The 7 Most Popular Sneaker Designers of All Time

by Carter Toni

When speaking to any sneakerhead on their ideal gig, designing kicks always arises in the discussion.

So who is liable for some of the one-time masterpieces and recent heat in everyone’s rotation? If becoming a sneaker designer is your dream, these are the most famous people to discover.

The footwear world is a wild place today, with new releases coming out weekly and fresh designs launching every month. Take time to look back at the remarkable history of this game.

Whether you’re a beginner to the sneaker game or a veteran, why not read our list where you might learn things you never knew before? Here are the seven most popular sneaker designers you should know.

1. Tinker Hatfield

Tinker Hatfield is more or less the best there is in terms of sneaker designers. Tinker is behind your favorite silhouettes and is responsible for having Michael Jordan contract with Nike. He designed the Air Max technology in 1987 and the famous Nike MAG for the movie Back to the Future 2.

The iconic silhouettes include:

  • Nike Air Max 1
  • Air Jordan 11
  • Air Jordan 3
  • Air Jordan 4
  • Nike MAG
  • Nike Air Max 90
  • Nike Air Huarache

So when it comes to the classics of Nike, Tinker Hatfield is the man, the myth behind it. His vision helped build the trademark to the standing it has reached.

Tinker Hatfield is the cause behind the finest sneaker fads this industry has ever known. He designed the most legendary and well-known sneaker designs on record.

2. Christian Tresser

Christian Tresser once dreamed of becoming a soccer player, but he finally decided to study design in San Francisco. He worked for many design firms and Reebok, where he made classic runners like the DMX Daytona, the 1992 Pyro, and the Aztrek. His hit at Reebok led him to the Swoosh, where he designed Air Zoom Spiridon and Air Max 97 as a lead footwear designer.

Some of his widespread designs include:

  • Reebok Aztrek 93
  • Reebok DMX Daytona
  • Nike Air Max 97
  • Nike Air Zoom Spiridon
  • Nike Air Zoom Alpha

Christian Tresser welds together creativity, passion, technical skill, art, design, and a love of sports. Search through kickscrew to learn more about the Nike Air Series.

3. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is one of the most pertinent sneaker designers, as he tried to have a hand in every brand. He designed InstaPump Fury with Reebok.

He worked at New Balance, where he created the 1500 and also revived the Air Zoom Spiridon Caged 2 at Nike. Of course, his notable recent work came at Adidas Yeezy, where he made models like the Foam RUNNR and the Yeezy Boost 700.

4. Peter Moore 

Peter Moore gets involved with almost anything cool and creative. Tinker Hatfield gets all the daps with MJ, but he made the first-ever signature sneaker Air Jordan 1. He also designed the ball-and-wings and the Jumpman logo for Nike.

According to rumors, he drew the wings logo on a napkin while on a flight. After his work with Nike, he became Creative Director at the Swoosh, although he went to Adidas and even shortly acted as CEO. While working with Adidas, he created the mountain logo and three bars most associated with equipment.

5. Chitose Abe

This Japanese woman is the designer of the Nike x Sacai Blazer Mid, LD Waffle, and VaporWaffle. Chitose Abe was born on November 9, 1965, in Gifu and worked as a seamstress when she was a girl. After graduating, she took a job at the World Co Ltd clothing company for a year and worked for the CDG fashion brand.

After eight years, she moved as a pattern designer at Junya Watanabe. Four more years later, during her maternity leave, she began her own brand, Sacai, from home. Although she learned from the best, it took time for Sacai to get on with the global audience.

Finally, the label thrived in Paris in 2018 when it disclosed its alliance with Nike on the LD Waffle Racer. The Nike LD Waffles were one of the most upscale sneakers in the year 2019.

Furthermore, she only not represents women but also a new era of Japanese designers. From what we know, they bring innovation everywhere they go.

6. Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh is a famous sneaker and fashion designer and one of the most renowned names in the industry. He makes fashion statements, not only cool kicks. Virgil Abloh is Kanye West’s friend, so we’d envision they swing the same wave of innovation.

His streetwear style via his label Off-White goes through with his association with Nike. Abloh also happens to be the creative director of Louis Vuitton. His incredible sneaker drops include wild Dunks, The Ten, the coolest Jordans, and more.

The good thing about Virgil Abloh is that his sneaker designs are reselling for a ton of money. His net worth is over $20 million dollars, with a $3 million salary from LV. So we can only imagine how many paychecks he makes off sneakers.

7. Eric Avar

Eric Avar is one of the most popular sneaker designers. He’s been designing Nike sneakers since the 1990s and focuses on performance and innovation.

Avar created many of Nike’s best-selling sneakers, such as: 

  • LeBron line
  • Kobe line
  • Zoom Kobe VII
  • Air Max Penny
  • Air Foamposite One
  • Zoom Flight 98 The Glove

Eric Avar is one of the top designers in Nike’s sneaker innovation. Avar’s designs are always futuristic, and other companies wonder how they could catch up.

Seven Most Popular Sneaker Designers

With the industry advancing every day, sneaker designers are also evolving. Fashion is everywhere, so representation is becoming more crucial by the minute. So even if other people wouldn’t consider kicks if they think of design, they must!

Check out all these sneaker designers mentioned above, and learn some things you can discuss with your fellow collectors. Learn more about sneakers by browsing through the rest of our guides!

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