The first Nike shoes were made in a waffle iron. The running field near the Oregon home of the runner and trainer Bill Bowerman was making a transition from cinder to an artificial surface, and he wanted a sole without spikes that would give him, and his trainees, needed traction as they ran on it. The 3-dimensional lattice of the iron offered an answer, at least so far as the Cheap Jordans Shoes went. As for the rest of the design, at least at first? It was utilitarian: produced by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and thus faster, on their feet.
That Nike is now one of the biggest and a lot recognizable brands in the world is essentially the doing of Bowerman’s partner, the man who recently announced his retirement from the company: Phil Knight. Knight transformed Nike, not overnight but close to it, in to a global powerhouse, known for both its successes as well as its controversies. During this process, however, he did another thing: He turned athletic footwear into fashion.
It’s as a result of Knight that, as an example, Kanye West features a signature shoe, the Yeezy Boost. And that, last January, Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel and Raf Simons of Dior sent signature sneakers down their runways. And this, last September, Alice Temperley styled her runway looks with sneakers. And this Mo’ne Davis, she of Little League World Series fame, has released a line of fashion sneakers for girls ($75 a pair). Knight knew, early on, what we ignore today: that even the most practical of footwear-even shoes we wear for such dull reasons as performance and, worse, comfort-may also work as fashion. He wasn’t inside the shoe business, Knight insisted. He is in the entertainment business.
Sneakers started as luxury items. The very first rubber-soled athletic shoes debuted in the U.S. inside the 1890s-products, as the treads were the purpose, in the U.S Rubber Company. Rubber, during that time, was expensive, and free time was rare; a combination meant the innovative shoes were worn, in most cases, only by elites. The Nike Shoes Cheap market grew, however, in early 20th century-particularly after World War I, whose effects had resulted in a national focus on fitness and athleticism. Because the nation’s first gym rats came on the scene, shoe companies began mass-producing shoes to suit their needs.
Responding to that particular democratization came among the earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, to set its version from the newly popular shoes apart from those of its competitors, one company recruited a basketball player-both to boost their shoe’s design then put his name on the final product. The organization? The Converse Rubber Shoe Company. The athlete? Chuck Taylor.
It wasn’t until Nike emerged, however, beneath the marketing leadership of Knight, that sneakers and fashion became nearly inextricably connected. The Nike Cortez, released in 1972, took advantage of twin cultural trends-conspicuous consumption as well as a renewed obsession with fitness (running, particularly)-to advertise the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was released at the height in the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured that the athletes on the Olympic field were clad inside the shoes. As well as the shoe’s design, too, had moved from athleticism alone. Available in a number of colors, and featuring, the very first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, the shoes were meant, CNN notes, “for those who wished to stand out on the dance floor track and also the running track.”
Seeing the possibility, other designers joined the party. In 1984, Gucci released its iconic Gucci Tennis shoes. In 1985, betting on the rookie athlete named Michael Jordan, Nike itself released its Air Jordans. (As worn on-court, CNN notes, these shoes were initially banned by the NBA commissioner David Stern, on the grounds that they violated his stipulation that court shoes be majority-white. Jordan wore them anyway. Nike happily paid the fines.) And then in 1986, Run-DMC released “My Adidas”-not the initial musical ode to footwear, but a telling one. The song marked on the one hand the birth of the intimate artistic and commercial relationship kpelqt hip-hop and Wholesale Jordans; it also signaled that this shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.
Today, because of this, athletic shoe releases are met with similar sort of fervent enthusiasm that fashion shows are, and not just in sneakerhead culture. Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 collection sold out on Saturday in 15 minutes; in short order, a couple of the footwear appeared on eBay with the price tag of $10,000. Due to the creative marketing Nike and Phil Knight pioneered, athletic shoes are now popular, and collected, and mentioned, and infused with artistry. That is also to say: They are fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I could buy a set of LeBrons, this means I’ve got $175-and you don’t.”