How the Humble Sneaker Has Evolved Over the Years
Fashion trends are ever changing, with some standing the test of time and others turning out to be a one hit wonder. Sometimes they even come full circle. Sneakers have been one fashion piece that has seen significant changes over the years, and they are currently a popular trend among the everyday consumer and celebrities alike. Here is how the humble sneaker has evolved.
The 1930s Saw the Introduction of Converse Chuck Taylors
Converse as an American shoe company has been around since the early 1900s, but the Chuck Taylor shoe didn’t come about until 1932. Chuck actually saw the potential for the Converse All Stars as basketball shoes when they were released in 1917, and so became part of their sales team. He became so successful in promoting the shoe that his name was eventually added to the design. They became so popular that by the 1960s, 9 out of 10 professional basketball players were wearing a pair.
Nike Enjoys Success in the 1970s
In 1972, Nike launched the Classic Cortez shoe which was designed by Olympic class track coach Bill Bowerman. It was designed to be a comfortable yet durable running shoe for athletes, but as its release coincided with the Olympics, it caught the eye of the general public and sales reached over $800,000 in the first year.
The 1980s Saw the Rise of the Reebok Freestyle
As people started to become more health conscious and activities such as aerobics became more popular, Reebok saw great success when they launched their Freestyle fitness shoes in 1982. The Freestyle features an all-white design and Velcro straps, and the first 32,000 pairs made sold out in just a few days.
Gucci Enters the Scene with a Luxury Tennis Shoe
Gucci apparently unofficially began the luxury sneaker trend we are seeing today back in 1984. Gucci sneakers of that era were based on a tennis shoe design with a white upper, and red and green accents. Luxury Gucci sneakers can still be purchased today on sites like SSENSE where you will still find their trademark design along with other sneaker inspired styles.
2003 Brought Us the Famous Skater Shoe
DC Shoes was founded in 1993 by Damon Way and Ken Block. They wanted to design a shoe that was more comfortable for skaters, and when professionals were seen wearing them, they were soon in great demand by the general public. The skater shoe was most popular in the late 90s to early 2000s and by the year 2003, the company were raking in over $100 million a year.
The Wedge Became a Hot Trend in 2012
Dubbed by some as 2012’s ‘ugliest trend’, wedge sneakers saw great success on the street and the runway regardless. Merging heel height and elegance with comfort, wedge sneakers even became popular with the likes of Beyoncé and Ciara.
Chunky Sneakers Were the Trend for 2018
Also known as ‘dad sneakers’, these were very popular amongst celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin. High end brands such as Gucci and Balenciaga even brought out their own version of the ‘dad sneaker’ which helped them to remain popular even in 2019.
So, what new sneaker trends will we see this year? Will we see a resurgence of light up shoes and heelies? We will soon find out.