Your Sole Fit
Unboxing the hype behind the booming sneaker culture
- team luxe List
Sneakers have gone from being worn for athletic excellence to growing into one of the most lucrative and sought-after fashion trends.
How did simple athletic shoes with a clean and functional design go on to become a canvas for artists and creators like Virgil Abloh and Kanye West?
Let’s look at the history of Sneaker Culture and see what the future holds for the booming market.
Sneakers started on their journey to stardom with the help of basketball player Chuck Taylor who worked as a salesman for Converse Shoes while playing semi-professionally and eventually became the face of the shoe turning it into the now famous Chuck Taylor All-Star, the first celebrity-endorsed shoe. Over the years shoes like Chuck Taylor All-Stars and Walt “Clyde” Frazier’s Puma Clyde were embraced by the music, fashion and skateboarding scene.
Here Comes Jordan
There was a time when Michael Jordan wanted to sign with his favourite brand Adidas, we can only speculate as to what the modern sneaker scene might have looked like. Michael Jordan’s Nike Air Force Sneaker debuted in 1985, instantly becoming a part of pop-culture legend. A deadly combination of sleek design and the star power of one of basketball all-time greats pushed the sneaker’s demand into the stratosphere becoming one of the most coveted shoes in modern fashion.
Jordan’s dominating form continued off the court with the subsequent release of multiple Air Jordans over the years, with fans of all ages wishing to emulate their sporting idol’s style and attitude. Jordan paved the way for sneaker deals of stars like Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to name a few. Athletes got to have a say in the design and look of their sneaker, giving it their personal touch.
Music and film too played a pivotal role in the growth of sneaker culture as fans so sought to emulate their favourite artists’ styles. Youth icons like Kurt Cobain, Joe Strummer, Billie Armstrong popularised the practice of wearing sneakers as daily wear.
An elite group of sneakers have cemented their place in pop culture history through their appearance in blockbuster films. Shoes like The Nike Cortez achieved cult status when they appeared in Forrest Gump, and The Vans’ checkered Slip-on pushed the brand to the forefront when Sean Penn wore them in Fast Time At Ridgemont high.
Some sneakers from films became so popular that real-life limited editions were made to satisfy the demand with recent examples being the self-lacing Nike Air Max from Back to the future 2 and the unique colourway of white and blue with yellow lace Adidas sneakers featured in Wes Anderson’s Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou.
By the early 2000s sneakers had become mainstream with brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma at the top of the food chain. By this time Musicians and Designs had collaborated with top brands to release new classic pairs such as the Run-DMC’s Adidas Superstar, Jay-z’s Gucci-inspired reebok sneaker and the highly popular Adidas Yeezy designed by Kanye West.
Sneakers then entered the domain of streetwear, which can be defined as the scarcity and knowledge of what or what not to buy. Luxury Brands like Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Prada started to make their line of sneakers in collaboration with Nike and Adidas; producing only in limited quantities thus creating higher demand for items that could be resold at higher values. This trend of limited edition brand collaborations is likely to continue as this creates hype and excitement for the next big sneaker.
Get Your kicks On
Retail stores like Superkicks, VegNonVeg and The Mainstreet Marketplace let you browse to your heart’s content. Stores like Anand Ahuja owned VegNonVeg have collaborated with brands like Fila to launch exclusives limited edition sneakers called ‘Masala’. You also can try your hand at the online resell market where rare and converted pairs are known to surface.
Sneakers are versatile by nature; from sports to the red carpet, they let you express your personality and style without being too overbearing on the crowd around you.
Wearing a rare pair of sneakers admits you into a niche subculture, full of people passionate about fashion and culture.