A visual history of the sneaker
When your favourite Chuck Taylors, Yeezys or Air Jordans came…
When your favourite Chuck Taylors, Yeezys or Air Jordans came into being, and which shoe brand collaborations went on to become iconic.
The Converse All-Star basketball shoe makes its debut. Basketball player Chuck Taylor joins the brand as an employee in 1923, and in 1932, his signature is added to the All-Star patch on the classic, high-topped sneakers.
The Samba is launched by adidas Originals as a football training shoe that helps footballers train on hard, icy ground in the winter. Its trademark is the tan coloured gumsole with suction pads.
Vans is born in Anaheim, California, manufacturing shoes on premises and selling them directly to the public. Twelve pairs are ordered the first morning and delivered the same afternoon. In the same year, the Vans #44 deck shoes, now known as the Authentic, are born.
The Superstar, the most iconic shoe adidas Originals has made to date, is launched as the world’s first low top specialist basketball shoe. The brand’s other hot-selling shoe, the Gazelle, also launches as a track training shoe.
adidas Originals introduces a range named after US tennis player Stan Smith – easily identified as it does not carry the brand’s three stripes, and instead features three rows of perforations and the full adidas logo with the trefoil on the midsole. The collection continues to be a rage till date.
The Vans #95, now known as the Era, with a padded collar and different color combinations, becomes the shoe of choice for a generation of skateboarders.
Vans #36, the Old Skool, debuts with the now famous Vans Sidestripe. The Old Skool is Vans’ first skate shoe that incorporated leather panels for increased durability. The Vans #98 is also introduced and with the help of skateboarders and BMX riders, and will come to be the original Slip-On silhouette that will be known as an icon for generations.
The Nike Air Tailwind – introduced at the Honolulu Marathon – is the brand’s first sneaker to feature its Air technology. Despite initial wariness due to the air pocket hidden in the sole, it soon catches on among devoted runners.
Reebok’s Classic Leather is a shoe that plays the casual card over peak performance. Being both “functional and fashionably classic,” it quickly becomes a wardrobe staple.
The Air Jordan 1 is produced for basketball star Michael Jordan, hitting the market the year later. It remains one of Nike’s most memorable collaborations, with frequently updated sneakers as well as apparel and accessories.
Futuristic yet simple—with reds, greys, suede, and mesh—Nike designer Tinker Hatfield’s dream to expose the Air technology becomes a reality. The visible air pocket makes the line iconic.
The Vans Steve Caballero, the first signature skate shoe, is introduced. Vans introduces weather resistant materials to footwear labeled Mountain Edition for the first time.
Reebok launches The Pump, a revolutionary technology; the first shoe with a built in pump for the perfect fit.
Puma’s Trinomic technology first takes shape in the running arena in 1989. It features clear rubber hexagon cells, which collapse and expand to provide cushioning, flexibility, and stability. The Trinomic family features many gamechangers, including the Puma Disc – it is the first lace-less sports shoe with a system of internal wires that tighten the upper for a perfect fit.
The EQT collection by adidas Originals started as a shoe that strips away everything that is not essential to it, thereby perfectly suiting athletes’ needs of performance, protection and comfort. Today, 25 years later, the EQT has been relaunched with a polar opposite colour palette, and the Trefoil logo on it.
InstaPump Fury is launched by Reebok as a technology that allows instant customization. With its ground breaking design and the custom fit technology, the shoe becomes an instant hit.
Reebok establishes a relationship with Allen Iverson, and his shoe The Answer, is introduced. This shoe becomes so successful that it evolves and continues up until 2003 with The Answer VII.
Reebok introduces the DMX6 technology, a series of interlinked air chambers in which air runs through connected pods and empties according to the wearer’s stride, thereby releasing energy. This air channel system delivers unprecedented cushioning and stability.
Puma launches lifestyle versions of the King and the running shoe Easy Rider in collaboration with designer Jil Sander – they become desired fashion sneakers.
Puma launches the Mostro and initiates one of the largest trends of the last decades: the fusion of sports and lifestyle. With its velcro fastener and spike sole, it combines two shoes – the Sprintspike from 1968 and a surfing shoe from the 80’s. Madonna later makes them a worldwide trend by wearing them throughout her 2002 tour.
The Puma Speedcat is born, representing the brand’s long-standing competence in Formula One. Originally designed in 1998 as a fireproof version for F1 pilots, the Speedcat quickly enters the fashion world thanks to its innovative and elegant low-profile look with the characteristic stitched cat logo.
Vans continues to forge innovative collaborative efforts through the Vault by Vans line with Vans sneaker combinations with design giant Marc Jacobs and OC up-and-comers Trovata flying off shelves.
The Vans x The Simpsons series features artwork from Kaws, Stash, Futura, Mr. Cartoon and more, and is an instant hit.
As part of their musical collaboration series, Converse released two Chuck Taylor All-Stars featuring Metallica’s iconic artwork – one an electrified logo from the Ride The Lightning album cover and the other, a lesser-known Pushead artwork.
Kanye West’s much-hyped Yeezy collection is announced, and hits the market two years later in 2015. The adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 is the latest offering in the ongoing collaboration.
Converse announces a third collaboration with Super Mario Bros after the runaway success of the first two. The pack features the One Star Oxford, with one in all red, the other in green, both in reference to Mario and Luigi’s plumber uniforms as well as the “mushrooms” throughout the video game.
Vans teams up with the Beatles franchise to create the Spring 2014 The Beatles Yellow Submarine by Vans collection inspired by the iconic artwork from The Yellow Submarine album and film.
NMD hits the market as adidas Originals’ unique collective memory combined with cutting edge innovation. It merges the best of the archives with Boost and Primeknit technologies.
The Nike Air More Uptempo gets a makeover as part of the brand’s collaboration with streetwear giant Supreme. Of the three-part collaboration, the red-and-white pair becomes a fan favourite.