Sneakers might be a bit less omnipresent in 2021 than they have been in recent years, but they’re still the shoes to beat.

What were once the shoes of choice for athletes and teenagers have, in recent years, become the preeminent form of footwear. Sneaker “culture,” as much as the shoes themselves, have shaped fashion in the last decade. The ever-popular drop model was borrowed from sneaker releases, as has the concept of limited edition colorways and collaborations. But, even as luxury players like Balenciaga and Gucci began cementing their places within the sneaker game, it’s the true sneaker brands—ones that focused primarily on “sneakers” and sportswear—that have really reaped the rewards.

Of course, everybody is familiar with Nike and adidas, arguably the two biggest sportswear brands in the world; in terms of traditional sneaker technology, Converse and Vans are well-known too. But, in addition to that quartet, there are a handful of brands that represent the foundation of sneaker culture—some serving incredibly niche clienteles and others trading on decades of family history.

These are the 18 best sneaker brands you need to know.

  1. adidas
  2. Asics
  3. BrandBlack
  4. Common Projects
  5. Converse
  6. Hoka One One
  7. Jordan Brand
  8. Karhu
  9. La Sportiva
  10. New Balance
  11. Nike
  12. On
  13. Puma
  14. Reebok
  15. Salomon
  16. Saucony
  17. Vans
  18. Veja

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