History on Sneakers

By Haider Mushtaq

Sneakers have been integral part of fashion for decades. Their association with sports, famous personalities, social movements and just plain old good design principals have ensured that they remain a key staple of any outfit and have changed the way we look at fashion as whole.

In this week’s article, FABSOC takes a look at some of the most iconic sneakers of sneaker culture and examines how and why they reached such notorious renown and fame. Buckle in readers, today’s article is a history lesson.

The one that started it all

Air Jordan 1: Nike

While the Air Jordan 1 is certainly not the first sneaker to popularize the sneaker and street culture movement, it is definitely responsible for redefining it in its era.

Released in 1985 in partnership with Basketball legend Michael Jordan, the Air Jordan 1 is one of the most popular and recognizable shoes in the sneaker industry today. A large part of this is due to its infamous history as the first multi-coloured shoe to be banned by the NBA in their sanctioned games. Nike capitalized on this and offered to pay any and all fines that Michael Jordan would incur while playing with sneakers in the NBA and soon propelled the Air Jordan 1s to infamy by marketing it as “The shoe banned by the NBA”.

A new shoe for a new era

Yeezy 350 Boost : Adidas

Named after its titular creator and famous rapper/producer/songwriter Kanye West, the Yeezy 350 Boost debuted in 2015 as the second line under the new collaborative partnership between Kanye and Adidas. This collaboration defined the interest hype around these shoes, with the partnership being born from Yeezy’s messy breakup with Nike, who he had collaborated with previously. As a result, due to Kanye West’s overwhelming popularity and the new patented and market “Boost” technology by Adidas, this sneaker redefined the sneaker culture for the modern age.

The classic throughout the ages

Chuck Taylor All Stars : Converse

One of the most iconic and staple sneakers of all time, this famous shoe by Converse started with humble beginnings. Originally created around the late 1910s, this Chuck Taylor All Star was an attempt by then rubber company Converse, to break into the basketball shoe market. The shoes sold averagely well, but was not the roaring success that Converse hoped, until it was picked up by then All Star Basketball player Chuck Taylor. With this endorsement the shoes shot to popularity in the basketball scene, and continued to sell well up until the 1960s, where they hit commercial success with the general public. From then on, the iconic Chuck Taylor signature was combined with the Converse logo in redesigns and re-releases throughout years, leading to one of the most iconic shoes to still be in production today.

A symbol of the street culture

Suede : Puma

The PUMA Suedes have been a staple of sneaker culture, and street culture as whole, for decades. Create in 1968 amongst a marketing battle with Adidas for street dominance, the Puma Suede was Puma’s new and fresh take on sneakers and how they could be redefined through their materials. The shoes completed their rise to prominence in the greater public, when Black Olympian Tommie Smith broke the 200m record and placed the Puma Suede on his podium while raising his right fist in the universal gesture of the fight for human equality. The shoes soon become a symbol of the struggle of the black community and rose to infamy through the Olympians actions. This, in combination with the shoe’s ground-breaking design, has ensured its relevance in the sneaker scene till the modern age.

If you have any other shoes that you think should be included in this iconic sneaker list, make sure to comment down below and leave your thoughts!

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