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The Sneaker Insider

The Sneaker Insider
floral sneakers with raw-hem tongues

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😉).


  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Beginning in the 1950s, celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to Marlon Brando popularized the sneakers-with-jeans look – a comfortable combo with a rebel edge.
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. 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-sole sneaker in black and orange

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!)

Shop all things shoes at Zulily or, for my styling inspo, check out StyledByZulily on our YouTube channel.

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