How Sneakers Influence Our Culture

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Have you ever asked yourself why sneakers, not long ago only worn by kids from the streets, nowadays can be found in every cupboard? Sure, they’re the most comfortable shoes. But there’s more to it than just a physical feeling. Well, to define the sneaker trend we got to go deeper…

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Nike Air Force x Off-White combined with Burberry coat and supreme bag.

Do you know where the word “sneakers” comes from?

The American company Keds was the first of its kind to implement the idea of shoes with rubber instead of leather soles in 1917. Henry Nelson McKinney, a representative of a marketing company from New York, was appointed to invent the advertising campaign for those special shoes Keds came up with. A synonym for quietly creeping is the word sneaking. Accordingly, McKinney teamed up his marketing skills and called the silent footwear “sneakers”. Through the ads the word got viral.

Some shopping inspiration:

Sneakers rise in the 80s

Keds made it up to the runways and was instantly followed by Converse (est. 1908). Reebok and Puma (est. 1948) teamed up. In the early 1970s Adidas was founded. When sports teams started wearing sneakers because of their comfort the real hype began. With the first Nikes Air Jordan drop on 15th Sept. 1984 the sneaker-trend exploded in the basketball and rap scene. Basketballers from NBA and the rap gang NWA gave a clear statement on how they wanted the design of Adidas, Nike etc. to be, whilst incidentally promoting them through discussions and rap songs.

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Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls basketball player in 1992 performing at NBA in his Jordans.

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NWA – Rap gang supporting the rise of sneakers (especially Adidas Originals).

A new sub-culture was born

Sports stopped just being athletic and became sub-culture for the first time. Everyone who  related to and wanted to be part of the hip-hop and new sports scene, started wearing Adidas Originals, Air Jordans, Converse etc. Since then sneakerheads grew their size of shoe collections immeasurably.

How sneakers got mainstream and influence our culture

Social media and reality stars like the Kardashians made the hip hop scene a main influence for contemporary fashion and streetstyle. Thriving luxury streetwear brands like Off-White, Yeezy or Alyx, to only name a few, are pushing the rap sub-culture trend even more. And where hip-hop reigns, sneakers are close by.

There were never more sneaker brands popping up then during the past five years (Business of Fashion, 2018). Even in the office it partly became normal to wear sneakers. These comfortable shoes went mainstream through the prior decade. An influence on our culture? Definitely.

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Gucci’s New Ace Sneakers – Even the most traditional and conventional brands established their own elegant version of sneakers.

Want to shop some sneakers now?


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