The history of sports shoes

The history of sports shoes

Sneakers and men’s sneakers have now become the first choice in shoes – not only in sports – but also in the daily lives of men, women and children, as they are an integral part of fashion.

But how did their story begin?

The creation of the first athletic shoe dates back to about 200 years ago. The first sneakers were made of leather, which unfortunately tended to stretch and overflow when soaked, so you wear out very easily and quickly.

19th century

In 1832, Wait Webster patented rubber soles on shoes and boots, which resulted in Plimsolls being worn mainly by children.

In 1852, Joseph William Foster – founder of the Boulton Company – (now Reebok) was the first to add nails to the bottom of the Plimsolls sole, for better ground grip.

During the 19th century, rubber-soled shoes were mainly made by tire companies such as Goodyear and Dunlop.

For a very long time, sports shoes were considered a feature of a luxurious life as both the difficult access to technology and the inability of the financially weak to spend their free time doing sports, made their widespread use impossible. It was not until after World War I, where the circulation and manufacture of sports shoes became more massive mainly due to the fall in their cost.

Everything changed when people started using rubber for industrial purposes. So when in 1892 canvas shoes began to be made with a rubber sole, their widespread use by the world began. They were flat, light, flexible and allowed for a comfortable and quiet walk – and their name “sneakers” came from the verb “sneak” which means slippery.

20th century

Adolf Dassler, who invented running shoes with a more modern design in the 1920s, made a variety of shoes for sprinters and long-distance runners. In 1925 he created a new patent for sneakers (running and long jump) after incorporating special cushions under the sole.

The first shoes, designed by Adi Dassler, were intended for short and medium distances (up to 800 m). His creations have been recognized internationally as the best by many athletes of Jesse Owens caliber. The first gold medal he received as an athlete wearing the Dassler brothers’s shoes was at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. Lina Radke won it with her result in the 800 meters race being 2: 16: 8.

In 1948 the Dassler brothers founded Addas, which later became Adidas, and Ruda, which later became Puma.

In 1949 Dassler added three side stripes to support the running shoes.

The popular models of that period were Adidas Waitzer, Adidas 10.0, Adidas Tokyo 64 and others.

In 1960 New Balance built the Trackster. The first running shoes, with a special tractor sole that enhanced traction, absorbed vibrations and prevented injuries, which were common due to the metal nails that sports shoes had up to that time.

In the 1970s running was the most popular exercise for everyone. So the Sportswear Companies started making sneakers for running on more sophisticated technology. Thus began the story of Nike, one of its founders, Bill Bauerman, who was obsessed with making lightweight sportswear and experimenting with new technologies. This experimentation led to the creation of the now historic Nike Waffle Trainer model.

In 1976, NASA’s Frank Rudy designed the first sports shoe with aerosols, in collaboration with Nike. He was the one who came up with the idea to place bags filled with compressed air that you compress under each impact. Thus, Rudy introduced sports aerosols to the market, which are still used today, 40 years later.

In the 1980s, Nike, Reebok and Adidas dominated the running shoe market, with many sports personalities wearing and promoting their new designs and technologies.

In 1981 Saucony launched the new Jazz trainer model with the triangular sole blocks on the sole, which was a new way for the shoes to absorb the vibrations in the runner’s insole, during long distances.

In 1984 Adidas Micropacer introduced the electronic pedometer sewn into the tongue – the first attempt to merge electronics with shoes.

In 1986 ASICS released the first running model with GEL silicone cushion. It was found to absorb 28% more vibrations than ordinary aerosols. The GEL cush system is still present in most ACICS models even today. At the same time, Nike launched the Air Jordan I. This release signaled that the technology in sports shoes had become fashionable.

In 1987, Nike revolutionized the world of sportswear by creating the Nike Air Max – the world’s first sneaker with a visible air cushion on the sole.

21st century

In the 21st century, the technology of sports shoes is evolving rapidly.

The first version of the Nike Free minimalist shoe was introduced to athletes in 2004, however, non-runners also wore it in their daily lives.

In 2005, Vibram released a kayak-specific five-pin model that, in fact, spread like wildfire among runners as a minimal bare sneaker, allowing the foot to move more naturally.

In 2006 Nike launched the Nike + Air Zoom Moire, which through synchronization with the iPod enabled us to record the calories we burn, the distance we travel and the time we did.

In 2013 New Balance introduced the first sneakers made with 3D technologies: the laser scanner determines the individual characteristics of your foot and the sole of the ideal specifications is printed on the special 3D printer that has these characteristics.

In 2015 the companies offered extremely light models, which weighed less than 100 grams!

These days there are many shoe companies that offer a very wide variety of sneakers and sneakers for all tastes. The difference now lies in the fact that one can choose the right shoe that suits his own foot and his own needs.

If you want to find the sneakers that suit your needs and your style, click on and you will find a huge collection of sneakers and sneakers to compare models and prices and choose the right one for you!

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