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The 50 Shoes That Every Bro Needs

By / 01.10.13

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.{pagebreak}

11. Dr. Martens

Stay classic with these: the 1460s low cut. Such a comfortable shoe… after you wear them for a month or so. Be prepared for some blisters, but it's a low-key, versatile shoe.

12. Nike Air Max Huarache (shown in DQM)

A great alternative to the Air Max 90s, the Nike Air Max current Huarache have some exclusive editions like these with DQB. They are completed in a “bacon” colorway in honor of Dave's Quality Meat (the sneaker store that collaborated on these). If you can pull off a shoe that is designed around bacon, you are probably a Bro king. Love the pink swoosh, support breast cancer research.

13. Adidas Stan Smith

Perhaps the most popular tennis shoe ever. The Stan Smith was created for grass courts (the pinnacle of tennis grounds), in an effort to stop the lawns from being chewed up. Stan Smith was a stud tennis player of the '60s and '70s.

14. Nike Air Yeezy

Sure, Kanye West is annoying as shit, but he is approaching legend status. This collaboration with Nike is actually pretty nice. Think: Pastels and Air Yeezys at a Sam Adams show. To each his own.

15. Nike Air Force 180 “Union”

Before he was shitting on LeBron James and actually making NBA commentating interesting, Charles Barkley was rocking the Air Force 180s. I love the mid-foot strap, and I'm still not sure what the f*ck it does. Sir Charles stomped the court in these in the 1992 Olympic Games.

16. Reebok Pump

You know you were stoked to get these shoes back in the day. Press the magic basketball pump and boom… wait, why the boom? No one is really sure what the pump does, but everyone agrees it's awesome. Reebok is bringing back the pump on some of its shoes, and it's still on Reebok hockey skates (although I've heard Crosby's are disabled because he doesn't prefer it).

17. Nike Air Max 1 (shown in Safari)

These have become my favorite Nikes that I do not own. That cheetah/leopard safari animal print is clean. The yellow bubble definitely makes these. Someone needs to hook it up.

18. Nike Lunar Air 180

The American color pattern. Flags on your feet. The air bubble is aggressive… great all around.

19. Nike Air Trainer 3

“Volt Yellow.” I'm not a Bloomingdale's personal shopper (and if you have one I'm embarrassed for you), so my eyes only acknowledge ROYGBIV and I'm still not sure what violet truly is. But volt yellow should be added into school books — it looks so good. The best subtle part of this lax attack shoe is the touch of green outline on the Nike symbol.

20. Nike Air Griffey Max 1

Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest for N64 anyone…? Those were the days, just pounding homers and getting boners on the 7th-grade dance floor. The shoe has odd lines, but the best part is definitely the vertical Nike swoop on the back. Whoop there it is.{pagebreak}

21. Rainbow sandals (hemp)

The fish are a good addition. Warning: The hemp can smell awful. Soak them in warm water with soap and rub with a hard-core brush.

22. Nike Air Astro Grabber 3/4

Turf. Dogs. On the lacrosse field and off… the only way to go. Mind you, the “astro grabber” is just the name of the bottom surface of the shoe. Pinnies and biddies, brah.

23. Nike Air Jordan 1 “OG”

Talk about the start of something good. The capital and pure exposure Jordan gave to Nike is awe-inspiring. The Jordan platform really instigated the whole concept of being excited for sneakers to come out. Now Jordan kills the gambling floor…

24. Gucci Loafer

They last forever. They are the classiest loafer to wear and can be paired with suits and jeans. I got a pair in eighth grade and I still am rocking the same ones. They're for the grown up, Bros, please don't wear these on a college campus.

25. Tods Driving Mocs

Tods has set the standard for driving moccasins. Some Ferraris even come with a custom edition of the shoes. If that doesn't get your broad nekked, I'm not sure what will. The nubs on the bottom wear off after a while, but if you're shelling out $595 for a pair, part of the fun is being able to buy another.

26. New Balance 574

Training wheels for the New Balance 991. Color schemes are pretty awesome and they're relatively cheap (no more than $60). Good Air Max 90 back ups…

27. Clarks Wallabees

Definitely the third-string frat shoes of UVA. So comfortable with the weird bottom. They get dirty, but that's all part of it. Clarks makes a shoe that lasts, and this is a good weekend one.

28. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star

Before these were tucked into super tight jeans, they were created in 1917 as the original basketball shoe. They were huge in L.A. during the gang days and now Wiz Khalifa has the Taylor Gang.

29. Soaps

Obviously you won't wear them now. But back in the day these were so hot. Suddenly everyone was an “extreme” sports person. Grinding three-inch-high curbs, totally balling out of control. JNCO jeans (awful), too, with these completed the look.

30. Saucony Jazz

Never mind that some new models of this shoe are called “Vegans” (not sure what those people even eat anyway), but go back to the original versions of these. Classic, clean lines. This picture is of the Jazz 3000, a good color scheme.{pagebreak}

31. Nike Air Tech Challenge Hybrid Agassi

They're a mix of the Air Tech Challenges 1-4 Agassi used to attack the court in. They combined everything good about each one and made this color splash sneaker. Plus, Agassi had some strong, albeit enhanced flow back in the day.

32. Rainbow Classics

The originals. Not the leathers, but the simple rubber ones with the blue strap. clean-cut, non-hippy.

33. Sperry Chukka for J. Crew

J. Crew's collaboration with iconic brands has been fruitful (check out the Barbour jacket, an old row staple). These chukkas are in an exclusive leather color and are lined with cotton chambray. Throw on khakis and go chase sundresses.

34. Reef Mick Fanning

The bottle opener on the bottom. Sure it's stereotypical “Bro” and kind of toolbaggy (like pookah shell necklaces), but it was the first of its kind. I'm not quite sure how I feel about a filthy shoe popping my bottle top, but then again I don't have high moral fiber.

35. Vans

Remember Sean Penn rocking them in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”? That classic movie unveiled these skater mainstays. The rap group “The Pack” does a good coverage song. These were huge in the '90s but are still being worn…

36. SeaVees 10/61

Real California chill. SeaVees made their splash in the the 1960s. All the shoes are named after essential dates in Cali history (which I assume means multiple big wave sprees). These particular SeaVees are made with J. Crew, but you can't go wrong on most of their shoes: totally comfortable.

37. Nike Air Force 1

Songs have been dedicated to this shoe. It has an enormous amount of limited/special edition versions. Don't you want to be like the Nelly and the St. Lunatics?

38. Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski

‪Always Be Chaying rocks them. We sent him out to LA for the USC tailgate and he comes back all Cali status in these. They're laid back, great summer shores, and perfect with jeans.‬

39. Asics Gel Lyte Speed

Asics make a solid sneaker for the gym, but when they decide to make one more geared toward the sneaker crowd, it's hit or miss. This is a huge hit. Plus they're light (think Nike Lunar).

40. Reebok Zig Tech

I have no idea how these sneakers work. All I know is Crosby, Payton, Ocho, and John Wall are pushing them, and supposedly a lot of NFL players are using them to train. They're one of those shoes that is so odd looking, they're legit.{pagebreak}

41. LL Bean Wicked Good Mocs

When you're in your Bro cave and have just had your chick tap out like an MMA match, you need something to kick back in. These slippers are warm and cozy. Think: packing a huge lipper, playing NHL, donning these, and kicking her out.

42. Salvatore Ferragamo Wingtip

Ferragamo is the pinnacle wingtip shoe and they're a power-guy staple. Try these “Fano” wingtips that are slip-ons. Slip-ons are key, no bending over. They make a statement but are simple. You don't want to be the lawyer in green crocodile shoes. Remember to take care of these, guys.

43. Cole Haan Penny Loafer

Penny loafers conceived a lot of frat babies in the 1950s. The loafer still reigns supreme. Should it have a penny in it? Absolutely not. You don't exactly need Cole Haan ones, but the brand is still making the best quality out there.

44. TOMS Canvas Classics

TOMS is a great project. For every shoe they sell, they donate a pair to a child in need. They're super chill shoes and support a good cause. At first I didn't like the style, but after getting a pair, I'm hooked.

45. Reebok Question

These kicks were released in 1996, sold out, and set record numbers for Reebok. Iverson wore these shoes during his stellar rookie season. I remember wanting these shoes for Christmas. I still can't figure out what that hexagonal area of air is, but I love the letters on the lace loops.

46. Nike Air Zoom Flight 98

It's been nicknamed “The Glove,” because of its ridiculous neoprene zip-up wrap (reminds me of the early Iversons). The shoe was worn by Gary Payton in his Seattle SuperSonic days. It's like having a wetsuit wrap on your foot, but does it do much good? No, but it's so ugly its awesome. Like Snooki.

47. Adidas Samba Classic

Soccer players do not exactly get much attention in America. Mostly because we like a type of “football” that involves bone-crushing hits and dudes who don't fake injuries. That's another story. The Adidas Samba was the hit shoe in my fifth grade, I remember all the kids had them. Instant classic.

48. Clarks Desert Boots

Every brand is jumping on the desert look band wagon (J. Crew makes some solid ones). The Desert Boot defined cool in the pre-hippy '60s. Good on the grown-up weekends of birddogging chicks in Murray Hill. Wait, that isn't grown up at all.

49. Red Wings Irish Setter Boots

Classics. You need a boot like these. They're made to be worn in the field with your 12 gauge and pointer dog. J. Crew makes a great version, but it just doesn't seem right to buy hunting/winter boots at J. Crew, which makes me think of pampered dudes, not hog-packing ultimate Bros.

50. Shape-Ups

Totally kidding. If you bought these in order to “tone your glutes,” you should consider a self-help group. Or a swift kick to the ballsack. Sure, Joe Montana spackled cheerleaders' faces in his prime, but now he must need Shape-Up money to fund his fourth-string QB son at Notre Dame.


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