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 provide him, and his trainees, needed traction as they ran on it. The three-dimensional lattice of the iron offered an answer, at least so far as the Cheap Nike Shoes From China. As for the rest of the design, at least in the beginning? It was utilitarian: created by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and therefore faster, on their feet.
That Nike is now one of the biggest and most recognizable brands on the planet is basically the doing of Bowerman’s partner, the guy who recently announced his retirement from your company: Phil Knight. Knight transformed Nike, not overnight but near it, in to a global powerhouse, known for both its successes and its controversies. Along the way, however, he did something else: He turned athletic footwear into fashion.
It’s as a result of Knight that, for instance, Kanye West includes a signature shoe, the Yeezy Boost. Which, 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, in early stages, what we ignore today: that even most practical of footwear-even the shoes we wear for such dull reasons as performance and, worse, comfort-can also work as fashion. He wasn’t inside the shoe business, Knight insisted. He was in the entertainment business.
Sneakers started as luxury items. The very first rubber-soled athletic shoes debuted in the U.S. within the 1890s-products, as the treads were the idea, in the U.S Rubber Company. Rubber, during those times, was expensive, and free time was rare; a combination meant that the innovative shoes were worn, typically, only by elites. The Nike Cheap Shoes market grew, however, in the early 20th century-particularly after World War I, whose effects had resulted in a national focus on fitness and athleticism. As the nation’s first gym rats came on the scene, shoe companies began mass-producing shoes to fit their needs.
In response to that particular democratization came among the earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, setting its version in the newly popular shoes besides those of its competitors, one company recruited a basketball player-both to improve their shoe’s design and 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, underneath 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, specifically)-to market the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was introduced in the height in the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured the athletes on the Olympic field were clad in the shoes. And also the shoe’s design, too, had moved away from athleticism alone. Available in a variety of colors, and featuring, for the first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, the footwear were meant, CNN notes, “for those that wished to face out on the dance floor track as well as the running track.”
Seeing the potential, other designers joined the party. In 1984, Gucci released its iconic Gucci Tennis shoes. In 1985, betting over a rookie athlete named Michael Jordan, Nike itself released its Air Jordans. (As worn on-court, CNN notes, the footwear were initially banned from 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 in 1986, Run-DMC released “My Adidas”-not the first musical tmrzsh to footwear, but a telling one. The song marked on the one hand the birth of the intimate artistic and commercial relationship between hip-hop and sneakers; additionally, it signaled that the shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.
Today, as a result of all this, Cheap Jordans releases are met with the same type of fervent enthusiasm that fashion shows are, and not just in sneakerhead culture. Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 collection sold out on Saturday in fifteen minutes; in short order, a couple of these shoes appeared on eBay with the asking price of $10,000. As a result of creative marketing Nike and Phil Knight pioneered, athletic shoes are now desired, and collected, and talked about, and infused with artistry. Which is to say: They may be fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I can buy a pair of LeBrons, this means I’ve got $175-and you also don’t.”