a shoe that makes you feel like you have to have it every time it drops! Another aspect of a classic is a shoe that can be worn during several era’s.

  • A timeless sense of style and design, meaning, articulated design, “ahead of it’s time”, generally consistent demand no matter when released or re-released to me is classic. It’s also a group or consensus of X individuals (A cultural subgroup within popular culture) that makes the ideas of classic a reality. The term classic is usually more closely associated with a time span ranging from 2 to 3 decades or longer.

    Pop Chart Lab did a pretty wicked poster a few years back called “A visual compendium of sneakers” and that is one of the best representations I have seen in poster format with a wealth of classic kicks all in one place.


  • Nate oNe

    The most hype up shoe, when I have to camp out for like months and months in advance, when they limit the shoe to only 10 pairs, to me those are classics!

  • javi


  • brian campbell

    In terms of sneakers, I believe The long term impact that specific shoe has not only in sneaker culture, but overall pop culture is what truly makes it a classic. Will it be a shoe that 10, 15, 20 years from now that is still debated and discussed and remembered is what makes it a true classic. A shoe is not a classic if It cannot stand the test of time.


    1. Converse Chuck Taylors
    2. Adidas Superstars
    3. Puma Suedes
    4. Nike Air Force 1s
    5. Reebok Pumps
    6. Jordan 3s

    And that’s only to name a few.

  • YallStillMad LeBron’Em Won

    (Prolly sound like other folks here, but…) I guess sum’n that holds up OVER TIME for whatever reason…uuuummm….for whatever REAL reason, that is.

  • YallStillMad LeBron’Em Won

    You gotta be joking, right?

  • fook yo

    NWTS was drakes classic album. That’s all I have to say.

    No it isn’t. A classic sneaker to me is something that was iconic then and is still iconic. Like safety orange 95s (which they STILL won’t drop in the actual CW) or the og cw griffeys. Something that reminds you of when you were a kid and brings back memories really.

  • El Fenomeno

    a shoe that never gets old, idk lol its hard to describe

  • Donny Thane

    If you get laid in it for decades. It’s a test, not a definition.

  • curt diggler

    Sneakersites and popular sneaker collectors tell us what’s classic….just ask why it’s a classic and you’ll get a nike sneaker promo story for any pair you name.

  • javi

    Man STFU….dumbass smfh

  • YallStillMad LeBron’Em Won

    You like sneakers, right. So, how would YOU (not the hypebeasts, not social media, not other sneaker influencers….) qualify a shoe as being classic?

  • curt diggler

    If it goes well with outfits regardless of the current fashion….I guess

  • fook yo

    lmao. well then…

  • YallStillMad LeBron’Em Won

    Ok cool.

  • Roger_Milla

    That’s my general definition of classic. If it outlasts trends/meshes well with clothing regardless of the era, it’s a classic sneaker.

    Other shoes, like foams and second three-peat-era jordans, fit in a narrower definition of classic IMO, which is more sports specific.

  • javi

    Relax hypebeast