The best sneaker brands never fall out of favor
Say what you will about novelty, wardrobe staples are the real heroes when it comes to wardrobe investments. A repertoire of tried-and-true staples lays the groundwork for creating fresh and interesting outfits on a regular basis. And in the context of footwear, top sneaker brands are a great place to start.
It doesn’t matter if you’re athletic or include the term “athleisure” to describe your personal style, a pair of classic kicks are a good idea at any level. The best sneaker brands combine the spirit of movement with innovative design and versatile style (and if you’re a heritage brand, a piece of historical storytelling).
Ahead, browse our guide to the best sneaker brands, with highlights ranging from iconic silhouettes like Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Star to new designers reinventing the category, including APL Athletic Propulsion Labs and eco-friendly Veja.
This American footwear giant was founded in 1964 (known as Blue Ribbon Sports until 1978) and is responsible for iconic sneaker silhouettes including The Cortez, The Airmax, The Air Force 1, among many others. Wear it at the weekend with a sporty style or with a floral dress for a casual meal, the Nike wallet offers versatility and timelessness.
Based in Paris and sold worldwide, VEJA is a conscious sneaker brand that is produced in high-level factories in Brazil. They design with Brazilian and Peruvian organic cotton for the canvas and laces, Amazonian rubber for the soles, and also incorporate other innovative fabrics like recycled plastic bottles.
Based in Los Angeles and founded by athletic twin brothers, this sneaker brand sits at the crossroads of luxury and performance and is a celebrity favorite (Chrissy Teigen, Emma Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow have all been spotted in the label). Whether you’re a runner, basketball player, or just want more support for your daily stride, their innovative designs should be on your radar.
Fueled by a love of movement, this sneaker brand is known for its collection of running shoes, but also has high-profile collaborations under its belt with cult labels, like Outdoor Voices. Slightly chunky and often designed in bright colors, these trainers are the perfect choice.
It’s easy to see the appeal of Italian sneaker brand Superga – it’s an icon of casual sportswear. The brand has been around in one variation or another for over 100 years, but its classic tennis continues to feel relevant and modern. They recently announced their partnership with Emily Ratajkowski, where the model collaborated to refresh two of Superga’s styles, including a tennis shoe perfect for summer.
These hand-sewn luxury sneakers are made in the Marche region of Italy, and the brand is a collaboration between designers Flavio Girolami and Prathan Poopat. A defining feature of these sneakers is a line of numbers along the heel, which indicates style, size and color.
Whether you’re an avid 574 Core wearer or a die-hard 327 fan, chances are New Balance’s collection of stylish and versatile trainers have found their way into your wardrobe. And with splashy collaborations with brands like STAUD, the 116-year-old company continues to feel fresh and current.
American footwear brand deeply rooted in athletic performance, Reebok trainers lend a sleek, slightly nostalgic aesthetic that is perhaps best expressed through their Club C 85 silhouette. Wear with crinkle ankle socks and boxer briefs for a cute look of weekend.
With its origins as a football boot factory in Germany, Puma has evolved over the years into a heritage sports shoe company. The cat logo is instantly recognizable and modern styles like the Wild Rider (released in 2021) bring the brand into the 21st century with its bright colors and bouncy silhouette.
The name ‘House of Vans; was invented by skateboarders in the ’70s in Anaheim, California, and this ubiquitous skate brand continues to be a shoe favorite thanks to its sticky sole and laid-back vibe, like the side stripe that debuted in 1977. Wear this naturally cool shoe with a white t-shirt and jeans or dress it up with a white sundress for a fun contrast.
Designed in New York and handmade in Le Marche, Italy, KOIO is a destination for sleek and simple leather sneakers. The brand sources its leather from regenerative farms in the Alps and is working towards the goal of having the entire collection made from regenerative leather and other natural regenerated materials by 2025.
Founded in Massachusetts in 1908, Converse is best known for its basketball shoe that debuted in 1917: the Chuck Taylor All Star. Its diamond tread pattern and heel overlay were defining features and although the Chucks have moved away from their associations with the court, this canvas lace-up sneaker remains a true classic.
A brand born in the Swiss Alps, On’s motto “running on clouds” nods to its focus on performance gear. It was founded by three friends and the prototypes won the ISPO BrandNew Award, a prestigious award for innovation in sport. Their capsule collection with Loewe revisits On’s iconic Cloudventure trainers, with a durable canvas woven with recycled yarns.
Stan Smith, Gazelle, Superstar, you know you’re doing something right when your sneakers are known by their first name. Adidas was founded in the 1930s after World War I and rose to prominence after being worn by a track and field star at the Berlin Olympics. And in addition to beloved signature styles, the brand’s ongoing collection with designer Wales Bonner continues to be a much-anticipated and successful partnership.
Fall for the chunky sneaker craze, Fila’s return to center stage has been a fascinating revival to watch. Beloved in the ’90s and whose origins date back to 1911, the brand’s Disruptor sneaker style is perhaps the most well-known silhouette, worn by women like Bella Hadid, Dakota Fanning and Emily Ratajkowski.