These days 80s Nike shoes are some of the most sought after footwear on the secondary market. In the 1980s, Nike introduced some of its most famous and iconic styles of footwear to the world.
While many sneakerheads may scoff at their dad’s old pairs of Nikes from the 80s, these shoes were some of the most popular shoes of the 1980s and are still some of the most coveted models by collectors today.
In fact, some of the most epic Nike shoes from the 1980s can fetch thousands of dollars, and the rerelease of these vintage designs often sellout in minutes online!
80s Nike Shoes
So what were the most popular Nike shoes from the best decade ever? There were quite a few to choose from, but we narrowed it down to what we think are the most legendary 80s Nike shoes ever made.
Check out these six Nike shoes that were super popular in the 1980s!
1. Air Force 1
The Air Force 1 was first released in 1982 and quickly became one of Nike’s most popular shoes. The shoe was designed by Bruce Kilgore, who sought to combine multiple elements into a single design that would be functional for basketball and every day wear.
It is now considered a classic, has been re-released many times, and can be seen on the feet of hip-hop artists like Jay-Z and Kanye West, as well as celebrity athletes like Tom Brady and Kobe Bryant.
2. Dunk High
Dunk High was one of Nike’s first basketball shoes, and it quickly became a favorite among players. It was also popular for its unique design, which featured a higher-than-average top and a padded tongue.
The shoe was available in various colors, but the most popular were the white and red versions. Due to its retro style, it has also become a fashion trend amongst non-basketball enthusiasts in recent years.
3. Air Safari
The Air Safari was one of Nike’s first forays into using animal prints on their shoes, and oddly enough it was a big hit! The shoe featured a safari-inspired print on the upper with tonal suede panels. It was simple but stylish, and people loved it. In fact, it was the first shoe with an all-leather upper that they ever produced. They have also reissued the design a few times since its debut, so if you’re interested, you can grab a pair of these now if you missed out the first time.
4. Air Max 1
The Air Max 1 was one of the most popular Nike shoes of the 1980s. It was released in 1987 and quickly became a hit with sneakerheads. The shoe was designed by Tinker Hatfield and featured a visible Air-Sole unit in the heel, which was a first for Nike. The Air Max 1 is a classic that still remains popular among sneakerhead collectors today.
5. Nike Blazer
The Nike Blazer was first introduced in 1973 as a basketball shoe, but it gained popularity in the early 1980s as a skateboarding shoe. It was simple, classic, versatile, and came in various colors. The Blazer quickly became one of Nike’s most popular shoes, which can be seen in its sales numbers at the time.
6. Air Jordan 1
Of course what 1980s Nike shoe list would be complete without the original Nike Air Jordan 1. Originally released in 1985, this shoe would go on to make Nike billions over the next few decades. The shoes origins are iconic, as Michael Jordan had not even proven himself as a player at that point, but Nike decided to roll the dice on him, and the rest as they say is history.
The original Nike Air Jordan 1 was in fact not NBA compliant due to its color scheme, but Michael Jordan wore it anyway incurring a $5k fine each game that Nike was more than happy to pay for the publicity.
Air Jordans remain the most sought after shoes for collectors, and if you can find an original Air Jordan 1 from 1985 in pristine condition, the shoe can literally sell for thousands of dollars.
Final Thoughts On 80s Nike Shoes
Nike shoes have been a part of our lives for decades now. They are not just a shoe; they are the American dream. These iconic kicks will never go out of style because no matter what decade you’re from, we all know that Nike equals style. From their sleek logo to their trendy styles, these shoes have made Nike into one of the top companies in the world.
The 1980s was a time of massive growth for Nike. Iconic stars like Michael Jordan really revolutionized how athletes and shoe companies worked together, and the synergy between the two led to a multi-billion dollar industry that seems to grow every year.
If you grew up in the 80s, hopefully you had the privilege of owning at least one of the aforementioned shoes. They were a big part of many an 80 kid’s childhood, and they continue to be the most memorable footwear ever created.