How high-tops became high fashion
These 6 reasons will make you love your sneakers even more.
1. THE FIRST SNEAKERS WERE LUXURY ITEMS
Before the 1800s, running shoes were unheard of and the first specialized pair was introduced on the market in the beginning of the century. Bearing close resemblance to men's dress shoes, the sportier versions were modified with spikes on the bottom and leather straps on top for added support. Later, in the 1890s, the first canvas-rubber runners were launched, but the exclusive and rare material made them a luxury good, which only the very wealthy could afford. When advertising the new shoe style, an agent came up with the nickname 'sneaker', because they were so quiet you could sneak up on people without making a sound.
2. GYM CULTURE MADE THEM MAINSTREAM
After the turmoil and turbulence of World War I, and after decades of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, generations of young men and women felt obliged to hit the gym in order to get into shape. In 1917, the most iconic shoe known to the world was invented. With a canvas high-top attached to a rubber sole, Converse's All-Star model became a bestseller that was too great for the basketball court, so that it spilled over to casual wear. The sneaker was mass-produced, prices dropped, and they probably became the most in-demand shoes of the century.
3. THEY DEFIED 1950s SOCIAL CODES
The popularity of sneakers rose exponentially throughout the first half of the 20th century. Originally being intended for athletic purposes, the comfort and wearability of sneakers gradually brought them into mainstream fashion, and in the 1950s, Hollywood's biggest stars – including James Dean and Marlon Brando – wore them as a rebellious and youthful statement item, defying social codes and launching the mega-trend.
4. RUN DMC WROTE SONGS ABOUT THEM
When the social dress codes relaxed, tons of labels specializing in sneakers were born, and the cult-like following of different models and brands started little by little. In the '80s, the sneakers became the unofficial shoe of the music industry when legendary hip hop trio RUN DMC dedicated songs to Adidas and other stars chose their signature styles and launched collaborations with sneaker companies.
5. FROM RUNNING TO RUNWAY
With the comfortable shoes being well established in street style, Gucci introduced the first pair of luxury sneakers in the mid '80s. A decade later, another Italian powerhouse showed sneakers on the runway for the first time. It was in 1996 that Prada turned what was once a running shoe into the high fashion hall of fame.
6. A SNEAKER GENERATION
After 130 years of sneakers, many of the original models still remain popular. Today, the sneaker-head community is bigger than ever, and every high-end and high-street label around is pushing new models, retro models and some weird models. The once socially unacceptable piece of footwear has become the world's primary footwear, and we're really happy – and comfortable – with them taking the helm from their less comfortable predecessors.
Celebrate the sneaker and shop our curated selection below!
PHOTOGRAPHER Andreas Sjödin
DIRECTOR Andreas Sjödin
STYLING Lisa Lindqwister | Lund Lund
DOP Max Larsson
MODEL Alima Fofana | W360
HAIR Lok Lau | CLM Agency
MAKEUP Anya De Tobon | Link Details