The 80s are considered one of the most outlandish (after the 70s) in terms of fashion, owing in no small part to the unique shoe styles that were trending at the time. Unlike more classical decades such as the 50s and 60s (with their cute ballerinas and pumps and elegant lace-up men’s Oxford shoes), the 80s were rife with unique styles, many of which didn’t stand the test of time. If you weren’t around to shop for a pair of these themselves, then read on to discover the odd yet highly creative shoes that trendy urbanites donned on the coolest streets in Big Four Fashion Week cities.

Reebok Freestyle High-Tops
Reebok’s Freestyle High-Tops were a true fashion staple in the 80s. Originally launched in only two colours (white and black), they became available in a wide range of colours, including red, blue, pink and green. What made these shoes so cool was the fact that despite being hightops, they had nothing to do with basketball. They simply existed to make garments like mini skirts, stirrup jeans look a little cooler. They were also easy to put on and take off. Although they had laces, they also had Velcro straps that made it easier to accommodate the shoe to the wearer’s ankle size. All-up, this shoe is one that is most liable to make a comeback and indeed, many would say they never went out of fashion in the wardrobes of serious sneaker collectors.

Penny Loafers
If you are a kid of the 80s then without a doubt you know that one of the coolest casual/dress shoes to own were shiny cherry-hued penny loafers, which paired so beautifully with skirts and pants alike. The smell of fresh leather, like other earthy scents, is immediately reminiscent of these classic shoes.

Alternatively, those into more subdued versions of this shoe style opted for Eastland brown loafers instead. These were more casual in feel and looked great in any outfit that would otherwise be accompanied by sneakers. They also stood up to wear and tear and were a little softer than their shinier penny storing counterpart.

Low-Cut Keds Champion Sneakers
Many would say that simple white low-cut sneakers continue to be a craze, though if you were a sartorial kid in the 80s, then you know that the top choice was Keds Champion. These shoes had many advantages, including a sturdy sole and a tough canvas like material. The latter means that they could be put in the washer without suffering any damage. The ritual was simple and well-known among teens and their parents: you took the laces off, placed the shoes in a mesh bag, and placed the washer on gentle. The result? Pristine white shoes that looked like they had just been purchased.

Air Jordans
Sporty kids and ultra-stylish ones alike know that the ultimate shoe to own in the 80s were Air Jordans. The red, black, and white high-tops, named after the one-and-only Michael Jordan, were celebrated in culture, music, and of course, films. If you loved Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, then you surely remember the scene in which one of the characters has a huge blow-up after a cyclist runs over his “brand new, white Air Jordans.”

High-tops, loafers, and Keds Champion sneakers were just a few ‘must-have’ shoes in the 80s. Worn with skirts or pants, they were unisex shoes, and they were covered by practically every cool teen. Without a doubt, however, the one shoe you just had to have in the 80s were Air Jordans. And, as it goes, newer versions of this shoe are still some of the coolest footwear to own in the 2020s.