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The genesis of the sneakers began in the United States more than a century ago. It all started with the discovery of an American scientist who later gave his name to one of the world's largest tyre companies, Goodyear. In 1939, Charles Goodyear invented a way to make rubber more flexible, creating a material that was stronger, easier to handle and waterproof. This innovation revolutionised the design of shoes with the appearance of the first rubber soles, which were extremely durable. The first shoes to use this technology were tennis shoes. This symbolises the appearance of modern pairs. It was really at the end of the 90s that the first modern trainers were created. Thus 2 companies will mark the 20th century: US Rubber Company with the Keds and Converse with the All Star. Converse The All Star trainer will completely revolutionize the world of trainers. The first silhouette to have played in the NBA, it relies on the former basketball player Chuck Taylor to expand its influence. Through basketball camps throughout the United States, the ambassador will spread and sell his model to all young basketball players.
In the mid-1930s, the Dassler brothers also began to manufacture shoes for running and top athletes. The great runner Jesse Owen wore a pair of shoes designed by Rudolf and Adolf Dassler during his four legendary victories at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. After the Second World War, the two men went their separate ways, creating two separate basketball empires, Adidas and Puma. But it was in the 1950s that the term sneakers was born. Young Americans started wearing trainers with their baggy jeans, a symbol of rebellion and provocation. The practicality, comfort and versatility of sneakers made them so popular that their primary use was diverted to everyday life.
In this dynamic, many sports brands are appearing, including the most famous of all Nike. In 1970, theOregon-based brand, which takes its name from Greek mythology and its goddess of victory Niké, began to offer silhouettes dedicated to running. Bill Bowerman, one of the founders of Nike, had an idea in his kitchen. Why not mould the soles of the trainers from a waffle iron. Thus we see the very first running silhouette equipped with this new gripping sole, the Waffle trainer. Nike is perfectly capturing the sneaker trend and manages to reconcile sporty and lifestyle models. With great ambassadors like Michael Jordan and his signature range Air JordanThe Waffle trainer will dethrone the Chuck Taylors of Converse. Over the years, sports equipment manufacturers have amplified their influence by associating themselves with designers such as Yohji Yamamoto with Adidas, Salehe Bembury with New Balance or even artists with Travis Scott and Nike. You will have understood that sneakers are now the standard in terms of footwear, everywhere around us, trainers are present, whatever the professional environment, the moment, everyone wears a pair of sneakers and it is not ready to stop.
Adidas is by far the first sports equipment manufacturer to have integrated designers into its ranges sneakers. Since 2001, the famous Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto and his Y3 line have been reinventing sneakers and the sportswear of the brand with the 3 stripes. Taking the artist's inspiration with sober pieces in plain black and white colours combining techwear and functional dimensions, this line revisits Adidas silhouettes like the Pureboost. Similarly, for a while the famous Belgian designer Raf Simons had the chance to create his own sneaker line, making a first link between luxury and sportswear with his Raf Simons Ozweego silhouette. But the designer who will completely make Adidas a major player in sneakers is Kanye West. Through innovative and avant-garde models, he sets his mark and invents one of the most iconic models of the last 10 years: the Yeezy Boost 350 V2. With numerous colour variations and different models of Yeezy The German brand competes directly with the American company Nike, with the 700 and the 500.
the Swoosh brand marked 2017 in style with one of the world's most popular collaborations, Nike x Off-White. The swoosh teams up with the designer Virgil Ablohthe founder of the Italian fashion house Off-White and current artistic director of Louis Vuitton's men's collections. The Chicago-based designer will redesign 10 Nike models through the The Ten collection. He reveals all his art by destructuring each pair and integrating technical materials. Air Jordan 1, Air Force 1, Nike Dunk LowAll these models resulting from this collaboration are now collection pieces symbolising the meeting between a luxury streetwear house and a sports giant. A true global success, the two brands continue to extend their partnership with textile collections and sneakers revisiting each sporting discipline, such as tennis and running. But what makes the strength of Nike, are the artists that it counts among its ambassadors. The company has managed to integrate the creativity and universe of the most influential artists of this decade, as in its collaborations with the Houston rapper Travis Scott. Together, they offer us magnificent Nike Air Force 1, with interchangeable swooshes or more recently with inserts of different materials as with the Nike Air Force Fossil.
These two brands are not the only ones to offer strong collaborations. Puma has made a very nice partnership with the very famous singer Rihanna. With its Fenty collection , the German brand lets the singer's universe express itself with reworked Puma suede shoes. We see the appearance of a thick sole bringing a heel effect to this classic sneakers . Similarly, Asics does not hesitate to take on well-known designers such as Sean Wotherspoon. A highly anticipated collaboration from 2020, the famous founder of RoundTwo revisits a silhouette from the Japanese brand in his characteristic style with corduroy inserts and customisable Asics stripes. The sneakers has conquered every artistic universe to the point of becoming a fashion statement in its own right.
In 2020, the Boston-based equipment manufacturer, New BalanceThe Boston-based company is enjoying a phenomenal renaissance thanks to a new product communication strategy, original collaborations and impeccable product quality. The brand has teamed up with entities that are more or less known to the general public, such as Jaden Smith, Salehe Bembury,, the Parisian fashion label CasablancadeCharaf Tajer and the New York firm Aime Leon Dore, created by Teddy Santis, who is the new creative director of the Made In USA line. These personalities have contributed to the launch of successful new models such as the New Balance 550, the New Balance 2002R and the New Balance 327.
Sports equipment manufacturers are constantly innovating, pushing the limits of technology. Nike continues to improve the comfort and accessibility of sport to all. True motto of Tinker Hatfield, mythical designer of Nike, the American sports giant is going to offer us a brand new revolutionary technology, the self-lacing. Thus, the Nike Adapt was born. A real technological achievement, it allows an automatic lacing and follows the shape of any foot offering comfort and perfect support for all athletes. Once the sneakers is connected to a smartphone, it is possible to customize the colors of LEDs and adjust the lacing directly in the dedicated application. The brands are also innovating in their manufacturing process. Taking into account the environmental issues, we recently saw Nike release a collection of 4 unique models with fully biodegradable mesh. Named Nike Space Hippie, this collection is designed starting at plastic waste. These sneakers have an innovative design combining a trendy colorway with a beautiful orange swoosh. This testifies to the philosophy that Nike has chosen to commit to the environment.
Adidas was also the first sports brand to commit to the environmental cause. The brand then imagined an innovative and audacious device involving the consumer directly in the heart of the life cycle of its trainers. With its FutureCraft model, Adidas offers the first 100% recyclable sneakers . With a beautiful white shape and a sole made of boost, the German equipment manufacturer suggests that we bring back sneakers once they have been used in order to recycle them. An emerging initiative that has been welcomed by sneakers enthusiasts and sportsmen. Whether in terms of technicalinnovation or more ethical manufacturing processes, brands are making progress year after year. So how far will they go? sneakers How far will they go?
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