The ‘90s and ‘00s were the golden eras for music, sports, and fashion. And just like with all art and culture, trends and styles have shifted and evolved over time — and footwear is no exception. From the Air Max 1 to the Air Jordan 5, take a trip down memory lane as we pay homage to the most iconic sneakers from the 1990s and early 2000s.  

The ‘90s

Nike Air Max 90 Infrared

The Air Max 90 series is about as household as it gets. Introduced in 1990, as the name would imply, the Air Max 90 soon became one of Nike’s flagship sneakers following the success of the Air Max 1. Designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield, the Nike Air Max 90 Infrared colourway was — and still is — considered one of the most iconic colour schemes from the collection. Making a timely comeback in 2020, the fusion of fabrics complemented by visible air bubbles gives this sneaker its OG feel.

Air Jordan 5 Racer Blue

One of Nike’s earliest silhouettes of the decade, the Air Jordan 5 was first introduced to the sneaker scene in 1990. Popularised by the American sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, this sought-after shoe shot to instant success thanks to its eye-catching shark-tooth design and chunky frame. Now a certified crowd favourite, the AJ5 was brought back in 2000 with new iterations hitting the shelves, including the Air Jordan 5 Racer Blue. Easy to style courtesy of the clean black and blue colourway, it’s a timeless choice for your daily rotation.

Nike Air Max 95 OG Neon

Five years later, Nike changed the game once again. Enter: the Nike Air Max 95. Originally created for more powerful runners, its sturdy make-up and maximum cushioning set it apart from sneakers of the past. The Air Max 95’s design takes inspiration from the human body with each section representing a different part of the anatomy — the spine outsole, a rib-inspired lacing system and a blend of mesh and suede to represent the muscles.

In 2020, the Nike Air Max 95 OG Neon was released in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the legendary silhouette. Arriving with all the classic details, including the OG Neon colourway, this sneaker delivers a look that’s impossible to forget.

Nike Air Max 97 Triple Black

With the heritage of Nike’s 97 silhouette spanning 20 years, the Air Max 97 has undoubtedly earned its place in the history books. Famously inspired by Japan’s bullet trains, this streamlined sneaker was the first to house a full-length Air system, equipping it with unrivalled comfort and optimised support. Unsurprisingly, 2019’s Nike Air Max 97 Triple Black is equally as iconic as the original. Maintaining much of the style and shape, the wave pattern remains at the forefront of the design, balanced by a hidden lacing system and miniature Nike Swooshes on the side panels.

The ‘00s

New Balance 2002R Black

Pulled from the Boston brand’s archives, the New Balance 2002R updates the original and once-forgotten silhouette from 2010. Versatile and durable, this latest iteration — the New Balance 2002R Black — lives up to its “dad shoe” reputation with a chunky silhouette, instantly recognisable branding and a washed-out design. The expertly designed sole offers support where your foot needs it most, while textured tread provides maximised traction. A worthy contender for the most comfortable kick on the market, the New Balance 2002R deserves a spot in every collection. 

Nike Air Max BW White Violet

Dubbed the “Big Window” thanks to its sizable Air-Sole unit in the heel, the Air Max BW is an immensely popular model in the Air Max family, and it’s easy to see why. A crowd favourite for sneaker fans, the shoe gained traction in the UK when it was popularised by the London grime scene — in particular, by rapper Dizzee Rascal, who even donned a pair on the cover of his debut album. The grime star would then go on to collaborate with Nike on a limited-edition BW range, securing the Air Max’s place within the music industry. Today’s BW, the Nike Air Max BW White Violet, bridges the gap between old and new with the original Persian Violet colourway decorating the sole, eyestays and Swoosh.

Nike Dunk Low Retro Black White

Despite launching in the ‘80s, the Nike Dunk’s legacy truly kickstarted in the 1990s and 2000s. Adopted by musicians, skateboarders and sneaker fans alike, it quickly became one of the most in-demand silhouettes of the decade, especially once Nike began collaborating with the likes of Futura and Supreme. Fast forward to present day and the Nike Dunk is still as popular as ever.  Case and point? The Nike Dunk Low Retro Black White. With an all-leather upper, a perforated toe box and a sleek design, there’s no denying the Dunk stands the test of time.