Athletic shoes have made their mark on the way we dress, in our style, and as well as in our lives. Many names have been used to describe them. We call them trainers, kicks or sneakers. These shoes have developed and become part of our daily clothes since its invention in the 18th century. In fact today you can find basketball shoe reviews sites focused on past and upcoming highly anticipated releases of the major basketball shoe brands.
During the late 18th century, people wore rubber-soled shoes called “plimsols.” Plimsols have no right or left foot. In 1892, the United States Rubber Company came up with rubber footwear divisions. The U.S. Rubber Company manufactured footwear brands with many comfortable shoes using canvas tops under the name “Keds” in 1916. It was mass produced in 1917 as the first flexible rubber-sole. They got the name “sneakers” because the shoes were quiet that a person wearing them was able to sneak up on someone.
Sneakers are now one of the mainstays in fashion. There are now different brands of sneakers which have become popular. Let’s start with the famous Chuck Taylor.
After the World War I, people realized how they were physically unprepared for battle. As a result, several governments prompted a large-scale push for fitness. People then rushed to the gyms and opportunist industrialists took the big chance.
Industrialists started mass producing sneakers with lower prices. Since then, it has democratized what had been once a wealth status. The Converse Rubber Shoe Company wanted to set themselves apart. They wanted to improve their basketball shoe – All-Star – so the company drafted a basketball player to stand out among the rest.
Charles “Chuck” Taylor was an Indiana Hoops star. During the 1920s, he offered some design changes to Converse focusing the development in the sports basketball. The All-Star was the world’s first high-top shoe, extending the canvas all the way around the ankle. It provided the same support as a boot but with a grip and lightweight. Since then, the design has remained mostly the same for over 90 years.
Chuck Taylor endorsed the Converse All Star brand in 1923. The shoes became much better known as the “Chuck Taylor All-Star” and several basketball started wearing them. Now, we can see kids and teens wearing Chucks everywhere. Chuck Taylor All-Stars are the best top selling sneakers of all time.
The All-Star began to take hold in the sneakers department in the United States. While in Germany, brothers named Adolf “Adi” Dassler and Rudolf “Rudi” Dassler developed their own sneakers in 1924. They persuaded the United States sprinter Jesse Owens to use them at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Jesse Owens won four gold medals. Unfortunately, the brothers split in 1948, which led them to establish their own shoe manufacturing companies.
Adi Dassler called his company “Adidas” after his own name. Rudi , on the other hand, named his company “Puma.” Since the split, the two companies had a fierce and bitter rivalry.
The town, Herzogenaurach, where the Dasslers started their business, was divided because of the issue where people looked down to identify which shoes the strangers wore. The town had a nickname, “the town of bent necks.” Soon, both companies became among of the most popular athletic brands in the world.
Marlon Brando and James Dean
Sneakers became better known as as sports shoes, but it was rarely seen outside the sports arenas. However, in the 1950s, actors Marlon Brando and James Dean started to wear sneakers which they incorporated to their on-screen personas. After the actors were seen on their respective films, kids and teens started wearing sneakers as fashion statements. Sneakers started to be seen as part of fashion and as a street wear.
Michael Jordan was a star basketball player for the Chicago Bulls. He signed a five-year endorsement deal in 1984, and at that time he was a rookie shooting guard. His contract included an exclusive new shoe for him to wear and promote, which was to be called “Air Jordan.”
The sneakers were colored red-and-black to match his basketball uniform. But they were initially banned by the National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner David Stern. Stern mandated that shoes should be white when worn on the basketball court. Still, Jordan persisted in wearing his red-and-black sneakers, and as a result, Nike was fined $5,000 on each game.
The shoes were released in 1985 and helped establish the modern sneakerhead culture. A “sneakerhead” culture is a community of sneaker collectors who follow new releases of sneakers with dedication. Air Jordan paved the way to the sneakers’ status as a cultural icon.
Air Jordan is probably the most famous sneaker ever made. The brand continues to be commercially successful even after Jordan retired from the NBA.
As the shoe companies compete with each other, they constantly change the way how their sneakers look. They would add wild colors and have also begun to produce sneakers for every sport such as basketball, skateboarding, “cross training”, and a lot more. The sneakers transcended the bounds of practicality and became a big part of fashion. Athletic shoes transformed from its original purpose, to becoming a part of the street wear, to being one of the basic clothing options worldwide.