Top Shoe Styles of the 1980s

As with every generation and decade, the 80s had its own style and fashion. Ranging from spandex to having bangs with big hair to flipped up collars and polos – 80s fashion was its own.

Shoes also were a big part of the 80s fashion scene.  Basketball shoes started their ascendancy to fashion and a whole host of new styles and trends were started in the 80s.   Here are a few of the most popular shoes that could be seen in malls everywhere.

Where to Buy
Reebok Pumps
Doc Martens
Keds Champion Sneakers
Vans Classic Slip Ons
GIY Women's Classic Penny Loafers
Cole Haan Men's Lenox Hill Cap Oxford
Womens Fashion Jelly Sandals Shoes
Heat Edge Mens Moccasin Slipper Shoe
Minnetonka Womens Fringed Moccasin
Air Force 1s
Boat Shoes
Adidas Men's Campus Sneakers
Adidas Originals Women's Campus W Sneaker

1. Reebok Pumps

Released in 1989, the Reebok Pump was the first shoe to ever have an inflation mechanism installed. It allows perfect fitting  cushion of the shoes in the lower and upper tongue that provides a perfect fit around the ankle. It’s pumped technology was later patented in 1992. It was worn by different  rappers, singers, and even basketball players like Shaquille O’ Neal. This style became so popular that they have released different versions of the shoe in the following years until today.

2. Air Jordans

The very first Air Jordan was released in 1984 and was designed by Peter C. Moore originally for Michael Jordan. The Air Jordan 2 was released in 1986 for the new basketball season. It is the first Air Jordan without a Nike swoosh on the upper side.  The Air Jordan 1 and 2 was released in the market on 1985 to 1986 respectively. It’s re-releases were done in 1994, and 2007-2018. It’s sales are still doing good in the market because of its retro feel.

See the history and complete line of Air Jordans here –

3. Doc Martens

Doc Martens shoes became popular in the 1980’s because they were worn by new wave musicians, scooter riders, punks, and youth subcultures. It even gain a song from Alexei Sayle entitled “Dr. Marten Boots” in an episode of  a British comedy TV series in 1982.

4. Keds Champion Sneakers

During the 1980’s Keds became popular with girls from elementary to college. Many cheerleaders use Keds as their shoes to match with their cheerleading uniform. This is because Ked’s design is very comfortable and it is easy to wear. You can pair it with different styles of clothes and there are so many colors to choose from. The Champion is their first mass marketed sneaker ever.

5. Vans Classic Slip Ons

Vans slip-ons became popular when Sean Penn wore them in the movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The classic Vans black and white, checkered slip-ons became a must have shoe for ever skater, stoner and alternative crowd of the 80’s.

6. Penny Loafers

This low cut, lace-less shoes were popular because they are comfortable and easy to wear.  It was also called as lounge shoes in America because it can also be worn with lounge suits. This unisex shoe was worn by everybody in the 80’s from businessmen, pesters, and even celebrities like Madonna.

A. Cole Haan Men’s Pinch Grand Classic Penny Loafer

B. GIY Women’s Classic Penny Loafers

7. Jellies

Jelly shoes also known as Jellies was introduced and popularized in the early 1980s. It is named Jelly shoes because of its semi-transparent materials that looks like jelly. Back in the 80’s, you could purchase a pair of jelly shoes for only a dollar. Some says that Jelly shoes became popular because a Bloomingdale’s buyer once saw a pair at a shoe convention in Chicago. She decided that they should add them to Bloomingdale’s inventory. The Jelly shoes have been revived since the 1990’s. Today, jelly shoes are making a come back from women’s flats and children’s trendy shoes.

8. Moccasins

This Native American style of shoes were popular back in the 80’s because of its funky design that can be paired with any style. It one of those comfortable shoes, it has a sole that protect your foot while letting you feel the ground. Back in the 80’s if you’re not wearing sneakers, you’re probably wearing a pair of moccasins.

A. Heat Edge Mens Moccasin Slipper Shoe

B. Minnetonka Women’s Fringed Moccasin

9. Huarache

Huarache shoes are Mexican type of shoe that’s seems to be a mix between a sandal and a shoe. They were very popular to people who goes to the beach because they are perfectly worn during hot weather. It’s woven design and rustic colors can match any dress or linen pants.

10. Air Force 1s

These high-top shoes with a Velcro-securable strap that is movable was released in 1982. It comes in different colors and color combinations but the most common color of Air Force 1 are solid white. Although it was discontinued in 1984, it was re-released in 1986 with a slight tweak in the Nike logo. The shoe comes in three different styles like low-cut, mid-cut and high top.

11. Boat Shoes

Boat shoes were also very popular and part of the overall prep look.  Popular to wear with no socks and coming in many styles they were a mainstay of 80s fashion.

12. Adidas Campus

This variation on the sneaker with a plush suede look, white rubber sole, and the three Adidas stripes was introduced in the 80s and is still quite popular today.  

A. Adidas Men’s Campus Sneakers

B. Adidas Originals Women’s Campus W Sneaker

These are some of the iconic shoes that made the 80’s more fashionable. Which of these do you still wear up to now?