Back to School

Backpack Style Guide 2022: How to Choose the Right Back-to-School Backpack


Backpacks are a great way to show off your personal style when you head back to school – plus you get all the functionality you need for school, gym, practice and everything in between. Find out which go-to backpack brands have stood the test of time, the best styles for school use, top 2022 trends and more. 

How to Choose the Right Backpack for School

Choosing the right type of backpack can be as simple as knowing what your day-to-day needs are. If you carry around a lot of books or a laptop, a traditional style might be better for you. If you also need to lug around your cleats or some gym clothes, a duffel bag might make more sense. Think about all the places you need to be throughout the day and what items you need to carry – then you can make a decision on what type of backpack or bag is best for you. 

Types of Backpacks & School Bags

Discover different types of bags and backpacks that can help yourself or your child get ready for the new school year and show-off some personal style.


These are your traditional backpacks or school bag that can carry your books, tablet, laptop, and most other school essentials. There are also larger basketball backpacks like the Nike Elite Pro Backpack that can carry your sneakers, clothes, water bottle and even a full size basketball, so you can stay ready for practice to pick-up games at the park.

Crossbody Bags

Perfect for holding your essentials like your phone, keys, wallet, chapstick & more. Crossbody bags are great while hanging out with friends after school or going to a music festival.

Waist Packs

Waist pack. Hip pack. Fanny pack. Whatever you choose to call them, they are another great option that is sporty and ready to go when you are. Fanny packs and other small item bags have made a comeback and make for a great fashion accessory.

Duffel Bags

Game on! Perfect for athletes that need to keep their sports gear in a larger bag away from their school supplies. Duffel bags are also versatile and can be used as luggage for trips or sleepovers.

Drawstring Bags

Lightweight and fun. While not recommended to hold heavy items like books or be your everyday bag for school – they are a super handy bag for quick day trips. Plus, the drawstring helps keep your items safe as there is no zipper for quick-handed pick-pockets to slide open.

Brands With the Best School Backpacks

After you decide what type of bag works best, you can get to the fun stuff: researching brands. You can’t go wrong with one of these top styles.

Nike Backpacks & Bookbags

Nike is one of the undisputed champions of athletic apparel, and that applies to Nike backpacks as well. The brand constantly refines classic styles such as the and the Nike Sportswear RPM Backpack and Nike Tech Hip Pack. Any backpack or bag with the Swoosh signifies that you mean business when it comes to sport & style.

Jordan Backpacks & Crossbody Bags

Jordan brand represents the iconic player’s signature style with classic branding like Jumpman and the number 23. Update your back-to-school look with a Jordan backpack or crossbody bookbag that is functional and stylish. With a retro-inspired choice such as the Jordan Jumpman Backpack or the eye-catching Jordan Air Patrol Large Backpack

adidas Backpacks & Bookbags

European brand adidas has signature branding elements, such as three stripes and trefoil, which look great on all sorts of adidas backpacks and bookbags, including the adidas Originals Utility Pro Backpack. Try some of adidas’ newer styles to really maximize your personal brand, such as the adidas Originals Utility Festival Bag, a fresh spin on a crossbody bag. 

The North Face Backpacks & Duffel Bags

Popular in the hiking and camping community, bags and backpacks by The North Face are durable and tough but also look on-trend – perfect first day of school fit! You can’t go wrong with The North Face Jester Backpack, which has bungees to add even more room to hold everything you need for a day away from home. 

Champion Backpacks

Champion is a legacy brand that has recently had a resurgence in popularity. The brand is over 100 years old and still resonating with style stars. If you want a fun, updated style, try the Champion Script Shoulder Bag. It has zipper closures, adjustable shoulder strap and a discreet front pocket for all of your smaller items. 

Herschel Backpacks

A little more than 10 years ago, Herschel or The Herschel Supply Co. had a goal of creating timeless utility products that people would want for years to come, relying on quality and simplicity of design. If you’re looking to get started with the brand, try the Herschel Settlement Backpack for your back-to-school needs.

Top Backpack Trends of 2022  

There are a few kinds of backpacks and bags that have pulled forward to the front of the fashion pack this year. Find out about what’s trending now.

Festival Bags & Mini Backpacks

Festival bags are more fashion than bag. For example, a lot of festival bags can’t hold a ton of textbooks. They’re essentially an alternative to a handbag or small item bag. The same goes for mini backpacks as well. Adorably small, these hands-free handbags have the best of both worlds: the ease of a backpack with the fashion sense of a purse. The brilliance is that you can put one inside a larger backpack as its own storage pouch or even wear it in addition to your regular backpack.

Basketball Backpacks & Duffel Bags

A basketball bag or duffel bag can be a great way to easily transport a lot of stuff, especially gear for gym or sports. Basketball bags have built-in considerations for sweaty situations, such as padded shoulder straps to help carry the weight and ventilated compartments for wet and dry clothes. They are made of durable materials to help keep your stuff safe from the car to the gym and back again. Duffel bags are similar but might be scaled up or down in size, depending on the brand. Both basketball bags and duffel bags have options to carry the bags by a long strap or by shorter handles depending on preference.

Hip Packs & Crossbody Bags

Whether you know them as hip packs, crossbody bags or fanny packs, there’s no denying that this style of bag is super popular. They’re big on style and have a ton of storage. Plus, they can pop perfectly into a larger backpack. You can wear them across your front or even carried by a single strap over one shoulder. Their ease-of-use and versatility is what keeps this style looking fresh.

Lunch Bags & Totes 

Don’t forget the lunch bag! Look for lunch bags or totes that have lots of pockets, are insulated and have a handle or strap to make transporting your midday meal easy. With all those key features, some stylish branding is simply a bonus.

Shop the Best School Backpacks

The latest in athletic backpack styles prove that fashion and function go hand-in-hand, allowing you to be as on-trend as you are organized. Stock up on back-to-school essentials including shoes, backpacks, clothes and more at your local Finish Line store or shop online and pick-up in store. Happy shopping!