Sneaker is no longer a synonym for “dressing down.” These rubber-soled shoes have gone from gym accessories to wardrobe essentials. Fresh from the interwebs and designer runways, here’s how to look hip in sneakers this season, plus a six-sentence “Story of the Sneaker” (impress your friends😉).
FABULOUS SNEAKER FACTS
- In 1839, American scientist Charles Goodyear invented moldable, waterproof “vulcanized rubber” which soon became the go-to sole for the croquet and tennis shoes worn by the jet set.
- The 20th century brought the democratization of sneakers – and its wider athletic popularity – with the US Rubber Company’s Keds, Converse All-Stars (endorsed by celebrity athlete Chuck Taylor) and, later, Adidas and Puma brands (created by the German Dassler brothers).
- Beginning in the 1950s, celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to Marlon Brando popularized the sneakers-with-jeans look – a comfortable combo with a rebel edge.
- Cue the 1970s, when Nike founder Bill Bowerman had his lightning moment – pouring rubber into waffle iron molds to create the iconic, traction-friendly “waffle tread” – taking athletic shoes to a new level and winning the endorsements of sports stars (perhaps most notably Michael Jordan).
- In the 1980s and 1990s, sneakers became the epitome of street style, a staple of the hip-hop and rap scene, and a hotbed of limited-edition designs that gave birth to the word “sneakerhead” (a person who collects and trades sneakers).
- Sneakers show no sign of slowing in popularity in the 21st century: they’re produced by classic brands and luxury fashion houses, and worn for sport, leisure and as a style statement with everything from athletic apparel to evening gowns.
All warmed up? Here’s the Sneaker Insider’s list of top sneaker trends for 2020:
CHUNKY SOLES – akin to the platform, the chunky look is all about sole-power. Be ready to head to the airport, run to the coffee shop or just kick back with friends in a technical-yet-on-trend pair. (Check out these tips on walking for fitness!)