Fashion trends are always progressing, from jeans to accessories to shoes, are always evolving. Just like when it comes to footwear, sneakers have gone through a lot of changes over the past few decades in terms of both purpose and style.
Our world today has used the word “hype” in the sneaker world, bringing the nickname “hypebeast” to recount those who live and die by what’s coming. Many brands nowadays, consider “hyped” sneakers as a persistently moving target for brands wishing one day that the time will come that be caught in the noise, achieving to create the next covetable sneaker with limited production, celebrity co-signed, with flashy prices and details.
So from high-top Converse to slip-on Vans, check out how sneaker trends have evolved over the years.
1960: Converse High Tops
Founded in 1908, Converse High Tops had been around for years but it continuously went on a boom throughout the ‘60s. Converse sneakers can be seen in movies like 1960’s “Tall Story”, a basketball-based romantic comedy starring Jane Fonda and Anthony Perkins.
Courtesy of Converse.com
According to Complex.org, the Converse All-Stars were worn by team USA in the first-ever Olympic basketball game when basketball debuted as a medal sport in 1936. And did you know that the team won the first of seven consecutive gold medals?
1972: Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers
You might say, what? Don’t get too surprised if you don’t know that Stan Smiths sneakers were already released in 1972! That was also the period when Adidas debuted its trefoil logo, a design that mimics a clover. Adidas released it ahead of the 1972 summer Olympic games in Munich, Germany.
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They named the sneakers after the famed tennis player, Stan Smith. Its original design was green and white which still sells the same version today.
1972: Nike Cortez Sneakers
Courtesy of dsw.com
That same year, Nike also launched its Cortez shoe, featuring new changes. Nike and Olympic track coach, co-founder, Bill Bowerman created a cushioning system in the shoe that included rubber and foam. The shoe was designed to make running easier by allowing “advanced shock absorption” at the heel of the shoe.
1982: Reebok Freestyles
When aerobics became popular, so did the Reebok Freestyle shoes. The shoes were inspired by the culture of the said vigorous exercise and were led by actress and fitness guru Jane Fonda in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s that definitely hit shelves in 1982. Fonda wore them in several of her fitness videos that year.
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According to the NY Times, after the shoe was released, Reebok launched a promotion that offered those who bought the sneakers two free weeks of one of the classes of exercise guru Richard Simmons.
The shoes were immediately in demand and were sold out within days. Reebok’s initial order reach 32,000 pairs of sneakers that were sold out in just a few days. The sales went up from $3.5 million in 1982 to $1.4 billion by 1987, predominantly because of the aerobics shoes alone.
1986: Nike Air Force 1
In 1982, the Nike Air Force 1 debuted and was seen worn by professional basketball players around the US within a few years. Nike nearly almost have a discontinuance for the shoe but it credited Baltimore’s “enthusiastic wearers” and local retailers for changing its mind.
Courtesy of nike.com
According to Complex.org, this model was re-released in 1985 and began to gain popularity again. This style has been revived many times already since it was released for the first time. And today we can see that the Nike Air Force 1s has been everywhere since.
1990: Nike Air Max 90
The Nike Air Max 90, released in 1990, was the third shoe released in the Nike Air Collection. It had an updated design that comes with a visible window for the compressed air inside the heel to be viewed.
Courtesy of nike.com
1991: Nike Air Huarache
This chunky neon sneaker debuted in 1991 was crafted by Tinker Hatfield. At first, this colorful shoe has gotten plenty of mixed reactions but later on became one of Nike’s best-selling designs.
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1993: Converse Punk-inspired
During the ‘90s, the basic black converse was popularly worn by musicians such as Kurt Cobain and actress like Winona Ryder. Even if these shoes have never really gone out of trend, they became really popular with fans of grunge, (punk-inspired rock music) in that period. The dirtier your chucks are, the better.
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1995: The Iconic Air Jordan XI
This sneaker became so famous when it was worn by Michael Jordan on his basketball games for the ’95 and ’96 NBA season where he eventually led the Bulls back to the Finals in 1996 subsequently to a record-setting 72-win season, according to Live About.
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It was also worn by Jordan in “Space Jam”, an animated basketball-focused film which was released in 1996. It even gained an alternate title “Space Jam 11s” after the shoes made its presence in the film.
1997: Platform Sneakers
If you were born in the ‘90s, remember how the Spice Girls wore high platform sneakers on stage, especially in their music videos. After that, this platform-wearing girl-group reached the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard charts with their debut album, “Spice”, in 1997.
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1998: Skechers Chunky Sneakers
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Plenty of celebrities such as Britney Spears endorsed Skechers sneakers in print ads that could be found in teen magazines around the US during the late ‘90s. That year, Skechers released two new shoe collections: Skechers USA casual shoes and Skechers Sport athletic sneakers.
2003: DC’s Skater-inspired Shoes
Courtesy of dcshoes.com
Skater shoes have been around for a few years, but it was even recognized by skaters and non-skaters alike in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, especially by those who have a passion for streetwear clothing. Then the brand became stronger in presence with DC Shoes’ revenue reaching over $100 million per year.
2005: Slip-on Checkered Vans
First introduced in 1982, by 2005, it created a big noise with the downtown New York hipster mass. Sources from the Los Angeles Times claimed that Vans was taken for $396 million by VF Corp., which also holds several brands such as The North Face and Timberland. Van’s popularity began to flourished until now.
Courtesy of dsw.com
2015: Kanye West’s Yeezys
Let’s move forward to 2015 when the Yeezys were born as a result of collaboration with rapper Kanye West and sneaker brand Adidas. These neutral-colored sneakers walked the runway down and straight to the closets of celebrities.
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In that same year, Kanye West’s Yeezy Boost 350 sneaker won the shoe of the year award at the Footwear News 29th Annual Achievement Awards ceremony, and was even labeled “Shoe Oscars”. Initially, they were retailed in the low-to-mid hundreds, but later on, some were even re-sold for over $2,000.
2017: Balenciaga Speed Trainers
Yes, we are referring to those sneakers that look like socks. Major brands including Balenciaga, Fendi, Marni came out with versions of the trend. Vogue has labeled Balenciaga’s Speed Trainers as “the shoe of 2017” for its sock-inspired shoe. Even female song rapper, Cardi B in her 2018 chart-topping hit, “I like it” sang a line that says “I like those Balenciagas, the ones that look like socks”, stating how she also admires those expensive Balenciagas.
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2018: “Dad” Sneakers
We know how much you hated wearing these chunky sneakers when you were a kid, but now you are loving it. Just last year, we can see from stars like Bella Hadid to Kendall Jenner who love wearing these chunky sneakers.
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And that same year, big brands such as Gucci, Christian Louboutin, Balenciaga, successfully released these dad sneakers, which greatly resembled what their father would wear.