A key part of any man's style is his footwear. For the Bros, it could be some fresh Nikes with black mid-calves or some Sperry's to complement the frat date formal attire. As he moves on in life and he must don suits instead of dry-fit shorts, loafers and more enter the equation. Bros pour over shoes, hunt down rare Air Max 90s, and live for exclusive sneakers and shoes.
This list, presented in no particular order, attempts to touch on some of the classics in Bro shoe history. Most of these have been untouched by hipsters (unlike throwback NBA jerseys), which makes them even more noteworthy. There are some sneakers that would be major babe deterrents now, but were once things of legend (think: sneakers you could grind with). I couldn't touch on every Nike or formal piece, but I present 50 shoes you should know or become familiar with or long for or go out and buy right now.
A huge shout out to SB and Grandpa Jack over at stagsflow.com for assisting on some of the Nikes. With years of D-I lax under their belts, they covered a lot of the kicks that required half-calves and eventual laxitutes.
DISCLAIMER: Some of the shoes are special editions (thus created after the shoes' first release) and so some of the pictures correspond to shoes of alternative colorways.
1. LL Bean boots ("Duck Boots")
LL Bean is such a classic American brand. My mom even has an LL Bean credit card with these boots on them. They're waterproof and perfect for flooded frat basements. Furthermore, the lifetime guarantee is amazing: When mine started leaking, they sent me a brand new pair. For something more exclusive, check out the LL Bean Signature Bean Boots, shown here.
2. Air Max 90
Pretty much the pinnacle of off-the-turf lacrosse shoes. The Air Max 90 is the best selling of the Air Max series, and the color combos seem almost endless.
3. New Balance 991/992
Super fratty, prep-school footwear. I still remember a picture from high school of a shoe basket of one family: five kids (Avon Old Farms, Hotchkiss…), and 10 gray 991s. An extra bonus: these bad boys are made in the US of A.
4. Nike Bo Jacksons
Bo Jackson was one of the most gifted athletes ever, and his shoes were legendary with Nike. An injury ended Bo Jackson's reign in two sports, but his shoes will live on.
5. Schnee's Hunter II (Bozeman, Montana)
Montana is packed full of outdoor Bros. It's an amazing place, and Schnee's makes the best quality hunting boots. These boots are made for the woods, stalking deer, or in a duck blind, cam required. If you keep them maintained with a seam sealer from Schnee's they should last forever.
6. Cowboy Boots
Texas Bros, feel free to step up right now. There are tons of brands, and be careful which ones you choose. Some are too designer and therefore not cowboy boots at all, but rather prissy boots with big heels. So think President Bush at the ranch, not Tom Ford on the runway. Sure, Dubya doesn't exactly rope and ride, but he did haze goats at Yale.
7. Air Triax Structure 91
Amazing color schemes, this defines the ridiculousness/radness of Bro sneakers.
8. Sperry Top Sider
Almost too obvious. Sperry boat shoes beat every other brand. Simple and classic, you can get them covered in natty light, spray them off, and be good for church the next morning. Your dad was probably rocking them when he wooed your mom. Tip: Track them down at the boat store "West Marine." They're usually on sale.
9. Rainbow Sandals
Rainbows are definitely the best leather sandals out there. I refuse to put those "fratty" strap sandals on the list, because they look like something a bearded mountain climber would don. Some people refuse to give the Rainbows up until mid-November, which is weird, but shows their staying power. Rainbow also has a rad warranty.
10. Nike Air Max 95
Three. air. bubbles. That shit is like a triple dog dare that Nike took on. I'm still not sure if the air does anything except look extremely awesome. I got these in '96 along with a "Now That's What I Call Music" CD. Life was good.