Sneakers: The Three Waves Of Cool - Deepstash

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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MORE IDEAS FROM The history of sneakers: from commodity to cultural icon

  • 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: 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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  • 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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The History Of The Chuck Taylor

The iconic casual shoes, Converse All-Stars, are famously known as Chuck Taylors and have a decades-long history in pop culture. These soft cotton and rubber shoes, designed for basketball, were the official shoe for the Olympic games for over three decades.

Endorsed by basketball star Chuck Taylor in 1921, these shoes saw a few redesigns, and after 30-year Olympic endorsement, captured 80 per cent of the sneaker market share.

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Buying vintage is back again

While people always want to have new looks, they are becoming aware of the impact of their choices on the environment. Vintage is back and possibly for good. The popularity of vintage is a response to fast fashion.

A recent report from the second-hand clothes sales platform TredUp expects the total resale market to double in value by 2023 (from $24bn to $51bn).

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Upcycling as a solution to fast fashion

Recent decades are known for its fast fashion that adds to our overcrowded closets and landfills.

  • Americans discard 85 percent of the clothing they buy - about 15 million tons of textile waste a year.
  • The average lifetime of clothes is three years.
  • The clothing industry cause about 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

One eco-conscious solution is to buy thrifted items and upcycle them.

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