Most top-selling sneakers are typically Ken Doll–smooth—think of the never-offended-nobody Nike Roshe Run or the Adidas Superstar. Or think of the Nike Tanjun, beloved by moms everywhere. But one sneaker sitting among their rarefied air caught my eye: the Nike Air Huarache.I wrote recently about how the Tanjun became the top sneaker in the U.S., and it’s easy to see why: The shoes are comfortable, cheap, and incredibly basic. The Huarache, which is right behind the Tanjun on the list of best-sellers, is instead best known for its chunky signature heel strap. It isn’t Balenciaga “platform-Croc ugly” or even Nike Air Max 2016 Dámské “Balenciaga Triple S ugly,” but it’s certainly bulkier than what usually sells at the mall. And at $110, it isn’t Asics GelAsics Gel Saga Damen bargain-bin cheap, either. So how did we get here? How is America's second-best-selling shoe—the kind of shoe whose sales are measured in the millions—something so notably weird-looking?The Huarache debuted in 1991 and, at the time, was one of Nike designer Tinker Hatfield’s most forward-thinking designs, debuting with ads that read, “The future is here.” Oliver Mak, co-founder of the sneaker shop Bodega, remembers buying the shoe discounted at first because they were so polarizing. “It was before its time,” says Daishin Sugano, the co-founder and CPO at sneaker re-sell site GOAT. Sugano says the design was so different it really only found an original consumer base among sneakerheads who gravitate toward shoes that stand Nike Air Max 2017 Mujer out from the pack. Nike stuck by the shoe and saw a renewed interest in the model when it brought back the Adidas ZX Flux Femme iconic “Scream Green” colorway in 2014. Since then, that bet has paid off.“Huarache started getting heat in the market as early as spring 2015, with steady iterations of the model through 2016,” Mak says. “You saw original retro colorways, premium and utility variations, and only one or two collabs to keep it special.” As with most big shoes, the rise in the Huarache’s popularity was a calculated slow burn. It works like this: Nike recognizes a trend—a renewed interest in the ’90s—and starts to build up buzz around the shoe, trickling out new colorways and then releasing a hyped-up collaboration or two. In the case of the Huarache, Sugano says this process “helped make this once sneakerhead-only shoe more attractive to Nike Air Pegasus 83 Dámské the general market.” Sugano points specifically to a model of the Huarache that streetwear brand Undefeated designed Nike Air Huarache Womens last summer. “The sneakers immediately sold out and now sell for four times the retail price,” Sugano says. These types of partnerships create a halo effect around a shoe, driving sales of in-line non-collab versions.And while identifying and exploiting trends is business as usual for Nike, there’s something different about the Huarache. It’s not part of the trend; the shoe is a trendsetter, an iconic design that laid the groundwork 20+ years ago for the tastes we have today. “The Huarache is a classic Nike model from the golden age of sneaker innovation,” Mak says.Both Mak and Sugano argue that while the ’90s trend is undeniably hot right now, the Huarache helped shape our current taste for all of that stuff. “Some Nike Air Max 90 Dámské Bílé silhouettes become the foundation for whole movements and new ways of designing sneakers,” says Mak. “The Huarache is one of them.Just look at the white-hot “ugly” shoes scattered across today’s market: the Balenciaga Triple S, the Raf Simons x Adidas Ozweego, and what Sugano describes as the “pre-sold-out” Yeezy Wave Runner 700. “If you peel back the design elements, you see something very similar to the current trend in the Huarache,” Sugano argues. “The wider stance, the layered midsoles, and the mixed-material uppers are all in line with the movement.” From that angle, the Huarache is simply the classic shoe reclaiming its rightful place in the spotlight. For a less wide-eyed take, I turned to NPD’s sportswear analyst Matt Powell, who confirmed what we’re seeing in the most pragmatic way possible: “We are in a major retro Adidas NMD Homme cycle right now, and Huarache is Nike’s main retro shoe.” And Nike’s made no secret they love making these shoes. Click over to Mak’s Bodega shop and you’ll find the Huarache in pink, black, silver, gray, gold, white, brown, tan, red, all-red, University Red, green, army green, forest green; so many colors they made ones up like “Ocean Fog,” “Ember Glow,” and “Violet Dust.” This goes on for three pages, but what most of these listings have in common is the words written underneath them: “Sold Out.” “Huaraches have always sold well,” Mak says. “Nike, if you are reading this, send us more.”For her latest Jordan Brand collaboration, Aleali May channeled her Los Angeles roots. The Air Jordan 1 (her favorite of the brand's silhouettes) Aleali May features high-end materials and lots of texture, including black corduroy, which she Nike Air Max 90 Femme Noir et Rose said she chose because it reminds her of the house slippers from local LA markets her dad and uncle used to wear.