The inhabitants of Silicon Valley are not exactly known for haute couture.
It’s a land where jeans, T-shirts, and hoodies reign supreme, and where sneakers are the footwear of choice.
But don’t let the pedestrian fashion item fool you. These sneakers can be as rare and as status-defining as the fine watches adorning the wrists of Wall Street bankers or the designer handbags clutched by elite art dealers.
For many of the Valley’s technorati, the right pair of kicks is a trademark accessory carefully selected to convey a mix of power and nonchalance, creativity and exclusivity.
With help from the team at the sneaker marketplace Flight Club, Business Insider compiled some of the most fashionable, expensive, and downright wild sneakers worn by tech founders and CEOs. The Flight Club team helped confirm the brands and styles and provided expert commentary and analysis.
We did our best to find photos of female tech executives wearing sneakers, but our search didn’t yield many results. Women like Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer wore low heels, flats, or loafers, which says something about how much freedom women have to dress down in the corporate world.
If you dream of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, lacing up a pair of these sneakers probably won’t get you very far. But at least you’ll look the part.
Check it out:
Mark Zuckerberg: Nike Flyknit Lunar 3 in Wolf Grey
Getty / Drew Angerer
Since Nike’s Flyknit franchise was introduced in 2012, Flight Club says it has seen resale values in “the hundreds, and some well over a thousand.”
The Wolf Grey sneakers favored by Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, aren’t currently sold in stores, but you can find them on eBay.
Satya Nadella: Lanvin Suede & Patent Leather Low-Top Sneaker
When the Microsoft CEO took the helm in 2014, it quickly became clear that he was extremely stylish. So it’s no surprise that he opts for a more fashion-forward take on sneakers with a pair from the French high-end brand Lanvin. Even the sneaker-lovers on Reddit have inquired after Nadella’s fashionable kicks.
Sundar Pichai: Lanvin Men’s Cap-Toe Leather Low-Top Sneaker
Ramin Talaie/Getty Images
Nadella isn’t the only one who likes Lanvin. Google CEO Sundar Pichai wears them too, but he prefers an all-black version.
Larry Page: Lanvin Low-Top Sneaker with Contrast Heel
Perhaps Pichai is giving fashion tips to Alphabet CEO Larry Page. Page also favors Lanvin sneakers, though his are a bit harder to find: The style is currently sold out.
Jack Dorsey and Susan Wojcicki: Rick Owens Island Dunks and New Balance W890v4
Twitter CEO Dorsey is known for having a more advanced fashion sense than some of his Silicon Valley peers, so his sneakers by avant-garde designer Rick Owens certainly fit his style. Owens’ own shoe line is something of a cult favorite in the sneaker world, but he has also collaborated on a line of shoes with Adidas.
Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, opted for a bright pair of New Balance running shoes to complement her athleisure look at Sun Valley in 2015.
Sam Altman: Puma Blaze of Glory
The president of Y Combinator is known for his casual style and penchant for always wearing sneakers. In fact, he was once kicked out of the Ritz Carlton in London for wearing his Puma Blaze of Glory shoes. Here’s what Flight Club says about the vibrant sneakers:
“The Puma Blaze of Glory was a retro model from the 90s that Puma has brought back with a vengeance. We’ve seen this model be reinvented time and time again over the last three to four years. [Puma has] sustained popularity with this model by collaborating with streetwear brands such as Kith, Alife, Stampd, Staple, Bape, Sneaker Freaker, etc. The model has been a popular sell through among a few ‘sneaker heads’ buying the hyped collabs.”
Price: These shoes can resell for $257 to $325, according to Flight Club
Tim Cook: Nike Roshe 2 Flyknit
Apple CEO Cook is the lead independent director of Nike’s board, so it makes sense he’d choose Nike kicks.
“For Nike, the Roshe run has performed really well over the years,” the team at Flight Club says. “It was first spotted overseas in Asia and then it hit the States in 2012. We have witnessed Roshe Run sell by the hundreds in the secondary market ranging from $109 to $300, depending [on] popularity. The demand for this model and return upon investment are undeniable.”
Flight Club added that the most popular colors for Roshe Runs are Triple Red, Calypso, GPX Tiger Camo Pack, Yeezy, Rainbow, and Santa Monica Pier.