The future of sneakers is uncertain. Hype continues to build, new silhouettes drop at an ever-increasing pace and everyone from Wall Street to capital “F” Fashion is attempting to cash in. Clearly, the market is no longer sustainable, and in the very near future, a collapse is imminent. So, what comes next?

If Virgil Abloh is to be believed, alongside the “death of streetwear,” sneakers will fall to the wayside as vintage takes hold. While we are certain neither streetwear nor sneakers are disappearing any time soon, the idea of a renewed interest in vintage is alluring, particularly in the context of sneakers. Take the resurgence of Nike Dunks, for instance. A shoe that was mostly shelved over the past decade in favor of Jordan 1 retros, suddenly—courtesy of once again Abloh as well as various vintage sneaker collectors on Instagram—the Dunk High is once again a coveted sneaker, with Abloh going so far as making the original colorways a focal point of his most recent Off-White x Nike collaboration. Or Travis Scott’s celebrated Jordan 1 collaboration, a sneaker which was a direct homage to the Jordan III “Mocha,” a beloved pair of sneakers that vintage Jordan heads lust after but are of no interest to many current enthusiasts. As tastemakers continue looking backwards in order to move forwards, vintage silhouettes once overlooked will inevitably wind up under the spotlight. In that sense, there will be a tectonic shift, one where sneaker knowledge and history will be valued over bots and hype. It will no longer be “were you able to cop” on drop day. Rather, where you able to find that pair you have been lusting after—even if they dropped years before you were born. Vintage sneakers may very well dominate the conversation.

Granted, defining what even qualifies as “vintage” is a battle in and of itself. Usually a generation—or roughly 20 years, is a safe bet. But, since we’re looking towards the future, we need a bit more leeway. For argument’s sake, let’s define “vintage” as any sneaker released before 2005. In other words, any version of any sneaker below released more than 15 years ago is fair game. With that, we present the sneakers that we're inspired by, intrigued in and/or expect to suddenly reemerge and own the next stage in the sneaker conversation.

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