Hip-hop culture goes way beyond the music. It includes various elements, from footwear choices shaping fashion trends to graffiti and breakdancing. Hip-hop has significantly impacted culture and continues to play a substantial role.
Examples include the popularity of Tommy Hilfiger monograms worn by figures like Aaliyah and the trend of baggy overalls that dominated the late 1980s and early 1990s. Hip-hop artists had a defining influence on the fashion of that era.
Footwear has always held a special place in hip-hop culture, and sneaker culture has become closely intertwined with music and style. The Adidas Superstar, introduced in 1970 as a basketball shoe, has experienced various waves of popularity. It was embraced by hip-hop artists, notably highlighted by Run DMC, who incorporated the Superstar into their identity, particularly with their track “My Adidas.”
“Stompin’ in my Air Force Ones”
Air Force 1s have consistently been a staple in hip-hop’s choice of footwear. Similarly to Run DMC’s impact with “My Adidas,” hip-hop artist Nelly contributed to one of the prominent sneaker anthems of the early 2000s with his song “Air Force Ones.” The Air Force 1 remains a classic option for sneaker enthusiasts.
Another iconic sneaker is the Air Jordan 1. It marked the initial collaboration between Michael Jordan and Nike, representing a basketball shoe and a status symbol. Its influence extended beyond the basketball court, becoming an iconic urban fashion sneaker. The story of this show was recently told in the Ben Affleck-directed film, Air.
Sneakers and boots
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Timberland boot became a preferred choice of hip-hop artists. Personalities like Kanye West, the Notorious B.I.G., and Tupac frequently wore the 6″ Timberland boots. Originally designed for laborers, they were adopted by New York City residents for their durability and weather resistance.
K Swiss also found a place within hip-hop culture, highlighted by the documentary “K-Swiss California Love” following Snoop Dogg and Tupac’s involvement with the brand.
Footwear and music merge
People have eagerly lined up outside physical stores for new sneaker releases for decades. This enthusiasm for sneakers remains strong today, with many artists and celebrities collaborating with beloved brands, continuing the evolution of sneaker culture.
Check out some of the top sneaker collaborations.