Retro Sneakers You Can Still Wear Today

Put away the stilettos and dress down your low-rise denim or baggy jeans with comfy sneakers. No one can deny that retro styles have risen in prominence in the sneaker community.

Whether you’re into suede low-tops, canvas high-tops, or leather tennis shoes, every style of sneaker on the market today draws from the past in some way. The majority of sneakers sold today are throwback styles, and that trend is reflected even on retailer websites’ product pages for sneakers.

Traditional lace-up shoes are still widely favored today. Pick from slick Adidas kicks dripping in retro cool or classic Nike kicks that have been around forever. You’ll be happy with the following list even if you need help getting your hands on the most popular sneakers.

Canvas Sports Shoes

People used to work out in canvas sneakers before limited releases of expensive sneakers designed by hype names in the fashion industry. Also, canvas sneakers have always been a popular choice for the summer due to their lightweight construction, low profile, and rugged good looks, long before they became a hardwood classic or a staple of downtown skater cultures. These are among the few items in your closet that improves with age and can be either hip-hop, punk or preppy, or rock-and-roll.

Chuck Taylor wore a pair of Converse hi-tops in his first college basketball game in 1919. The following year he was hired by the business as a sales representative, traveling the country to promote the now-iconic canvas shoes that bear his name. 

Canvas sneakers may not be functional in this day and age of fly knit uppers and energy-return soles, but they’ll always look great. Over a century after their inception, they are still going strong thanks to their tenacious breathability and unbeatable versatility.

the feet of a person wearing gray nike retro runners

Retro Runners

With the recent resurgence in the popularity of tracksuits and other retro sportswear, it’s no surprise that the top-rated running shoes of yesteryear are once again hot commodities. Upgrade your casual back-to-work outfits this fall and beyond with a pair of retro runners; they’re a great alternative to plain white sneakers and add a smidge of nostalgia to your work attire.

Retro runners are as versatile and timeless as a classic pair of Chuck Taylors, complementing a wide range of outfits and occasions. The uppers should be a mix of suede and leather, and the colors should be subdued compared to the flashy hues worn by modern athletes.

Minimalist Tennis Shoes

Given tennis’s traditional all-white dress code, it’s no surprise that the minimalist white sneaker is now a staple in most men’s foot lockers. These shoes have exploded in popularity due to their ability to help strengthen the feet while also providing minimal support (like heel cushioning and arch support).

Kanye West and Pharrell Williams have popularized this look in the hip-hop community, and prominent athletes like Andy Murray still wear it.

a person wearing football casual trainers about to kick the football

Football Casual Trainers

Trainers have become increasingly important in terrace wear fashion since the advent of the laid-back football scene in the late 1970s. The football casual has inspired designers and young people in the streetwear scene, which is all part of the larger sportswear boom.

The Samba, the Hamburg, and the Gazelle from Adidas are unrivaled in terms of comfort in this category, and they have won the league. They were ubiquitous in the 80s and 90s in British football stadiums, sleek and confident. Note the T-shaped toe panels and award points for the classic gum soles and suede uppers.

The Reebok Classic is the undisputed MVP of the sneaker world, even if the three stripes aren’t on them—an additional ’90s darling that has made its way into modern street style.

Try something new, like Puma’s Astro Cup, a training shoe that became popular with fans as a spectator shoe. Wear a polo shirt, skinny jeans, and a pint of watered-down lager to show your support for either side.

Basketball High-Tops

Basketball shoes, from the original Chuck Taylors to the newest Air Jordans, have traditionally been high-tops because the higher cut is thought to protect the ankle from sprains. High-tops are a mainstay of basketball sneaker culture, from the earliest days of Converse to the most cutting-edge models.

the feet of a person wearing nike basketball high-tops

It was in the 1960s that high-tops became the standard footwear for professional basketball players. Before that, basketball-specific sneakers were rare. Basketball shoes with a high-top silhouette, such as the Air Jordan 1 or Chuck Talor, extend up and over the ankle bone. This enhanced stability is designed to better stabilize the ankle joint to help prevent ankle sprains and other injuries.

Basketball shoes with a chunky silhouette look great with off-court streetwear and hip-hop outfits. You can’t go wrong with simple joggers and a T-shirt to let your shoes do the talking.

Skate Shoes

Skate shoes, also known as skateboard shoes, were introduced in the 60s. Its sole purpose was to provide skaters with the necessary support, safety, and longevity. For instance, Vans designed the waffle pattern sole for superior traction.

Skate shoes’ thinner soles than regular shoes are designed to maximize your feel for the board, and some shoes’ insole technology can withstand significant impact. The change will be noticeable instantly. There is a skate shoe designed specifically to help skaters of every discipline achieve their goals.

After Vans popularized skate shoes, other brands followed Randolph Rubber Company’s lead and began producing their versions. The Nike Blazer and the Converse One Star are alternatives to the ubiquitous Vans that feature similar silhouettes and designs.

a basket full of retro sneakers

Yes, the fashion industry thrives on novelty, but we’ve never met a pair of throwback kicks we didn’t like. Each of these classics has a rich heritage, which helped pave the way for modern sneaker styles. If you’re looking for a conversation starter or want to step up your sneaker game, consider picking up a pair of these retro styles.