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Sneaker history: From sports shoe to cult shoe

June 25, 2020 4:28 PM
Sneaker history: From sports shoe to cult shoe

Dear community, today this blog post is about sneakers for once. Surprise ?! Okay, don't worry guys, I'm not going crazy. Of course we here at Sneakerjagers deal with stylish sneakers every day and that's exactly the point…?!

Every day I come to our beautiful office in Amsterdam, which is full of the newest and most beautiful sneakers and then I am busy day in, day out with hot kicks and everything that goes with it! But what rarely plays a role are the absolute beginnings of the sneaker culture! What did the first sneaker look like? How and when were sneakers created? Why were sneakers created? Which influences have shaped the development of the sneaker culture? I could go on like this forever. And hey! This is exactly my plan ?!

Sneaker History
Unsplash by: Gia Oris

If I read it like this, I have to say that I have a really cool job, because I am allowed to work with sneakers every day! In our Newsblog you will find the latest sneaker news, news from the world of sports and also our WMNS club. In our Release Calendar we have the latest styles and everything that awaits us in the near future in terms of sneakers, including size guide, price comparison and list of all retailers. Besides style guides, Instagram, Facebook, sale actions and different shows, there is also our Sneaker Collection. Sneakers, sneakers, sneakers.

From sports shoe to cultural asset?

Sneaker, the

Is the US-American collective term for sports shoes and designates shoes that can be worn both during sporting activities and in everyday life


So that's what Wikipedia says to our 'sneakers' ??‍♀️ The term 'sneaker' was only created in the 20th century. Henry Nelson McKinney is responsible for the term that everyone knows today. After leather shoes, sneakers were the first shoes with rubber soles and that meant that you couldn't hear every step. And tadaa - with that the term sneaker is complete.

For us and I would say for you, too, sneakers are mostly about the latest trends and the hottest kicks. But I would like to take you on a journey in the next weeks! In your luggage? Great information, sneaker knowledge of the finest and facts that you definitely don't know but should know in any case. My goal: To roll up the history of the sneaker world from the backside and present you the sneaker history from A-Z or from 1870-2020 in a series of blogposts.

Oh, dear, do you guys think you'll be able to find a way… History wasn't my thing at school and I can wear my Air Force without knowing where all that stuff came from. But you thought wrong, my dear community. I can promise you that everything behind the sneakers is really worth a little history lesson. And the beginnings are not boring at all! I tell you, I have fun facts for you, you won't forget them so fast!

As you can see, our journey starts quite early, because I want to start with the complete beginnings of the sneaker history. How were sneakers created? When did the today's big brands develop? What influences have carried the sneaker culture forward? All these questions bring us back to the 19th century and that's where our journey in the first part of our sneaker history series will start.

Sneaker Geschichte
Unsplash by: Gia Oris
Sneaker Geschichte
Unsplash by: Dmitrij Paskevic

Sneakers that move us

Today sneakers are almost a cultural asset. They are omnipresent, you can see them on every corner, in every social class, with every outfit. On the resale market they trade with incredible prices for hyped sneakers and it is a lucrative and well-known business. People camp outside stores to get their favorite sneaker and pay sometimes high amounts of money. But the way here is a long and interesting one. Once we have the beginnings behind us, we will continue with the cultural influences of the sneaker world.

Sports, skating and music are keywords here, which you should definitely keep in mind, because they play a decisive role in the sneaker culture. On the way to the present day of sneakers, we naturally stumble across a wide variety of materials and technologies. The production of sneakers and special people and designers who have shaped the journey and development of sneakers.

And today?

Luxury sneakers - sneakers as status symbol - any colors and shapes - sneakers as lifestyle - sneakers everywhere! Today, every child has heard the word sneaker and most of them have some in their wardrobe. Why are sneakers such a big topic today? There are sneaker podcasts, books about sneakers, shows and channels just for shoes. Collaborations and the most fancy styles dominate the market and there are styles that everyone has in their closet.

I always like to talk about my 'Granny' in the office and now you are not spared, dear community. My grandma is over 90 and despite her career in fashion she has absolutely nothing to do with sneakers. But she has already told me that she sees so many young people wearing sneakers in everyday life. And what kind of sneakers they are, she said! With flowers, patterns, great colors, special shapes and everyone wears them - for all occasions and for all clothes! "And how chic they look!"

Why am I telling you this? Because I think it explains pretty well what sneakers are these days. Sneakers connect! Sneakers are more than just shoes or fashion. They accompany us through everyday life, carry us through every adventure, go dancing with us, are there for us on all paths…

In every profession, at every age - sneakers are today the fashionable accessory for everyone. And then, on the other hand, the sneaker world is so special and special! Every sneakerhead knows what I mean! This is about a very special community - a lifestyle! Today, topics like sustainability are also occupying the sneaker industry. There are shoes that lace themselves up, shoes that make us faster, shoes that dare to look into the future!

Sneaker Regal
Unsplash by: Florian Olivo

It's sneaker history time!

And that is why sneakers deserve a certain amount of attention. So to put this in a different light, I start with the sneaker history series! I'll tell you where sneakers come from, what makes them up, how their history has been, what is important today in terms of sneakers, how the culture has developed and what the scene looks like today in detail! At the end of the series we can answer all the questions that this blog post raises and that are circulating in my head and maybe also in yours. Let's gooo ?!