The Sneaker Story: everything you need to know about these cult shoes

From the 1800s to today, the sneakers, these cult shoes retrace a unique history in the fashion sphere.
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From the 1800s to today, sneakers retrace a unique history in the fashion sphere. First worn by athletes for their functional abilities, they are now at the feet of all streetwear enthusiasts.


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Marilyn Monroe and Keith Andes

1839: American scientist Charles Goodyear creates a type of rubber that can be used on shoes. The process of adding sulphur to the material makes it water-resistant and malleable. This exercise, a few decades later, applies to the construction of tennis courts.

Early 20th century: two companies began to exploit the potential of rubber-soled shoes

  • 1916: US Rubber Company launches the Keds shoe.
  • 1917: Converse launches All-Star.

1924: The brothers Rudolf and Adolf Dassler began to produce shoes designed mainly as sports shoes.

1936: Berlin Olympic Games. The American basketball team wears Converse shoes, while Jesse Owen, who won four gold medals, wears Dassler running shoes.

1947: The brothers split up and created two great sneaker empires today. Adolf created Adidas and Rudolf created Puma.

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Jane Fonda

1950: From that decade on, Americans began to wear this shoe not only for sporting purposes, but also for a casual look. The idea was for the sneakers to match a person's jeans. Stars like Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe joined the trend, but it still takes a long time for everyone to adopt the shoes.

1970: The creation of the Nike sole, discovered by athletics teacher Bill Powerman and co-founder of the brand. Sneakers are already popular with young people.

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Janet Leigh and her father

1980: Rebook appears, creating shoes especially for women.

During the 1980s and 1990s hip hop culture develops and sneaker shoes and streatwear becomes popular, particularly amongst the African-American community in cities on the east coast of the United States. The 2010s to present day saw a rise of streatwear and sneaker style shoes becoming popular again, from the high street to the runway. 


Image credit: Getty images 

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