11 Best Shoe Brands
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Searching For The Best Shoe Brands
Whether running, walking, hiking, or strutting, the simple fact of the matter is we all tend to spend a good portion of the day sporting a pair of shoes. This can be hit or miss depending on the pair (we’ve all had the blister to prove it).
So, rather than going for chance, we’re choosing our destiny by looking at the best shoe brands on the market.
What constitutes the best? We’re looking not only at style here, but weight, range, price, and most importantly (in our books) reputation and durability.
No one wants to spend a boatload on a pair of shoes that only last a year. We want that high-quality material made to run every day with ease.
We’ll be the first to admit that many on the list will be ones likely heard of before, but hey, they have a reputation for a reason. We’ll be breaking down just why those brands are seen as the top and why a few other lesser-known names are right up there with them.
11 Best Shoe Brands
We’re pretty sure Nike will be one of the first names to come to mind when we say running shoes. It only makes sense to start this list of the best shoe brands with such a popular name.
So, let’s “check” this one off the list right away with a quick look into what the best-selling brand has to offer.
Nike has been a household name since 1964 when track coach Bill Bowerman originally launched it under a different name (Blue Ribbon Sports anyone?). Outlets popped up within two years and it didn’t take long for this store to expand to branded shoes, clothing, and accessories.
Fitting the bill for any person of any size, age, gender, and race, this brand is all about bringing people together through physical activity. Best known for their classic logo appearing on shoes and apparel, Nike truly is a brand many have grown up with, making it all the more important to see them turn their goals towards sustainability and zero carbon emissions.
In addition to flat rate international shipping and 60-day returns, this brand is also known for their prices. Usually, top names equal top prices, but Nike offers a great range that typically sits between $50 to $300 per pair of shoes.
While there’s definitely a higher end of the spectrum, their most expensive shoe prices do tend to equate to other top brands on the market and their lower-end pricing makes a big difference to those who don’t have the budget for those bigger costs.
- Offers an expansive range of child and adult shoes alongside apparel and accessories
- Returns after 60-days on unworn items
- Four shipping speeds
- Open Box shoes for lower pricing and reduced waste
Where there is Nike, there tends to be Adidas. These three stripes have made their own place in the world for a classic everyday look that offers solid support. Known for their durable designs, Adidas has become synonymous with strong sneakers, but let’s get into exactly why that is.
Adidas joined the world from Germany in 1949, founded by Adi Dassler with a shoe that highlighted the classic three stripes.
By 1954, this company made their name by introducing lightweight football shoes with screw-in studs that later took the national football team to the world cup. With a victory behind their brand, it wasn’t long before Adidas began popping up in every store.
Focusing on sports and activity bringing better experiences to life, this brand is all about togetherness and clean living for people and the planet.
Now working with recyclable and sustainable materials, this brand wants to reduce their impact on the environment for a brighter world ahead. Their shoes, clothing, and accessories are all made with these values in mind, hoping to create memorable times for people with every step.
In terms of pricing, this brand really expands the cost spectrum working from $30 to $1,120 depending on the product. Their higher-listed items tend to reflect style, exclusivity, and oftentimes feature top-tier recycled materials.
While their prices do go higher than some in the industry, the fact that they still list numerous options below the $100 mark makes them a winner for many individuals.
- A wide range of child and adult shoes, accessories, and apparel available
- Uses sustainable materials and practices
- International shipping offered
- Runtastic App tracks fitness data
- Student discount
Jonathan Peters worked with the likes of Cole Haan and Adidas before he came to a realization: dress shoes were boring. Everything about the workplace was changing, from technology to working from home. Still, dress shoes were stuck in a different era. That’s why he decided to launch Amberjack in 2020.
Dubbed the “world’s most advanced dress shoes” by GQ, Amberjack makes some of the most comfortable, design-forward pairs using premium sustainable materials. Currently, the brand offers three core styles: The Original ($179), The Chelsea ($195), and The Loafer ($175).
What sets Amberjack further away from the pack of shoe giants out there is the company’s attention to detail. For example, they came up with a brand new material to make the soles of their shoes more comfortable, and Portuguese artisans fashion every pair.
Plus, Amberjack sources all of its leather from an ISO-certified sustainable tannery and protects each pair of dress shoes in plastic-free packaging. Did I mention they use 100% carbon-neutral shipping?
- High-quality shoes made to last
- Handcrafted feel
- Modern designs for the contemporary man
- Affordable price point for a dressier shoe
- Sustainable ethos
- Free shipping and returns in the US
One of the oldest names in the game, Converse has a long and winding history leading to that All-Star patch we’ve all grown so fond of. A staple of the teen (and adult) years, the shape and style now seen as a classic originally began not in the realm of lifestyle shoes, but instead intended for sports.
Born of the Converse Rubber Company (that first launched in 1908), the shoe as we know it today first appeared in 1917 making its way from the stylized tennis shoe into a basketball shoe that would sweep the courts.
Due to the traditional diamond tread, players had traction to move in all directions, turning with ease as the four corners of the design allowed. Add in the ankle protection from the inner heel pad and these shoes definitely had an edge over the competition.
Gaining the name of Chuck Taylor’s in the 1930s to celebrate player and salesman Chuck Taylor himself, this brand carried on their basketball title well into the 1950s where extra padding and a low-top style (intended for the faster basketball game) were added.
That move away from the initial style transitioned the shoe not only for a faster game but also into a design suitable for everyday wear.
The low-top appearance was easy to throw on and off for teens and young adults in sporting and leisure lifestyles leading to the now skateboarding, basketball, and standard all-star styles.
The best part about these shoes comes from the price. Despite their well-known name and popular style, they haven’t gone crazy with costs. This may in part be due to their buyout from Nike, but costs tend to exist in a similar spectrum from $50 to $140.
Classic styles, easy costs, and a patch that speaks more history than other brands ever could – it’s no wonder this durable brand has lasted so long on the market.
- Offers a spectrum of men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes for sporting and leisure
- Heritage name with veritable success in the shoe game
- Low costs compared to others on the market
- Student and military discounts
- Partner with well-known names such as Todd Snyder and Pokémon
We’re adding another brand run by one of the top contenders to this list. While owned by Adidas, we feel that Reebok stands on their own as an entry for one of the best shoe brands for style and pricing alone.
Entering the market from the UK in 1958, this business worked their way up from founder Joe Foster’s original vision of tackling the athletics market.
Initially inspired by designs from Adidas and Puma, this company understood that the European shoe market already had viable contenders for sports shoes, so they aimed to take over the US industry from day one. Introducing a female aerobics shoe was a great start to finding that traction.
The 1980s saw the meteoric rise of this brand as they overtook Nike as a top seller in the US due to the release of their basketball Pump design. Unfortunately, the title was reclaimed by Nike in the 1990s and further years.
As a result, Adidas took hold of the Reebok name, and the brand grew beyond shoes to include accessories and apparel for men, women, and children.
Now aiming to reach 100% sustainability by 2030, Reebok has yet to let their new ownership slow their goals or passion for the work they create.
They continue to release innovative designs, leading to an inventory that ranges in cost from $50 to $650 depending on the style and exclusivity of the designs available. Maintaining some fashions with neutral tones, this brand has also proven they’re not afraid to get a little crazy with pattern and style, leading to a loyal following over the years.
Related: For more information, check out our Reebok Review.
- An extensive range of shoes, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and children to choose from
- Working towards complete sustainability in material and production
- Offer home workouts online
- Student, military, teacher, frontline, and government worker discounts
- Self-service returns
6. New Balance
Another name to make history, New Balance came to play in 1906 and has been dominating the game ever since. Despite the early start, this business didn’t actually begin making shoes until the 1930s, focusing on arch support and fitting accessories prior to that.
The introduction of athletic footwear and new ownership in the 1950s later led to the creation of both the ripple sole and a variety in shoe width that they’re known for today.
Since then, this brand has expanded beyond a simple sneaker into a world of sports shoes and attire categorized by every athletic event one could think to try. Adding in recent accessories and gear, New Balance aims to be something of a one-stop-shop for athletic wear and gear to get people active and appropriately dressed for the occasion.
Always aiming to encourage positive change, this brand has not only focused their energy on creating products to aid their customers, but they’ve also centralized efforts on building communities.
Through participation and support for a number of organizations, New Balance has put money and time towards a number of social issues including climate change, inclusivity, diversity, LGTBQ+ safe spaces, women in sports, and more.
Despite spending a good portion of money on endeavors other than their own business, this brand manages to keep prices down for sustainable materials and manufacturing.
In fact, prices generally sit between the $45 to $260 range for all running and sports shoes. Not too bad when considering the popularity of the name that’s known for solid arch support and sizing.
- Offers a wide range of shoes, clothing, and accessories for men, women, and children
- Student discounts available
- Idea submission to patent unique designs
- Known for quality arch support
- Supports a number of social causes
Moving from soccer to skateboarding, Vans joined the scene in 1966 from the brains of the two Van Doren brothers.
Rather than selling from the shops like many others on the scene at the time, these two distinguished themselves and their new brand by producing the shoes right on the premises of where they were sold. Freshly made, right into the customers’ hands.
The defining feature of these skate shoes came from their treads. Featuring a sticky sole and later a padded collar, these shoes became prime picks among skaters in California.
Upping durability with leather stripping for those harsh moves and falls commonly seen among skateboarding, these weather-proofed shoes spread to international popularity.
Since securing their market with the target demographic, this brand has turned their attention to sustainability by eliminating all single-use plastics.
Working towards solely sustainable sourcing and recyclable materials by 2030, Vans has continued to grow their product line to include BMX, snow, and surf shoes as well as a more recent line of clothing.
Due to their extended categories of surf and snow, this brand has grown to include boots and sandals in their inventory to match the occasions they market towards.
We’d expect a wider range of pricing as a result, but Vans has managed to keep costs between $45 and $200, which is more than reasonable considering others on the market.
- A wide range of skate, snow, surf, and BMX shoes and clothing to choose from
- Military discount available
- Customization options
- Customization contest runs annually
- Four shipping methods
Another German name on this list of the best shoe brands, Puma came to the scene in 1919 with the Dassler brothers. Inspired by the notions of speed and performance, the duo set out working from their parents’ home, not gaining access to their own factory grounds until 1924.
It actually didn’t take long for this brand’s name to become famous. By 1928 they had a number of athletes sporting their shoes in the Olympics and, with multiple wins in the 1936 Olympics, this name saw a rise in international status.
A familial disagreement in 1948 led to the separation between the brothers, leading to the name change of Randolph Dassler’s business to the Puma we know and love today.
Since then, this brand has made their name in speedy athletic wear, commonly seen in soccer and running thanks to Olympic partnerships. With multiple wins and more clout than you can shake a fist at, it’s easy to see why these gripping sneakers remain a top name in the industry.
Providing not only classic trainers and sneakers, but a variety of clothing, gear, and accessories as well, this brand has taken to playing with their own styles through fun patterning, open communication with customers, and even cool collabs with names like the Justice League.
All about style and performance, it’s no wonder the price of this elite brand matches the winning status they’ve earned over the years. While they do have products in the lower end of the spectrum around $40, many of their products sit as high as $450.
- Offers an elite line of athletic and leisure shoes and attire
- Service and student discounts
- Supported by a number of Olympic medalists
- Financing options available through Afterpay
- Sustainability plans in place for 2025
Another Nike one for the list of the best shoe brands, Jordan may be one of the higher-status names on this list. Despite being owned by Nike, the Air Jordan brand has taken on a life of its own with a separate line of shoes and clothing under the distinct name and logo.
This brand was born from a single product. In 1984, Nike was struggling due to the success of Reebok, and they felt the need for a big move. Enter Michael Jordan.
This favored basketball star had originally hoped to partner with Adidas or Converse, but both brands were undergoing changes at the time and already had All-Stars to their name. As a result, Jordan signed on and the first pair of Air Jordans were created.
Focused on the infamous Michael Jordan dunk, these shoes (and later the brand) became all about that airtime, even going so far as to reflect it in the logo. Jordan went against NBA regulations to wear colored shoes on the court, leading to media and fan attention and gaining momentum of the brand in no time.
Fast forward to today’s line of shoes and clothes sporting that all-star silhouette of a great player and the brand’s elite status has remained on top as one of the more exclusive names in the industry.
Starting prices for this name and logo tend to sit a bit higher, typically around the $70 range, and can go up to $250 depending on the product.
We’ll be honest, depending on the store they’re sold in, prices can range much higher for select styles, but the average pricing for a pair rests around $145. And the money does good in the world too as this brand proudly supports community, diversity, and inclusivity projects throughout the US.
- An exclusive selection of shoes and clothing for men, women, and children to choose from
- Partnered with Michael Jordan
- Supports youth and diverse communities through charitable donations
- Works alongside Nike
- Jordan family grants to support underprivileged athletes
A lesser-known name on this list of the best shoe brands, On joined the industry in 2010 from the Swiss Alps themselves. This Zurich-born company came from the minds of friends Olivier Bernhard, David Allemann, and Caspar Coppetti after Bernhard retired from the world of professional athletics.
Looking to revolutionize a part of the industry he belonged to for so long, Bernhard worked alongside an engineer to craft a running shoe that incorporated a cushioned landing and firm take-off for an all-around better experience.
After just one month on the market, this brand had customers praising them non-stop for their innovative approach to such a classic past-time. Now on the market for over 10 years, the brand has grown from their single location to over 50 countries worldwide, winning international awards for their products and designs.
With transparent sustainability and production methods, On continues to hold themselves accountable for all actions.
That’s why they always want to run that extra mile in their work by not only using sustainable materials and methods but continuing innovative approaches towards these practices. Their most recent creation, the CleanCloud, actually uses carbon emissions in the crafting of this lightweight and high-density foam used in their line of sneakers.
Focusing on a wider selection of runners, this brand also produces some clothing and accessories for their athletic line as well. However, their passion remains in the world of sneakers and that’s shown through the expansive inventory of weather-proof and Cloud shoes.
Due to their approaches to materials and manufacturing, this brand definitely sits higher in costs than others, starting at $170 and going up to $270. Of course, these prices do come from sustainable methods and innovative ingredients, so it might be a good trade-off.
- Offers a line of shoes and apparel for men and women
- Use their Shoe Finder to find the best fit
- Utilizes carbon emissions in their products
- Free shipping in all countries aside from India, Indonesia, Israel, or Malaysia
- Created by a retired professional athlete
Joining this list of the best shoe brands from down under (and a little to the right), Allbirds comes from the stunning land of New Zealand to provide a cleaner option for a greener tomorrow.
This 2014 company was launched from the minds and talents of Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger who felt there was a huge gap in the world of sustainable footwear.
Familiar with the uses and abilities of merino wool, the two set out to design a fully-functional shoe from sustainably sourced material, leading to a wool-based sneaker unlike any other on the market.
Keeping their business simple in style, Allbirds removes logos and patterning to provide pieces that look simple and feel great. Shipped in recyclable packaging, this B Corp Certified business is all about eco-friendly practices every step of the way.
In fact, they’ve even partnered with Souls4Souls to ensure that lightly used pairs don’t end up in the waste, but find new homes in communities in need.
Working primarily with wool, TENCEL, sugarcane, and TRINO (trees plus Merino wool – so clever), this company tries to keep everything grounded through nature. Their sustainable living relates to minimalism, making their more limited selection of products a choice linked to their overall goal of reversing climate change and reducing environmental impact.
As for their selection, their lines of men’s and women’s shoes and apparel are more selective than others on the list.
With that being said, the shorter span of products also means a reduced spectrum of cost, leaving most items between $100 to $150. While they’re more than some on this list, the complete sustainability behind creation definitely equates to slightly higher costs.
Related: For more information, check out our Allbirds Shoes Review.
- Selection of shoes and apparel for men and women
- Sustainable materials
- Weather-proof shoe line
- Partnered with a variety of environmentally friendly causes and organizations
- A smaller price gap between the highest and lowest costing items
Which Best Shoe Brands Are Unisex?
While brands typically separate their products via gender for sizing and style, there are a few on the market who provide unisex options. Either in sizing or design, a number of the names on this list try to keep things neutral.
We’re far from the first to argue against gendering items – let people wear whatever colors they want – but for those in search of truly neutral items, the best shoe brands to shop from are the following:
These businesses provide the same styles in both men’s and women’s sections, adding in identifiers as unisex for quick discovery. We love the ease of fast shopping.
Which Best Shoe Brands Last the Longest?
We have to admit, it’s tough to answer this one for some of the newer names we’ve listed in this article. While they have all been around for at least five years, there’s far less research and evidence to their names than some of the lengthier lifespans we’ve seen.
As it stands, the most durable and longest-lasting brands seem to be the ones with the most history. In fact, Adidas and Converse really top the list due to thick soles and tough materials that keep any wear and tear at bay.
We’re not saying these brands last forever, but they’ve topped many lists for their lengthy lifespans before and seem to be holding firm in their titles.
Which Best Shoe Brands Are Cheapest?
When aiming for the best shoe brands with the cheapest prices, it’s pretty simple to throw together a list. We’ve added average ranges from all of the brands we’ve touched upon, but looking to the lowest costs available in this article, the top three are:
- Adidas ($30)
- Puma ($40)
- New Balance and Vans ($45)
We wanted to do a sweet and simple top three, but since there are two brands tied in that last slot, it’s technically a top four.
Either way, these ones come in at the cheapest, which is wild when you consider that Adidas doubles up with the most expensive options we’ve listed. Range really does make a difference.
How to Shop the Best Shoe Brands
Before jumping into one of these brands headfirst, it’s best to know what to look for when buying.
Everyone has a different goal in mind for their shoes, but no matter what the purpose behind the purchase is, anyone can benefit from pausing a moment to consider these key elements.
They’re just a few nice and easy elements to keep in mind when browsing the shops (since we bombarded you earlier with history and facts about the best shoe brands). Categorized to make it more organized, here are our top features to think over:
As with anything, brand does come into play. The reputation and history behind a brand can make a big difference when it comes to purchasing time. Customer ratings and reviews are a great way to learn what brands to trust and invest in rather than wasting money on an unknown.
We’re not saying don’t go with new brands. Our suggestion here is research. Look into the sourcing practices – are they transparent or do they keep things close to the chest?
And when searching for customer responses, we’d suggest trudging through forums like Reddit for unbiased and, more importantly, unpaid reviews. The number of sponsored ratings online can get overwhelming.
Quality and material go hand in hand. No one wants to pay for itchy, scratchy, and shabby designs that hurt and fall apart. That’s why checking into materials can make a big difference here. Any flaws should come up during brand research but going in knowing what fabrics (both natural and synthetic) are used can make a big difference.
Aim for known materials with lasting lifespans. The better the quality, the longer a piece tends to last and we’re always about investments rather than annual purchases over here.
Hand-in-hand with materials comes durability. It’s safe to say that searching for a durable design made to withstand weather can make a huge difference. We’re not saying leather is always the choice here as everyone needs to search for the style that suits them.
We are saying that when looking at mesh, cotton, and wool designs, do a bit of digging to see how long the typical shoe lasts through constant use.
If you’re going to spend money, we’re suggesting it go towards shoes, beds, or chairs. Those are really where we spend our time after all. So, comfort really is everything for shoes.
No one wants rubbing, blisters, tight fits, squeezing, or suffocation. All we want are comfortable shoes that move easily with every step we take.
For some this means a search for better arch support, for others it means wider or narrow styles. Find the size and shape that suits individual needs for the best results and don’t be ashamed to really narrow in on the specifications your feet desire.
Invest in a good pair, not a cheap design bound to cause more harm than good.
A big one in this day and age, sustainability tends to pop up in most businesses on the market. We will say that some companies show this area more dedication than others. Out of our list alone, most claim sustainable methods but there are two that really stand out above the rest:
These two names are dedicated to a truly sustainable business venture, and it shows in every aspect of their work.
They aren’t alone in the industry to do this type of production, but it definitely requires research to find brands as passionate about truly sustainable living.
Just a bit of online reading can highlight a company’s thoughts on the subject, so take a minute to do a quick search for the information.
Personal style is everything with shoes. Matching outfits, activities, and tone, shoes can make or break a look. So, it’s important to find a brand that fits personal purpose regarding where they shoes will go and what all they’ll be standing up against.
Another thing to consider here is (unfortunately) gender. Many brands separate their products and designs by gender due to sizing.
We will say that there are a lot of companies that offer unisex styles in both sizes, but unfortunately, that doesn’t yet exist everywhere. Don’t give up hope just because one brand doesn’t offer that unisex style. Keep searching and it’ll appear.
Last, but certainly not least for this list of the best shoe brands, we ask for a consideration of price. Some brands do start decently low (see the list above), but they can also easily jump into the hundreds and thousands for a single pair.
Be budget-aware in all shopping experiences. Try to go in with a number in mind and stick as closely to that as possible. Don’t break the bank just because a pair of shoes look cool.
Look for a balance of form and function that matches the initial budget (or at least sits nearby the limit). There’s more than one cool pair out there, we promise.
What are the 3 most popular shoe brands?
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the most popular brands of anything are, but money doesn’t really lie. The trick here is that numbers one and two stay constant throughout the years, but the third most popular name changes depending on the list.
We can say with confidence that the top two best shoe brands are Nike and Adidas. As for the third, that listing tends to fluctuate between Converse, Puma, and Jordan.
What is the #1 shoe brand?
According to sales, the currently top shoe brand internationally is Nike. This company has held their position at the top since the 1990s, with increasing success in the 2010s.
What makes them so popular? A lot of it comes down to affordable prices in such a wide range of styles. Every age and size exists in a variety of options, making it easy to pick from a well-known and trustworthy brand without breaking the bank.
What shoe brand is most popular?
Again, Nike seems to take the title. We do want to say here though that Adidas comes in very close second place.
These two titles have been battling it out since the 1970s for the title of the best and, while Nike may have the official top spot, Adidas has managed to stay in the running for a reason.
Both providing solid products and a range in pricing, these brands are known for their exquisite footwear selection. Add in their endless fitness and athletic attire – it’s no wonder they’ve both stayed at the top.
What shoe brand makes a great sneaker?
Most of the brands we’ve listed got their start in the athletic industry. Due to this, their later leisurewear made an easy transition from high-performance pieces into comfortable and supportive products that suit everyday wear.
A few brands stand out for comfort, cost, and selection:
- New Balance
These brands have all produced durable shoes that breathe, making for a great casual sneaker.
Able to withstand weather, winds, and rough terrain, their designs can handle the changing skies come rain or shine just as well as they can handle a nice jog or game of pick-up basketball. It’s all about the material and tread.
There’s a lot to take in here, but what it ultimately comes down to is staying self-aware throughout the shopping experience.
Go in with expectations and non-negotiables (including a budget to live by) and remember the purpose behind the purchase. Is the search for an athletic shoe? For a casual sneaker? Running? Soccer? Basketball? Skateboarding?
Every brand has their specialties, so keep the search narrowed towards purpose and work outwardly from there. Once the purpose is firmly in mind, everything else will (eventually) fall in line too.
From style to fit to sustainability to cost, they’re all available somewhere in the market. All it takes is a bit of a search to find that perfect fit.
Check out other top brands through our curated lists:
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