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What Does PE Mean in Shoes? A Clear and Knowledgeable Explanation

If you're a sneakerhead, you're probably familiar with the concept of exclusivity when it comes to sneakers. Retro versions of popular shoes and limited edition releases can cause a frenzy among fans and collectors alike. However, there's another aspect of exclusivity in the sneaker world that often goes overlooked: player exclusives, or PE sneakers.

PE sneakers are unique versions of existing shoe models that are primarily designed for professional players or athletes. They are often created to match a team's color scheme, but there's much more to know about these exclusive shoes. In this article, we'll explore what PE means in shoes, who wears them best, and whether they really make a difference on the court.

So What Does PE Mean In Shoes?

If you are a fan of basketball or sneakers, you might have heard of the term "PE" shoes. PE stands for "Player Exclusive," which means that these shoes are designed and produced exclusively for a particular athlete. These shoes are not available for sale to the general public, making them highly coveted among collectors and enthusiasts.

PE shoes have been around for many years, and some of the most iconic basketball players have worn them. For example, Julius Irving played in Converse Pro Leather shoes that were higher than any other models sold in retail stores. James Worthy wore his pair of New Balance 593, while Clyde Drexler had the PE sneakers from ROOS at the Slam Dunk Contest in 1987.

Today, many NBA players have their own PE shoes, which are provided by the shoe manufacturers for them to wear on the court. Some of the most popular PE sneakers in 2021 include P.J. Tucker’s Nike Kobe 5 Protro PE, Zion Williamson’s Air Jordan 35 “Voodoo” PE, and Carmelo Anthony’s Air Jordan 35 “Carmerlot” PE.

PE shoes are not only limited to basketball players. Athletes from other sports, such as paralympic sprinter April Holmes and baseball player Derek Jeter, have also worn their own PE shoes.

Moreover, many celebrities have their own Player Exclusives. Mark Wahlberg owns Wahlburgers Jordan Formula 23 PE sneakers, while R&B singer Anthony Hamilton has a pair of Air Jordan 9s PEs coming with chocolate brown leather.

PE shoes are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts because of their exclusivity. They are not released to the mainstream, making them a great value product. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a pair of PE shoes, you can be sure that you are owning a unique piece of sneaker history.

So, Who Wears PE Sneakers Best?

When it comes to the world of Player Exclusive sneakers, the king of former times was none other than Ray Allen. The former NBA player, who signed with Jordan Brand when he was just a newcomer with the Milwaukee Bucks, is considered among the greats in the sneakerhead community. During his 18-year career with Milwaukee, Seattle, Ray Allen became the league leader in 3-pointers made, finishing his career with 2,973 scores. His shoe cabinet is a testament to his love for sneakers, particularly PE sneakers.

However, the current PE championship goes to the Air Jordan 31s. Released by Jordan Brand before the season started, this pair of sneakers has been worn by different players, including Frank Kaminsky, Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, and Mike Conley. The new design of Air Jordan 31s has facilitated the creation of some of the best PE sneakers for NBA players. It pairs flawlessly with every team colorway, creating a unique pair of shoes for each player.

While many consumers and fans prefer the older models of Air Jordan, the Air Jordan 31s have received the most global compliments for their streamlined design. But who wears these PE sneakers best? It's hard to say, as each player brings their unique style to the court. However, it's safe to say that the Air Jordan 31s have become a favorite among NBA players for their comfort, style, and versatility.

But If All Players Perfectly Match PE Sneakers?

While PE sneakers are a great way for athletes to express their personal style and brand, not all designs are well-received by fans and consumers. Even if all players were to perfectly match their PE sneakers, there is no guarantee that they would be popular with the general public.

The example of Steph Curry's Curry 2 Low Chef shoes is a prime example of this. Despite being a signature pair, they were met with ridicule due to their bland appearance. Similarly, some of the designs for Curry 1 PE sneakers did not convey the classic feeling of Jordan PE shoes, which have a strong following among sneaker enthusiasts.

Under Armour, the brand behind Curry's sneakers, is still asserting itself in the market and making a fresh start. However, the overall colorways and design of their PE sneakers seem cluttered and unfocused, which can make them feel disaffiliated from the sneaker crowd.

It's important for brands to strike a balance between personal expression and market appeal when creating PE sneakers for athletes. While it's great to give players the freedom to design their own shoes, it's equally important to consider the tastes and preferences of the general public.


In conclusion, the game of PE sneakers is still thriving today, with brands such as Jordan, Adidas, and Under Armour leading the way. While the design of PE shoes has not changed significantly, they have become more widespread. Nowadays, a pair of signature shoes can be easily customized to be player-exclusive for all 30 NBA teams.

PE shoes used to be exclusive to selected players, but now they are everywhere. As a result, the PE shoe market seems to be less exclusive. It is considered an extended brand for shoe companies to market their original sneakers that stimulate the PEs. However, PE sneakers are expected to continue to be an important part of players’ aesthetics in the future.

Overall, the PE shoe market will continue to expand as players seek to express themselves through their footwear. With customization options becoming more accessible, the future of PE sneakers looks bright.

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