Before the internet and social media, sneaker "influencers" were mainly people seen on television wearing the latest pairs brands had at retail. Perhaps the most well-known example of a celebrity sneakerhead on a long-running sitcom was Will Smith's in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. From 1990 to 1996, Smith consistently brought the hottest Nikes and Air Jordans to the small screen, giving sneaker-obsessed viewers someone to identify with.
Though the show's messages are timeless, the sneaker industry has evolved greatly since we said goodbye to Will and the Banks family. Not only have footwear technology and construction taken significant leaps, but what's considered fresh has changed as well. What would the Fresh Prince be wearing in a modern setting? Read on to see what Will, friends, and family would be lacing up in 2017.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 350
In the show's pilot, Will makes a strong first impression as the Fresh Prince in his brightest neon attire and the hottest sneaker of the day, the "Metallic" Air Jordan 5. With all due respect to Jordans, if a fictional teen were looking to epitomize freshness today, a pair of Yeezy Boosts would be the move. The outfit, however, translates well as is.
Air jordan 31
In the six years the Fresh Prince aired, Will's dim-witted friend Jazz being tossed out of the Bel-Air mansion after annoying the family became a recurring gag. The scene aired 15 different times during the series, and was often the exact same clip, but was funny every single time. If Jazz were being tossed today, what better sneaker to take flight in than the Air Jordan 31?
nike lebron soldier 10
He was no Marcus Stokes, but Will was a hell of a basketball player at Bel-Air Academy. So good that he was apparently being scouted to play at Georgetown. Why his basketball career didn't carry on to the college level remains a mystery, but a hooper of his caliber who preferred playing in high-tops would have strapped up the Nike LeBron Soldier 10 today.
nike air monarch
Will's cousin Carlton was a square. A hilarious square, but a square nonetheless. Known for his sporty prep fashion sense, Carlton could definitely piece together an outfit, but would opt for practical over fashionable when it comes to footwear. It's easy to imagine him firing up "It's Not Unusual" in iTunes and putting down a mean Carlton Dance in the most comfortable kicks in his rotation—in this case, the Nike Air Monarch.
nike kobe 11 elite "ftB"
In the series' emotional final scene, Will stands alone in the empty Bel-Air mansion where he grew from a street-wise kid into a man ready to take on the world. As far as recent finales go, few measure up to Kobe Bryant putting up a 60-piece in his final game. Today, Will would have appropriately closed the show in the Nike Kobe 11 Elite FTB, the same shoes Kobe wore when he exited Staples Center for the final time as a player.