Since the vulcanization of rubber in 1839, cutting-edge innovation and technological advancement have driven sneaker design. Today’s top sneaker designers relentlessly seek out new materials, new technologies, and new perspectives in an effort to meet the diverse and nuanced needs of elite athletes. In turn, these advanced designs find a wider audience in the general public.

This drive for function has not been at the cost of form. Many of the most iconic sneakers today reflect the refinements of luxury industrial design, from automobiles to architecture. The resulting sneakers, impressive both functionally and aesthetically, are the work of forward-thinking designers whose individual accomplishments deserve recognition.