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The Most Iconic Shoes in Footwear History

Updated May 21, 2019 3.7k votes 680 voters 10.4k views20 items

List RulesDistinct shoe types you recognize by sight, can be real or from fictional works

Shoes are a necessity. What else would we wear to protect our precious little toes from the wilderness of the outside world? But just because they are a basic need, that doesn't mean they need to be basic. This list of the most iconic shoes proves that footwear can make a statement in a way that no other article of clothing can. 

Cave drawings from more than 15,000 years ago depict humans with animal skins or furs wrapped around their feet for protection. Shoes have come a long way since then, although they still occasionally use animal skins and furs. Designers like Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, and Christian Louboutin have elevated the shoe to a wearable form of art to be lusted over and sought after. 

Shoes have the ability to take us home (like Dorothy's ruby slippers), take us back to ancient civilization (like gladiator sandals), and flat-out confuse us (like Antonio Berardi's heelless boots). Shoes inspire songs (like Nelly's "Air Force Ones" and Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made For Walking"), help our athletes achieve their goals (like Michael Johnson's Gold Nikes), and keep us warm (like those terrible Ugg boots). Truth be told, we don't know where we'd be without shoes, but we definitely know we could not have walked there without them. 

So dust off your shoes (whether they be Keds or Converse) and get ready to trek through our list of the most well-known shoes and important show brands of all time. Vote for the ones that have become icons! 
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  • 5

    Adidas Superstars

    Adidas Superstars
    Photo: Adidas

    The rubber shell-toe and signature three stripes have been produced by Adidas since 1969. They became iconic when Run-D.M.C. rocked them without laces. 

    Source: Wikipedia
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  • 6

    Dr. Martens

    Dr. Martens were the shoe of the grunge trend. The company ran into some trouble and almost went bankrupt in 2003. Since then, they've been able to bounce back, offering a more comfortable shoe that's supposed to be easier to break in than the originals. Most likely the resurgence can be tied to the fact that 90's fashion seems to be back. 

    Source: Wikipedia
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  • 7

    Dorothy's Ruby Slippers

    Perhaps one of the best known shoes ever are Dorothy's ruby slippers, worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 MGM film Wizard of Oz. With just a few clicks, these shoes transported Dorothy home to Auntie Em.

    Even Dorothy's shoes are up for sale!

    Source: The National Museum of American History
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  • 8

    Jimmy Choos

    Jimmy Choos
    Photo: Jimmy Choo

    Celebrities, heads of state, and musicians love their Jimmy Choos. Royalty too! Princess Diana loved the infamous brand. 

     You know you want em!

    Source: Jimmy Choo
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