The history of sneakers: from commodity to cultural icon - Deepstash

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Sneakers: A Mark Of Culture

Sneakers: A Mark Of Culture

Sneakers are big business around the globe and have risen from normal fashionwear into cultural trademarks, with a market valuation of USD 79 billion in 2020.

Sneakers, called trainers in the United Kingdom, are smart and comfortable to wear, part of the reason they have found their place even on formal occasions and at the workplace. The pandemic made people prioritise comfort with sales of athleisure products (like sneakers and yoga pants) skyrocketing.


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Sneakers: Origins

  • John Dunlop and his company created the first sports shoes with rubber soles in the 1830s, and these were called sandshoes.
  • A specialized model of the rubber sole footwear was the iconic Green Flash model developed much later by the same company.
  • Before Adidas and Nike took centre stage, the Converse All-Star, a shoe designed for basketball, became widely popular at college campuses across the world.


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Sneakers: Adidas And Nike

  • Adidas was founded by Adi Dassler in 1924 and became one of the most well-known shoe brands across the world. Originating from Germany, the company created the first track shoe made of leather and spikes, apart from other innovations.
  • Nike came much later in 1964 (then Blue Ribbon Sports) and struck gold with the running craze that hit America in the 70s. They made the first super-comfortable running shoe called the Cortez, which was popular for decades.


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Sneakers: The Three Waves Of Cool

Sneakers had not one, but three waves of superstardom.

  • Adidas pioneered an underground sneaker culture in the first wave of the 70s and the early 80s.
  • Nike took the driver's seat in 1984 with the Air Jordans, making sneakers an object of desire, marking the second wave.
  • The digital age in the last 20 years marked the third wave and the way sneakers were marketed, sold and also resold.
  • Nike and Adidas produced a lot of limited edition sneakers.
  • Sneakerheads, people who collect and trade sneakers, ensured that the shoes maintain their cult status.


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