Sneakers are truly a staple of urban fashion, and more often than not, they also can signify a lot about a person’s style and lifestyle choices. One can only imagine what these 10 unique sneaks say about those who wear them…or designed them, for that matter!
1. SWEAR Alternative Sneakers
A staple for the extreme club kids of the 1990’s and early aughts, SWEAR Alternative was the crazy man’s choice for bizarre, high platformed, multi-colored shoes. With advertising mottoes like “Stop staring at my shoes,” it’s hard to imagine that some of the designs that SWEAR Alternative made actually had any customers at all. However, the London shoe brand turned mainstream in the mid-00’s, making the old school SWEAR sneakers a coveted collector’s item among eccentric sneakerheads around the world.
Because of the fact that SWEAR Alternative sneakers had a strong cult following, pairs of shoes from the now-defunct brand branch often sell for a couple hundred dollars a pair. According to those who are lucky enough to wear them, SWEAR Alternatives are actually quite comfortable – albeit a bit snug.
2. The Nike Air Yeezy Red October 2
On first glance, the Air Yeezy sneakers, featured below seem like almost standard fare for Nike. Stylish and surprisingly red, it’s hard to imagine that they’d end up on a list about strange sneakers. However, it’s not the appearance of the Air Yeezy Red October 2 sneakers that make them so unique. It’s the fact that bids on eBay have been as high as $17 million for a single pair. Known for being associated with Kanye West, the Nike Air Yeezy Red October 2 sneaker may just be one of the most expensive sneakers to ever be sold in history.
Nike’s release of the shoes was one of the most highly anticipated in sneaker history. Want to buy them, but can’t afford the price tag? Fear not, because AliExpress has similar shoes on sale for around $60 a pair. Is it worth it? Probably not, but they still have the same look. It’s also worth noting that these sneakers also inspired a furniture set, too.
3. Buffalo Tower Sneakers
Another relic of the 90’s, Buffalo Towers were known as the tallest platform sneakers in the industry. Much like their competition from SWEAR Alternative, Buffalo Tower sneakers were a favorite among ravers, goths, and just about any other subculture that lurked in the night. The tallest sneakers that the company ever made towered (literally) at a scary height of 11 inches. KISS would be proud!
Buffalo Tower shoes sadly suffered the same fate as SWEAR Alternatives, in the sense that the branch of the designer that made the shoes shut down in the mid-2000’s due to low demand. And, much like SWEAR Alternative, there are cult shoe collector followings that bid top dollar on a good pair of pristine Buffalo Towers. On eBay, it’s not uncommon for a pair of vintage Buffalo Tower shoes to fetch as much as $300 to $1000 a pair.
4. Steampunk Sneakers By Gabriel DiShaw
Once upon a time, around the year 2010, Steampunk became the new trend goths followed. (Basically, goths learned about the color brown.) Much like the very old school goth movement of the early 80’s, Steampunks actually took a shining to making their own unique clothing and footwear designs in this early stage of subculturism. This led many people who are fans of Steampunk to glue gears to sneakers, and then spray paint the entire shoe a nice copper or bronze hue with Krylon spray paint.
Designer and artist Gabriel DiShaw actually took it one step further by making Steampunk-style sneakers made completely out of recycled metal. Sadly, this is more a work of art than it is actual footwear, and they are not for sale. Still, though, they are amazing sneakers, and they are probably the most Steampunk creation to ever hit internet forums without being sold by a designer as well known as Demonia. Got gears, anyone?
5. Code “M” Shoes By Dada
It’s true that athletic footwear has gotten to be more technological in the past couple of years, but this is just taking it to an extreme level. Shoe designer Dada unveiled shoes that are able to play mp3s with built-in speakers. While the designer label ultimately flopped in the US, Dada footwear is still very much alive in Japan. Somehow, we’re not surprised that Japanese youth culture would fall in love with this techy, ultimately unique brand.
Most of the current shoes being sold by Dada are not mp3-capable, but do have the modern and sleek appearance that one would expect of Japanese streetwear. Because of the shoe brand’s grippy bottoms, they have become favorites among breakdancers and fashionistas alike.
6. Lechal’s Sneakers For The Blind
This actually may be one of the coolest, and smartest ideas ever to be incorporated into a sneaker. New designer Lechal has recently developed sneakers that help the blind find their way. Using GPS technology, these shoes vibrate when the wearer is headed in the wrong direction. And better still, they are incredibly stylish. People who aren’t blind also can enjoy some of the other built in tech perks that the company has woven into the shoes, such as the fitness and calorie tracking abilities. Now, that’s a shoe we can all adore!
Interestingly, Lechal is not the only sneaker designer to incorporate such a high level of wearable technology. Other shoes are currently being put on the market that help track regular paths, calories, and other similar statistics that fitness aficionados may find themselves interested in. However, Lechal is the only brand that is actually adding vibrating technology to their shoes for the sole purpose of helping people navigate the streets.
7. Drug Stash Pocket Sneakers From KangaROOS
A classic drug dealer shoe if there ever was one, ROOS founder Bob Gamm initially placed a side pouch on the shoe for people who wanted to keep their money safe while they jog. However, dealers obviously found another perk to wearing the shoe, making them a common place to stash goodies when going to concerts. These kicks have been known as drug stashing shoes for a long time, so cops might end up searching them. Either way, the stash-happy shoes continue to sell throughout the world.
8. Cursed Adidas Sneakers
For many athletes, wearing a cursed sneaker brand is akin to driving James Dean’s car – it might be tempting, but you don’t want to do it. Among some sports circles, it’s an often noticed occurrence that the athletes who suffer the worst injuries often are sporting Adidas at the time of the injury. Two of the most well known sufferers of the Adidas curse include Kevin Ware and Derrick Rose. While no particular pair of shoes or line of shoes have had the curse attributed to it, the brand itself has suffered due to the rumors circling its ill-fated wearers.
Derrick Rose in particular suffered a shockingly brutal injury while wearing his favorite Adidas during a game in 2013. After landing awkwardly post-shot, the Chicago Bulls player collapsed on the court after the land split his leg in two. Witnesses say that Rose’s leg bone stuck out a total of six inches from his skin after the fall. Yikes!
9. Vibram 5-Toed Running Shoes
Sneaker designer Vibram earned its claim to fame by creating what could easily be called the ugliest sneakers on the planet. The shoes, which were purported to help people run faster and also improve their natural balance, are known for their unique five toed designs, and the fact that they bear a striking resemblance to mutated clown feet. Though they are considered to be a fashion faux pas by many, the sneakers seem to have a very loyal following of people in the running and jogging communities.
Many people who wear them often say that they wear them due to the fact that they are healthier for your feet and posture than a regular sneaker. Are they actually healthier for you, though? According to one lawsuit, not really. Woops. There goes that excuse for wearing them…
10. High Heeled Sneakers
Somewhere along the way, the idea of an athletic shoe being a sneaker was cast aside in favor of making them more about a statement on urban style. During the mid-2000’s, this concept turned into a boom of “ghetto fabulous” high heeled sneakers that took teens and women in their early 20’s by storm. The trend, which continues to evolve to this day, often involves ironically difficult to walk in heels. Shoe designers such as Jeffrey Campbell, Converse, and Nike have actually released their own spin on the trend at one time or another.