Michael Jackson x L.A. Gear
Founded in 1983, L.A. Gear were one of the biggest brands in the sneaker game for a period of time. With athletes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, and even Wayne Gretzky on their roster, the brand also broadened their appeal by endorsing stars of the music world, including Belinda Carlisle, Paula Abdul, and MJ – the other one.
Michael Jackson’s L.A. Gear sneakers may not be the ‘best’ we’ve seen – in fact, they actually flopped – but they deserve a place on this list for their notoriety alone. It’s the least we’d expect from the King of Pop.
L.A. Gear’s endorsement deal with Jackson was one of most lucrative in history at the time, with the brand looking to compete with Nike and the other famed MJ. Debuting the Billie Jean sneaker in 1990 in a fame TV ad (see above), L.A. Gear moonwalked in the wrong direction with the release, decking it out in biker-style studs and buckles – not exactly what kids of the era were looking for.