Few footwear companies possess the legacy and longevity that Reebok does. Founded in 1958 in the United Kingdom, the brand broke through in the U.S. market on the eve of the 1980s, quickly hitting big on the aerobics boom. By 1983, Reebok was doing $13 million in annual sales, providing the footing to expand from aerobics and tennis to that of basketball and beyond. During this decade, Reebok released breakthrough designs such as the Reebok Club C, Reebok Classic Leather and much more. The brand also invested in new performance technology such as the Reebok Pump, which allowed wearers to adjust the fit of their sneaker simply by pressing on the trademark Pump system — sending air pressure throughout the upper of the shoe.
Over the course of the ’80s and ’90s, Reebok reached a variety of markets through unique designs tied to court sports, distance running and individual icons. Official endorsement from athletes such as Allen Iverson, Michael Chang and Shaquille O’Neal brought attention to the brand from a performance standpoint, offering visibility to Reebok releases when worn in competition. Off the court, celebrity endorsements from the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Sigourney Weaver and Jay Z kept Reebok in the conversation as a force in fashion from the ’80s into the 2000s.
Because of this, heralded designs across categories from Reebok have been deemed certified classics when it comes to style, with numerous looks remaining relevant to a modern audience. Marquee models such as the Reebok Workout Plus, Reebok Classic Leather, Reebok InstaPump Fury, Reebok Freestyle Hi and many others have amassed style success through celebrity endorsement, third-party collaboration and mood board inspiration in recent years.
When looking for a holiday gift to give a friend or yourself, a pair of Reeboks just may be the right fit. In fact, the most memorable models from Reebok hit home when it comes to nostalgia and wearability. As the holiday season is upon us, consider these time-tested Reebok designs that have remained stylish for decades.
In 1996, Reebok rolled out its first signature shoe for #1 NBA Draft Pick Allen Iverson: the Reebok Question. Designed by brand employees during Allen Iverson’s sophomore season at Georgetown, the shoe was ready for the red-hot point guard to wear once he turned pro, seeing on-court endorsement for the duration of his Rookie of the Year season. Sporting Hexalite cushioning, a semi-translucent sole and branded eyelets, the basketball shoe was insanely popular both on the court and in the streets, releasing as a low top in 1998. Since its arrival, the Reebok Question has almost always been available at retail and continued to prove popular. The likes of Teyana Taylor, Packer Shoes, A Bathing Ape and UNDFTD have all collaborated on the Reebok Question, with everyone from Kobe Bryant to LeBron James to Kendrick Lamar having worn the model publicly.
Reebok Club C
Inspired by ’80s court style, the Reebok Club C is a timeless model tied to tennis prestige. Proving popular in the 2010s and 2020s thanks to the movement towards normcore, the Club C is a certified classic that complements any outfit thanks to its clean leather upper, vintage aesthetic and archival branding. In recent years, the Club C has seen endorsement from the likes of A$AP Rocky, Scott Disick, Fabolous, Jonah Hill and Bryson Tiller. Additionally, major players in the fashion scene such as Maison Margiela, Palace and Gosha Rubchinskiy have collaborated on the Reebok Club C.
Reebok InstaPump Fury
Designed by famed Yeezy designer Steven Smith, the Reebok InstaPump Fury released in 1994 as one of the most progressive running shoes to ever hit the market. Imploring the brand’s trademark Pump technology for a form fit on the upper atop Hexalite cushioning in the sole, the Reebok InstaPump Fury was innovative in appearance and performance. In its introduction, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler famously wore pairs, soon catapulting the model to popularity. Today, the Reebok InstaPump Fury has been reworked by the likes of Vetements and even Adidas Originals with various colorways seeing wear from Chris Brown, Future, Swizz Beatz, Kylie Jenner and more.
Since arriving in 1987, the Reebok Workout has blazed a trail as a versatile gym shoe that’s proven timeless as a style staple. Distinguished by its H-Strap upper, leather composition and window branding, the Reebok Workout has remained popular in casual wear for consumers of all ages and genders, most often dressed in white leather but also taking well to various shades and material plays. Often, the Reebok Workout sports a signature “peanut butter sole,” though the model still takes well to solid rubber and translucent finishes. The likes of A$AP Rocky, Tyga and Rick Ross have all worn the Reebok Workout in modern times with brands such as Palace, AWAKE and Extra Butter collaborating on pairs.
Reebok Classic Leather
The Reebok Classic Leather is exactly what its name suggests. Debuting in 1983, the archival running design has gone the distance as a lifestyle staple by sporting a smooth leather look that’s defined by its sidewall branding and amplified by its rippled rubber sole. In recent years, the Reebok Classic Leather has continued to remain relevant in the fashion space thanks to wear from Gigi Hadid, Kendrick Lamar, Emily Ratajkowski, Jonah Hill and others. While many celebrities prefer the Reebok Classic Leather in its original inline form, collaborations from Maison Margiela, Face Stockholm and Cardi B continue to turn heads the same.
Reebok Freestyle Hi
In the ’80s, Reebok found its footing in the emerging fitness craze. With the release of the Reebok Freestyle Hi, the brand provided a graceful and supportive silhouette that could be danced in, worn for exercise or styled to the nines. In 1986, when Whoopi Goldberg took home the Golden Globe for Best Actress, she was brashly wearing the Reebok Freestyle to the award show on the red carpet. Since then, the shoe has flourished in sweaty gyms, flashy night clubs and top-tier events as an expression of female strength and energetic personality. Distinguished by a leather upper, padded ankle collar and velcro straps, the timeless design has been backed by the likes of Gigi Hadid, Alicia Keys, Amber Rose, Teyana Taylor and many more.
Reebok Pump Omni Zone II
Bridging the gap from the late ’80s to the early ’90s, Reebok Pump technology took center stage on the basketball court through an array of noteworthy models. However, it was in 1991 when Dee Brown wore the Reebok Pump Omni Zone II in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest that the line leaped to new heights. Preparing for an epic slam, Brown bent over and pumped up his sneakers with fans from all over the world watching. After Brown completed a no-look dunk and took home the trophy, the technology and the model were forever embedded in pop culture history. Even 30 years later, the Reebok Pump Omni Zone II is a stylish homage to the past thanks to its orange Pump branding, wavy sidewall support and vintage mix of leather and textile across the upper.