scarpe sneakers

From the sporting world to urban culture. The history of the evolution of sneakers

21 September 2020

Everybody owns a pair of sneakers. Yet, not everyone knows that the most comfortable shoes in our closet have a history closely tied to the evolution of sports that stretches back centuries.

The birth of sneakers

By ancient times, the Greeks were already wearing something to cover and protect the soles of their feet during sports competitions. However, the first major date in the development of sneakers is likely 1839. That’s when Charles Goodyear came up with the vulcanization process for latex. Indigenous peoples had already used latex as foot protection, but vulcanization made it more elastic, durable and apt for diverse uses.

Over the next decade, the first real sneakers in history were designed in England. Made of a canvas upper and rubber sole, these new shoes were an innovation in the footwear world. Sneakers or trainers were first used for outdoor sports. But with growing numbers of tennis players, footballers and other athletes, they became only more and more popular.

Basketball and sneakers, a deeply-rooted connection

Since the beginning of the 1900s, sneakers have been inextricably linked to basketball and urban culture. During the 1950s, James Dean symbolised a widespread yearning for emancipation when he donned  his famous Converse All Star sneakers. These shoes have periodically come back in style over the years thanks to well-known bands, like Nirvana and AC/CD, who’ve sported them.

nirvana band sneakers converse

At the same time, there are now other iconic models in all the major basketball footwear lines. Adidas Superstars remain one of the best-selling models to date. So too Air Jordans, which emerged later, the result of a collaboration between Nike and NBA champion and Chicago Bulls star, Michael Jordan.

Sneakers become an badge of identity

Since the 1980s, sneaker sales have boomed worldwide. They’ve started to be worn not just for sports, but also for walking outdoors or as a badge of belonging to a subculture. Punk girls wear high-wedge styles like platform sneakers while skaters feel oversized, flat-soled trainers, like Nike SB Dunks, precisely capture their personality. The hip hop culture, which has taken hold in recent years especially in the US, is reflected in shell-toe models with thick laces, usually by Adidas. 

To date, sports and clothing brands, as well as haute couture houses, have become involved in producing sneakers. The high demand for them has led to the spread of different models in a broad range of materials including ones for leisure-time use. Today, there’s a wide choice of sneakers available to match any style, need or occasion. 

Baldinini’s autumn/winter 2020/2021 men’s sneaker collection focuses on refinement. Select leathers are combined with technical fabrics to create a perfect balance, matching comfort with a sporty-casual style. 

sneakers da uomo baldinini

A total black look and high soles are the key words in the women’s sneaker line. These models are a perfect combination of select prints, leather and other materials embellished with rhinestones, studs and sparkling fabric. 

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