Top Fads of the 1980s

The 1980s are famously remembered as the days of Rubik’s cubes, yoyos, and the Walkman. If you ask today’s kids about all these things, they would just stare blankly in your eyes because it’s just ancient history for them. But, on the other hand, if you ask a 1980s kid, they will fondly share everything about that unique decade. 

The 80s was the decade of extreme diversity and newness. Of course, we all know about the famous TV shows and movies of the 80s, but little do most people know that this decade was also filled with amazing and weird fads of all times. For example, the most famous trends of the 80s include Jelly shoes, Koosh balls, car surfing, and many more. 

To let the people today know about what a wonderful decade 80s was, we have made a list of some of the top fads of this decade. So let’s check it out. 

1. The Jelly Shoes 

No 80s’ girl would have ever said no to jelly shoes, as they were such a delight for girls of all ages. They were named “Jelly shoes” because of the way they looked and their soft and squishy texture that kept the feet comfortable without making them sweaty. The jelly shoes were the airiest and lightest shoes of the 80s, and they were available in several different colors and designs. Such amazing features of these shoes were enough to attract women and become a fad of the 80s. 

However, the jelly shoes were cheap and didn’t cost much, but the ones with the glittery design were the most popular among the 80s’ girls. There was another reason behind their popularity; women wore them to the beach as they could keep wearing the shoes even when entering the water. The jelly shoes kept their feet safe from crab nips. 

2. The Famous Slap Bracelets 

Slap bracelets are something that kids from the 90s and 2000s also know about. However, they were the most famous during the 80s, and every kid in those times had at least one of these slap/snap bracelets. These bracelets were colorful, adorned with different designs, and stiff. Their name comes from their ability to form a bracelet when slapped on the wrist, as they wrap around the wrist immediately. 

You wouldn’t believe the popularity of these bracelets until we tell you that many schools had to ban these cute little things because of injury hazards. 

3. The Trendy Shoulder Pads 

The 80s were the times of unique fashion trends, and shoulder pads were also one of these trends. The trend took off when famous people like Cindy Crawford and Lady Diana Spencer wore them. During the 80s, shoulder pads were as famous as face masks are nowadays. Even the kids knew how well-loved this trend was in this decade. 

The fashion trend was mostly adopted by middle, upper, and working-class women, as this was the decade when most women were making it clear to the world that they are independent and can do whatever a man can do. Thus, the shoulder pads were a kind of power dressing for women of the 80s, as it gave them the confidence they required to work equally with men. 

4. The Famous Fishnet Stockings 

You must know about fishnet stockings, but did you know they were a major fad of the 80s? Women wore neon-colored fishnet stockings to embrace the colorfulness of the 80s, but the black stockings had their own fan base after Madonna wore them to show her rebel side to the world. 

Moreover, during the 80s, fishnet stockings were more adopted by the punk counterculture fashion aesthetics, and these people wore them with extra tearing and making big holes in them. On the other hand, models like Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page, and Jane Russell kept appearing in fishnet stockings throughout the 80s and even after that in the fashion industry. 

5. Walkman the IPod of the 80s 

Sony Walkman was like an iPod for the 80s people, and there was hardly anyone who didn’t own at least one of these. 80s kids fixed their music needs with a Walkman and had dozens of cassettes with different albums to insert in their Walkman.

A Walkman was the only medium of portable music player for the people in the 80s and was one of the revolutionary devices of that time. Due to the extreme love for music, people would buy more than one Walkman and carry it everywhere. Sony later introduced more advanced versions of Walkman, but the popularity that the first-ever version enjoyed was implacable. 

6. Home Video Game System 

Soon as the 80s arrived, Atari 2600 took over the world of video games and left the “Odyssey” far in the past. Atari 2600 was the revolutionary home video game system that could be found in every other 80s home. Famous games like “Breakout,” “Space Invaders,” “Combat,” and “Missile Command” were the reason behind its popularity. However, these unstoppable video games started coming down with the advent of personal computers like Commodore 64 and Apple II. 

The home video game system industry came back to life in 1985 when Nintendo manufactured and released their first playing cards. This was the time when high-quality games like “Metroid,” “Super Mario Bros.,” and “The Legend of Zelda” took over children’s interests. 

7. Rubik’s Cubes 

We don’t think that there has been any other toy that got so much popularity for such a long time, other than the Rubik’s cube. Rubik’s cube was also one of the top fads of the 80s that got so popular that in 1981, a collectible with the Royal couple (Prince Charles and Lady Diana) was introduced. No one had ever thought that this invention by Erno Rubik (a Hungarian professor) would become so popular, and the popularity would last decades after the creation. 

During the 80s, Rubik’s cube was another source of passing the time for children and elders as everyone was going crazy to solve the cube as fast as possible. While talking about the Rubik’s cube, Erno Rubik said, “People like its beauty, simplicity, and form. It’s really not a puzzle or a toy. It’s a piece of art.”

8. The Hacky Sacks 

Hacky sack obsession started in the 70s, peaked in the 80s, and came to an end in the 90s. Hacky sacks were either made of leather or were crocheted; you can also call them mini bean bags that 80s kids loved to play with. 

80s kids would play the traditional hacky sack game with these mini bean bags for hours. It was such a trend to have a hacky sack that kids who weren’t even good at playing also carried one with them everywhere. So if you ask a 1980s kid about a hacky sack today, they will probably tell you their find memories of these little bean bags. 

9. Fingerless Fishnet Gloves 

During the 80s, after several famous names wore fingerless fishnet gloves, it became a trend, and almost every 80s girl owned at least one pair of such gloves. Like fishnet stockings, these gloves were also available in different neon colors; however, colors like white, baby pink, black, and skin got the most popularity and admiration throughout the decade. 

Nevertheless, the fashion trend lasted long enough, and we still see women wearing them. 


Every decade or it would be better to say that every year has its own fads, and they happen everywhere in the world. However, some of these fads last longer while others just fade away in history. Just like this, the fads of the 80s also appeared and disappeared while some are still present to this date. 

The 80s were undoubtedly the most charismatic years and the trends and fads of this decade were unique in their own way. From wearing shoulder pads to playing hacky sack, everything had its beauty that can be felt to this day.