To sneaker or not to sneaker….?
The sneaker had an unpretentious, if not even pitiful start. Back in the 1700s, The economically lacking, a.k.a. “poor” people wore rubber sole shoes with no differentiation between the right and left, known as “plimsolls,” which I can not imagine being comfortable, and talk about two left feet (I’m sorry, I had to.)
[Editor’s Note: Samuel Plimsoll M.P. (10 February 1824 – 3 June 1898) was an English politician and social reformer, now best remembered for having devised the Plimsoll line (a line on a ship’s hull indicating the maximum safe clearance when loaded for various operating conditions). He was known as “The Sailor’s Friend” for this. It was not until the 1920s, that plimsoll shoes were invented and named for their similarity in appearance to the Plimsoll lines on boats. it may be a coincidence that they were ‘deck shoes’ for grip on ships’ decks.]
Charles Goodyear, the gentleman who patented rubber in 1844, made shoes with rubber soles possible in 1839. This was the year that the chemical process of converting natural rubber to more durable material, known as “vulcanization” was invented by Mr. Goodyear. This process allowed for rubber to be given more tread, however, it wasn’t until the mid-1870s when someone decided rubber sole shoes would be made for sport; that sport was croquet.
The years that followed introduced the first U.S. produced plimsoll from a brand called “Keds.”
Remember them? Pam Beasley thanked her “Keds” during her “Whitest TeNnis Shoe Award” acceptance speech at The Dundies on “The Office, Season 2”. Interestingly enough, Keds were created and marketed by a rubber company, not a sneaker manufacturer as our kicks are made by today.
Shortly after sneaker (or excuse me, plimsoll) development was driven by sport.
Converse developed a basketball shoe in 1917 and in the 1920s basketball star Chuck Taylor offered some design changes to Converse and endorsed the shoe in 1923.
Adi Dassler founded Adidas, which focused primarily on running and soccer shoes in 1924.
The 1950s were a turning point for the sneaker. Until then, people predominantly wore leather soled shoes but in the 1950s public schools began to relax dress codes, and as a result, families were beginning to wear sneakers for non-sport occasions.
In the 1970’s sneaker development by sport began to accelerate in the market, especially with the increase in healthy activity. Running, wrestling, basketball, soccer, you name it, had their own niche of shoe designed for performance, support and comfort.
Today, running shoes worn out of the gym is not a new. But the recent trend of fancy, “blinged” sneakers is taking the shoe world by storm.
This Fall, sneakers adorned with sequins, designed in distressed leather or featuring a platform for some comfy height are all over the fashion world and come in handy when your feet are begging to be fancy, but your back is feeling like it’s a little “meh”.
The crew at Christian Louboutin, known for feminine, vibrantly lacquered red sole high heels, is on board with the sexy sneaker, the Roxxxy Red Sole Flat Skate Sneaker, Black ($1995)
This suede, round toe, slip in style is adorned in crystals and just what the Fall season needs to give some sparkle on dreary days. From Neiman Marcus Online
boc NYC is carrying Leather Crown, which since its launch in 2009, is reinventing the fashion sneaker. Every shoe is made and finished by hand to guarantee the “used” effect that makes them unique.
My personal favorite is the Donna Classic Pink Mid Top. ($415)
Golden Goose Deluxe Brand
Golden Goose Deluxe Brand, established in 2000 with a ready to wear line is presenting great options for Fall. Venice-based husband and wife Alessandro Gallo and Francesco Rinaldi hit the nail on the head with the Superstar Fabric Metallic Low Top in silver distressed leather ($495)
Alexander McQueen, founded by the late Alexander McQueen in 1992 made my “must have” list for the simple esthetic design of a white sneaker, with pink, black or bronze detail, and a not so visually obvious platform that gives some good height; 1.5 inches to be exact. ($575)
Depending on what you are seeking, the right sneaker is out there for you and definitely one item you must add to your wardrobe A.S.A.P.
You need these!
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Editor with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. She has worked with PRADA USA Corp., Jurlique, Amore Pacific and the New York Daily News in management capacities including Marketing, Client Relations, Employee Relations and Training Management. She has authored and published the column, “Ask Angela,” featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. Her beauty advice has been featured in Shape and Fitness Magazines and CBS News.
She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Writing. Angela also has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Angela is currently creator of Circuit Cosmetics, a Brand Ambassador for luxury beauty line, Patchology, an On Air Guest for QVC and blogger for www.thelaughinmommy.blogspot.com.
In her spare time you can find Angela running, spinning, practicing yoga or getting beautified. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her Husband, Son, and Chihuahuas.