Fads From The Last 20 Years That Don’t Need To Make A Comeback Anytime Soon

Plenty of fads have come and gone since the start of the new millennium. Now that we’re about to enter the new ’20s, it’s worth looking at the best fads that we’ve waved goodbye to so shortly after they arrived. Some are incredibly recent, like that spinner that went from being a pastime to being another nicknack in the junk drawer. Others you probably haven’t even thought about in years, like the weird “S” all the elementary school kids used to draw. From fashion to candy to the games we play, fads permeate every part of our lives. Let’s look at some of the fads that we’ve outgrown in the past 20 years.

Segways

People ride segways outdoors
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Segways seemed to make sense when they first arrived. And they probably could have been the new scooter or bicycle, if that didn’t make the people riding them look so silly. Something about having to lean forward and backward while standing upright makes the riders look like a toddler that just started walking.

For this reason, segways became more popular on sitcoms like The Office, Arrested Development, Parks and Rec, and any other show with a ridiculous but lovable character. Unfortunately, this put anyone riding a segway into the same category as those characters, leaving most of us avoiding them altogether.

Custom Ringback

Two young teenage girls stand back to back while talking on their cellphones
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

One of the many great things about cellphones becoming more complex was that you could customize them to fit your personality. People still do this in the form of choosing a unique ringtone, phone case, design, etc.

For some reason, cellphone owners went through a phase where they also wanted to inflict their personal interests onto the person calling. That’s what custom ringbacks were for: so that anyone calling you could hear your favorite jam instead of a boring dial tone. This fad dissipated shortly after it began, probably because people who didn’t like your ringback would just stop calling.

Guitar Hero

Rock musician Pete Wentz plays guitar hero onstage
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Activision
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Activision

Guitar Hero was in practically every teenager’s house for a time. It seemed to have ignited the adolescent love for rock music that has permeated teens for decades. Back in the day, high schoolers would be lucky to start a real band, and that took time and skill.

Guitar Hero made everyone feel like a rockstar, even the tone-deaf. Unfortunately, those skills would not translate into real life, even for those who had mastered the game. Perhaps this sad truth is why the game has slowly faded over the years.

Dance Dance Revolution

Two male teenagers play DDR against each other in a crowd of onlookers
REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images

Like Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution (DDR for short) simplified an otherwise difficult skill that takes years to develop. Those who secretly love to dance but don’t have the moves can look as silly as they want while they stumble to find the appropriate arrow beneath their feet in time with the music.

While DDR could certainly help your foot-eye coordination, it still fails to teach any dance moves beyond stepping and jumping. At first, people looked really cool while they played the game. Somewhere along the lines, stepping quickly while staring intensely at a screen just stopped looking impressive.

Rubber Wristbands

Rubber wristbands line a person's arm
John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images
John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Before social media became huge, the only way to express the many causes you support– or at least know exist– was to wear them on your sleeve, literally. These thick, rubber wristbands were the original self-identifiers before online presence took over.

You could express everything from your support to fight cancer to your love of Zumba on your wrist. For whatever reason, they were taken pretty seriously for a minute there. The problem is that it can get annoying having all those wristbands on, and how do you choose which one to take off without feeling a tinge of guilt?

Slap Bracelets

A little girl lays on the floor, putting on her slap bracelets
Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images
Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images

Slap bracelets were kind of like the old Jack in the Box toys: terrifying. You know what’s going to happen and that it isn’t going to hurt you, but the anticipation is electrifying. That must be why we loved smacking these bracelets onto our arms more than we loved actually wearing them.

Stylistically, they weren’t bad, either. The bands had a variety of styles to choose from and were popular amongst boys and girls. It was probably parents who got sick of the “slap” wars that led to the end of this fad.

Mood Rings

A woman wears a mood ring on her wedding finger
liamemsa/ Reddit
liamemsa/ Reddit

Speaking of jewelry, mood rings were one of the more fashionable fads of the century. Plus, they appealed to people of all ages. They did give a bit of a tingling sensation, but that was presumed to just be them working.

The fundamental issue with mood rings is that it encourages wearers to be as anti-self actualized as possible. Few things show a person is out of touch with themselves like relying on a ring to discover how they feel at any given moment. Plus, they’re a total giveaway to the passive-aggressive folks out there.

Heelys

GettyImages-1036631860
Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images
Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images

In today’s world, the idea of shoes that actual destabilize children would sound like any establishment’s worst nightmare. Can you imagine how many kids probably fell and hurt themselves on these things? On the flip side, kids who mastered wearing Heelys looked pretty cool gliding around the playground.

Heelys snuck out of the limelight quietly, probably because they fizzled out as the kids who wore them grew older. While the shoes themselves appear to be pretty well built, it seems fewer parents want to have their kids gliding on wheels all day.

The Cool “S”

An
PepPepper /Reddit
PepPepper /Reddit

Where this “S” came from is a mystery that the internet has yet to come anywhere near to solving. Somehow, it emerged in schools across the country. A solid part of doodling in class usually also involved perfecting your “S” game.

The “S” is drawn by connecting lines in such a way that the ending result looks like the letter “s.” Oddly enough, the design was also commonly referred to as the “superman s,” though it looks nothing like the s on Superman’s chest. Why the style of writing never extending to other letters is as big a mystery as to why it ever existed in the first place.

Camo Clothes

A man walks in camo pants near a street
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Camouflage clothing was kind of like denim because it came in every variety: camo pants, camo jackets, camo shirts, camo skirts. The pattern was a very loose replica of actual camouflage clothing used in the military.

The fashion statement didn’t seem to have anything to do with representing the troops, but rather was an urban style that was casual yet interesting to look at. The pattern lost popularity, which was bound to happen with clothes that are meant to resemble mud.

20 Questions Game

Someone holds and plays the electronic 20 questions game
Memory Lane Toy And Games/ Youtube
Memory Lane Toy And Games/ Youtube

Twenty Questions was a game that involved thinking of a noun and then seeing if the person you play with could guess what you were thinking after asking 20 yes or no questions. Like so many things in the 21st century, it went electronic.

Why play the game with friends when you can play with a robot instead? The egg-shaped pod asked questions and tried to determine what you thought based on the response you gave by pushing the button yes or the button no. The limited mental capacity of a tiny bot is probably why they went out of style.

Dippin’ Dots

A dippin' dots advertisement
SyckTycket/ Reddit
SyckTycket/ Reddit

The “ice cream of the future” turned into a sweet treat from the past after the FDA warned about consuming liquid nitrogen. The small ice cream bits are flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen, which they are then taken out of at the time of purchase.

While the treat is safe to eat, it is recommended to wait for them to warm slightly so as to not burn your skill with the frozen snack. The complicated procedure is probably why Dippin’ Dots can only be purchased from vendors, but can also be limiting in terms of staying relevant.

Dipped Hair Tips

A girl with dark brown hair has light purple hair tips
Claudia Sulewski/ Youtube
Claudia Sulewski/ Youtube

This fad is similar to the ombre fad that has since taken its place. However, it’s important to distinguish that dipped hair tips are all about the contrast, whereas an ombre is intended to create a blended look.

This fad was similar to the frosted tips look that men were doing in the late 1990s. You essentially dye the tips of your hair in a light or bright color, such as blonde or turquoise, to create a blatant color shift in your hair. The downside is that it’s obviously dyed, whereas many hairstyles recently focus on appearing natural.

Bean Bags

A boy sits on a bean bag on a boardwalk
Giulio Di Sturco/Getty Images
Giulio Di Sturco/Getty Images

Bean bags were huge amongst kids, broke college students, and gamers alike. The cheap seats were a great alternative for furniture, so long as they didn’t become damaged. Especially if you had a pet, you did not want these beans bags to puncture and let out a ton of little beans.

Though few chair alternatives are more cost-effective than the bean bag, the fad has faded over the years. Perhaps more people started watching HGTV and couldn’t help but feel guilty about the disasterous style choice.

Guys Wearing Skinny Jeans

A male model wears skinny jeans
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

When skinny jeans became big, it was usually just in the women’s aisles that they appeared. This didn’t stop some men from grabbing a pair. They must have been confused about the different sizing because many men who wore skinny jeans seemed like they could have benefitted from a much larger size.

The fad started in conjunction with the “emo” fad, which replaced the goth fad of the 1990s. Emo male teenagers loved their black skinny jeans, and before long all the guys had to have a pair. Nowadays most guys just stick to pants that fit.

Pool Noodles

A woman in the pool is surrounded by pool noodles
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

It’s not like pool noodles don’t exist anymore, but they don’t seem to dominate the pool they way they used to. Every kid had a noodle at one point, and if they didn’t, their friends probably had a million that they could choose from.

Their disappearance might have something to do with the floaty explosion that’s taken over. There used to be floats to lay out on and maybe a dolphin float you could ride. These days, the diversity in floats and pool toys, in general, have made these noodles blasé.

Beaded Hair

A woman wears beads in her hair
Kersti Pitre/ Youtube
Kersti Pitre/ Youtube

We have Alicia Keys to thank for this hairstyle fad. Beaded hair was all the rage around the time Alicia Keys hit the scene. While they were initially scene in conjunction with tightly braided hair, they soon became popular in all hair types.

In fact, a tool was created to loop beds into long hair. You probably saw an infomercial for the contraption at some point. Beaded hair isn’t what it once was, but it’s likely the mother of the hair charm fad. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how much time people want to devote to their hairstyle.

Pop Rocks

A Pop Rocks advertisement
Nostalgia/ Reddit
Nostalgia/ Reddit

Remember the “snap, crackle, pop” of Rice Krispies cereal? That sound was just the milk breaking down the crispy rice. Not too big of a deal. These bad boys were snap, crackle, pop on steroids.

Pop Rocks were full of carbon dioxide that created pressue within the bits of candy. The saliva in the mouth would dissolve the candy, enabling the pressure to finally escape. When it did, the candy would go shooting all over your mouth and make a pop and sizzle noise. The science experiment in your mouth fizzled out after rumors about them harming the stomach caused some concern about their safety.

Yoyos

A teen plays with a yoyo
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Yoyos are a toy for all ages. The simple design was misleading in regards to how many tricks could be accomplished with the piece of plastic attached to a string. Especially when glow-in-the-dark yoyos came out – it was like magic watching skilled yoyoists do their thing.

The negative about this particular toy is that, like earbuds, they were destined to become tangled. When they did, it was pretty much the point of no return. We’re still holding out for the mesmerizing toy to make a comeback.

Fidget Spinners

A little girl plays with a fidget spinner
Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images
Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Fidget Spinners exploded in popularity and then disappeared so fast that we wouldn’t be surprised if the creator was sued for whiplash. The small device was claimed to be a stress reliever, as it held the attention of the person using it.

While focusing on a menial task may be a temporary relief, the toy just isn’t that convenient to keep around. Once they started showing up in gas stations instead of kiosks, it was all downhill.