The most popular trainer brands around the world
Streetwear and trainers will always be in fashion, but which are the most popular sneaker models and brands around the world?
We may only be halfway through the year, but the sneaker world moves fast, and there are already countless contenders of new models competing to become the next staple shoe.
From general release bangers to unexpected collaborations, there’s plenty to catch up on in the world of footwear and in-demand trainers.
By researching the most popular trainer brands around the world using Google search volume data, we will identify the brands and collections that are most popular now, those that have stood the test of time, the brands that are up and coming, and those that haven’t quite made the cut in more recent years.
To help navigate all of the best trainers in the world, we created the Sneaker Index which covers all of the latest drops, but first, we will look back at the most in-demand footwear over the years:
The Most Iconic Trainers in the World
Nike Air Force 1 are the Top Trending Trainers in the World, with Nearly 6.6 Million Monthly Searches
1. Nike Air Force 1
Total Average Monthly Searches: 6,538,333
The classic Nike Air Force 1 shoe scored highest for the top trending trainers over the years, averaging almost 6.6 million global monthly searches. Designed in 1982, the Air Force 1 was the first ever basketball shoe to feature Nike Air technology, revolutionising the game and sneaker culture for years to come. While perusing around your city, you are more than likely to spot some Air Forces, earning its status as a fashion staple throughout the seasons.
The Nike Air Force 1 is a versatile shoe and a tried and tested classic and is fit for purpose no matter the occasion; whether you’re heading to the gym, on a night out, or hanging out with friends, the Air Force 1 never disappoints.
2. Nike Air Jordan 1
Total Average Monthly Searches: 1,563,125
Air Jordan, a line of basketball shoes produced by Nike, came second in the running with its cult trainer: the Nike Air Jordan 1, averaging almost 1.6 million monthly searches. The classic Jordan 1 was launched back in 1987, sealing the collaboration between Nike and Michael Jordan. Nike was building its strategy to work with athletes to launch shows that could inspire consumers. In 2022, Jordan generated over $5 billion in revenue inside Nike’s trainer empire.
The Jordan 1’s ideology was very simple: they were made for consumers who may or may not love basketball (or may not even play sports) and from any walk of life. This accessibility and concept have made the shoe even more legendary today.
3. Nike Dunk
Total Average Monthly Searches: 1,484,104
In third place is another shoe model from Nike, the Dunk, which averaged 1.4 million searches per month. The Nike Dunk quickly gained popularity among college basketball players, thanks to its superior cushioning and support. Back in the 1990s, the Dunk also began to gain appeal from the skateboarding community.
Thanks to the birth of Nike’s SB division in 2002, the sneaker world saw its first Nike SB Dunk Lows. With changes to the tongue, laces, insole, and outsole, the legendary Dunk became a modern skatewear icon.
The Most in Demand Trainers of 2023
Adidas Forum Trainers Had Biggest Increase in Searches Between 2022 and 2023
1. Adidas Forum
Annual Search Increase: 1,478%
The Adidas Forum sneaker has been seen worn by the likes of A$AP Rocky and Frank Ocean, which has caused its popularity to rise in the last few months (approximately a 1,478% increase from last year). Retro sneakers like the Forum are replacing luxury and performance styles we’d been accustomed to in recent years. Combining this model with vintage style and collaborations with the likes of Beyonce’s Ivy Park, it's an exciting new era for the Adidas Forum.
2. Nike Dunk
Annual Search Increase: 421%
The Nike Dunk came up second for the most in-demand shoes, recording an increase in searches of 421% since last year. The trainer is a popular classic and versatile sneaker silhouette that has stood the test of time. The shoe can be worn by anyone, regardless of age or personal style and has been worn by celebrities across the board.
3. Adidas Samba
Annual Search Increase: 394%
The Adidas Samba is everywhere at the moment, and its demand extends to its search volume (394% increase compared to last year). The popularity of the Samba falls down to celebrity endorsements and social media influence primarily, but all in all, it's a great shoe at an accessible price. Old-school colourways tend to sell out quickly but almost always get restocked. The Samba was released over 74 years ago and is second only to the Stan Smith in the list of Adidas’ best-selling sneakers of all time.
The Least in Demand Trainers of 2023
Reebok Workout Lo Trainers Saw Biggest Decrease in Searches Between 2022 and 2023
1. Reebok Workout Lo
Annual Search Decrease -87%
Sports brand, Reebok, recorded the lowest in-demand shoe with their Workout Lo trainers, which saw a decrease in Google searches of -87%. The sports-inspired style is built with premium leather and suede uppers, with a comforting EVA foam midsole and a padded ankle collar. The retro revival of this vintage shoe didn’t quite make the cut, which could be thanks to its Reebok Workout Plus shoe which dropped in December 2022. The Reebok Workout Lo trainers recorded an average monthly search volume of 108 searches in 2022, stooping to just 35 searches a month in the first half of 2023.
2. Vans Era 95
Annual Search Decrease: -81%
The Vans Era 95 witnessed the second-highest drop in searches at -81% between 2022 and 2023. The shoe, which pays tribute to the first Vans factory in Anaheim, California, borrowed details from the original Era and offers comfort with Ortholite sock liners. The shoe also includes throwback details like the original style number and colour palette of reissued prints. The low-top sneakers are extremely popular among skaters, but may not appeal to other consumers.
3. Nike Air Jordan XII
Annual Search Decrease: -77%
The classic Air Jordan XII saw the third-highest drop in searches at -77% in the last year. The shoe was originally launched in the season of MJ’s fifth championship (between ‘96 and ‘97) which helped solidify it as one of the most durable Air Jordans of all time. This XII model has had to compete with some of the most popular shoes in the range, including the Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan XI and Air Jordan VI, which are some of the most coveted shoes today.
The Most-Loved Trainers on Social Media
Nike Air Force 1 is the Most In-Demand Trainer in the World
1. Nike Air Force 1
Sneaker Score: 8.29 out of 10
Topping our list of Insta-worthy trainers is the Nike Air Force 1, with 1.9 billion TikTok tag views around the world. The Air Force 1 is Nike’s best-selling sneaker year after year and it is a classic whether you are into collecting sneakers or not. The cult trainer has 2.6 million mentioned posts on Instagram, and the Nike footwear powerhouse has the highest number of followers of any other sports brand (301 million). Collected with mentions of the brand (117.1 million mentioned posts), Nike’s ‘Swoosh’ dominates the footwear industry.
2. Nike Dunk
Sneaker Score: 8.24 out of 10
As well as being one of the top trending trainers in terms of search volume, the Nike Dunk also does pretty well on social media. The Nike Dunk recorded 2.3 billion TikTok tag views, as well as 1.6 million hashtag mentions on Instagram. The basketball-inspired shoe is simple, effective, easy to wear, and is offered in a range of ‘speaking to the majority’ colourways, which is entirely part of the success of the pair.
3. Nike Air Jordan 1
Sneaker Score: 8.19 out of 10
The desirable Nike Air Jordan 1 ranked as the third most-loved trainer on social media, recording 1.2 billion TikTok tag views and 2.5 million Instagram hashtags. The Air Jordan 1 is considered the epitome of streetwear and could even be regarded as the start of sneaker culture. The impact of Michael Jordan in the basketball world, combined with Nike’s tactful advertising helped make this iconic sneaker as popular as it is today.
Top Trending Up and Coming Trainers
For this section, we've looked at the top trending sneakers released in the last year. But how do they compare to the most popular trainers of all time?
Introducing the ‘It’ Trainer of 2023: Reebok BB 4000 II
1. Reebok BB 4000 II
Annual search increase: 465%
The Reebok BB 4000 II trainers recorded the highest increase in searches out of the 29 most up-and-coming trainers analysed, showing a staggering growth of 465% in the last year. Reebok has been around since 1958 and continues to be one of the most popular sneaker brands in the United States.
The model has retro vibes all over and is inspired by all things sports. The BB was introduced by Reebok in the ‘80s and ‘90s, following the company's successes in tennis and aerobics. As a cult classic and a loved shoe for generations, Reebok made a comeback in October 2022 with the BB 4000 II, revisiting its most beloved signature basketball sneakers from decades past. The 80s-born shoe takes a hoop-inspired design, colours, and performance designed for the casual consumer.
2. Gucci X Adidas Gazelle Sneakers
Annual search increase: 308%
The Gucci X Adidas Gazelle Sneakers scored second place, with a search increase of 308% between 2022 and 2023. Gucci’s exclusive collaboration with Adidas came about when Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, launched his show in June 2021 with the first drop of a ready-to-wear collection, in which Adidas codes were thoroughly Guccified. Michele, an avid collector of Adidas Gazelle sneakers, is a longtime fan of Adidas. Michele’s beloved Gazelles were also Guccified, featuring the intertwined GG lettering.
3. Adidas Originals Gazelle 85
Annual search increase: 304%
Another firm favourite from Adidas is the Gazelle 85’s, earning an increase in searches of 304% over the last year. The trainer, born in the ‘60s, has a long and rich history on the pitch. The 85 shoe is inspired by a lesser-known version released in 1985. The Gazelle 85 has a low-key look, with refined details including a smooth suede material, reworked pattern, and pure Adidas style. The Gazelle has been worn by everyone from football fans to skaters and club kids. When compared with the standard Gazelle shoe, the 1985’s Gazelle sports a slightly different upper and features a wider toe box, and the heel counter on this version is an improvement, along with a thicker sole.
The Most Popular New Kicks on Social Media
Nike Dunk Low Panda 1 is the Top Trending New Trainer on Social Media
1. Nike Dunk Low Panda
Sneaker Score: 8.84 out of 10
The Dunk Panda from Nike is the top trending new trainer, scoring 8.84 out of 10 in the social media ranking. The Panda model holds a whopping 69.5 million TikTok tag views and over 16,300 Instagram hashtags. Coupled with a brand following of 301 million, this shoe is bound to be trending for months to come.
The Nike Dunk Low’s “Panda” comes from its black and white colours on the pair and their positioning on its structure. It is a simple and easy-to-wear shoe that appeals to all, and its colourway is wholly part of the success of the pair.
2. Nike Terminator
Sneaker Score: 8.08 out of 10
Nike Terminator is a high-top shoe by Nike that was introduced back in 1985 but remains a top trending shoe 37 years later. Placing second in the ranking with a score of 8.08 out of 10, this shoe has 801,400 TikTok tag views and 9,800 Instagram mentions. The first Terminator movie premiered in 1984, coincidentally, a year before the shoe arrived. Unlike the Air Jordan 1 which debuted in the same year, the Terminator wasn’t a widely available shoe.
3. Nike Air Max 90 Futura
Sneaker Score: 7.67 out of 10
The Nike Air Max 90 placed third with a score of 7.67 out of 10. The Air Max 90s provide great support for your feet, which could be its claim to fame. Over the past 30 years, the Nike Air Max 90 has remained a constant silhouette on almost every sneaker collector's shelf. The Air Max 90 Futura has 165.8 million TikTok views but lost points for its Instagram mentions (204 posts).
To find the most popular trainers of all time, a seed list was taken from articles like GQ, Esquire and Bazaar.
Each trainer’s annual global search volume was taken from Google Keyword Planner for 2020, 2021, 2022 and the first half of 2023. By taking a total of searches for each year, we were able to calculate the average monthly searches in this period. This data is accurate as of 03/07/2023.
To find the up-and-coming trainers, a seed list was created using articles like Highsnobiety, GQ, and Kicksfinder. The trainers’ search volumes were also taken from Keyword Planner for 2022 and 2023.
Each trainer was also analysed on their social media data, using TikTok and Instagram to find the number of tags and hashtag mentions, as well as the trainer brand’s number of followers and hashtag mentions. This data is accurate as of 05/07/2023.
Each trainer was ranked based on social media factors and given a normalised score out of 10.