Versatile in every occasion, sneakers or trainers have now become a must-have in the outfits of every modern woman who respects herself.
The first real gymnastics shoe, consisting of a rubber sole and a canvas upper, was born in England in 1850. The shoe was called "Plimsoll", because on the sides it had a strip of white rubber that recalled, not intentionally, the waterline designed by Samuel Plimsoll and designed on the sides of the ships, to highlight the safety limits of the cargo. Coming from the verb "to sneak", which means "sneak" the term sneaker, was coined for the first time by advertiser Henry Nelson Mckinsey in 1917 to describe the Keds, inspired by the silence of that rubber sole, which today has become the fundamental feature of this type of shoes.
It all began thanks to Charles Goodyear when, in 1839, he invented vulcanized rubber, through a mechanism that includes the addition of sulfur to the heated rubber, thus transforming the whole into an elastic substance, waterproof and malleable, through a process called "vulcanization". Some historians claim that the first sneakers, were nothing more than a way to take advantage of the rubber overvances coming from other production lines.
In the 1920s, women’s sneakers were exclusively used in sports, as evidenced by Suzanne Lenglen, a tennis champion, who presented herself at the 1919 Wimbledon Tournament, challenging the dress code rules of the time. In fact, not only did he wear a skirt that left his calves uncovered, but he also wore a pair of sneakers that soon after took the name of "Lenglen Shoes". They always had a rubber sole, but the design was much more tapered, so innovative than those on the market in those times.
Even in the following decades up to the 80s, women’s sneakers have always been considered as a piece to wear exclusively for physical activity, because at the time, there were rules of style imposed by society, which made daily clothing much more formal and austere.
Despite this, it is in this period that a company specializes in sneakers: the "Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik".
Founded in Germany by Rudolph Dassler with the help of his brother Adolf, it was particularly popular when he sponsored runner Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The success of the company, however, ended shortly after the end of World War II, due to a dispute that led to the division of the company between the two brothers.
Adolf Dassler founded the brand Adidas (whose name derives from its diminutive, "Adi", and the initials of his surname, "Das") while Rudolph Dassler created Ruda (also in this case an acronym coming from the first two letters respectively of his name, "Ru", the surname, "Da"), whose name was then changed to Puma.
Born exclusively for a male audience, to date, there is not a girl who has not or has never worn a pair of Adidas’ sneakers or Puma at his feet!
A first example can certainly be the iconic model Stan Smith, born in 1971 from the collaboration between tennis player Stan Smith and Adidas, which still today, is considered by many girls an irreplaceable must-have. Another, however, are the Puma X Cara De Lavigne "Suede Heart Collection" become popular on all social networks in 2017.
This makes us understand the strength of both brands and how, despite the passing of the years, they can always capture the attention of their audience through the union between tradition and technology.
As already mentioned before, the real boom of women’s sneakers takes place very late, more precisely in the 80s, when you start to experience the concept of unisex in the fashion world. In these years, in fact, the looks were not only influenced by a more sport aesthetic, but also by the idea of wearing in women’s outfits, those stylistic codes linked only to the male world and sneakers, were just one of them.
So then, combined with muscle warmers and body flou, sneakers begin to become one of those inevitable pieces in the closets of girls of the 80s.
This gave rise to one of the cult phenomena of the 90s: the "sneaker mania".
One of the most popular models of sneakers for women were the Converse Chuck Taylor which, thanks mainly to grunge rock bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, became a real symbol of belonging to a new musical and social movement.
Another iconic piece of the 90s is the Gazelle by Adidas Originals. Originally launched in the '60s, they returned to fashion in a specific year, 1993, thanks to a shot of the then rising star Kate Moss, with just a pair of Gazelle at his feet. The photo was so popular at the top of the three-stripe brand, which chose to hire Moss, also for the new 2016 relaunch campaign, leading as expected, to a new increase in the popularity of this model.
Victoria Beckham’s Spice Girls, on the other hand, launch a new trend: the Buffalo. Thanks to them, this sneaker model, consisting of platform sole, became not only the symbol of the British pop group, but also that of millions of girls of the time.
For years, the Buffalo have been etched in the memory of this generation, even with a hint of nostalgia. Today, it is the contemporary girls who pick up the scepter of this fashion. Well yes, after 20 years, here they reappear on the market, but under a totally new gown, thanks to collaborations with brands such as Junya Watanabe, Opening Ceremony and of course, the one with Vivienne Westwood.
At the beginning of the new millennium, another model of women’s sneakers climbs the peak of success thanks to the influence of the film world. With the release in 2003 of the film "Kill Bill VOL. 1" by Quentin Tarantino, the Onitsuka Tiger become the absolute protagonists of every outfit. The actress Uma Thurman, who in the film plays a former killer seeking revenge named Beatrix Kiddo, wears in the film a yellow and black leather jumpsuit combined with a pair of Onitsuka Tiger in the same color. Needless to say, those sneakers became an icon not only of the film, but also of the 2000s in general.
Coming to the present day, we have now understood how women’s sneakers, are an element of vital importance, so as to become a real means to communicate their status symbol.
The first true haute couture brand that had the courage to bring into the world of luxury, a shoe that has always been linked to the world of sport, was Balenciaga. Its creative director, Demna Gvasalia, always recognized as an excellent observer of the company, has been in fact able to transform trends into products and the most striking example are its sneakers Triple S and Speed that, in 2018 they literally invaded all the Instagram and Facebook boards (also thanks to Chiara Ferragni who was the first influencer to post them).
Fashion veterans would never have expected this, but this phenomenon has also struck another French maison, and we are talking about Dior sneakers.
The most iconic are the Dior B23, with rubber sole and canvas interior with monogram print. The same brand then collaborated with the historic sneakers brand Jordan, with which, at the end of March 2020, launches a new model of sneakers: the Air Jordan 1.
Worn by the likes of Travis Scott and Justin Timberlake, this specific pair is considered the most desired and coveted by streetwear fans and beyond, so much so that it even becomes a collector’s item.
In addition to luxury, these shoes also conquer cutting-edge brands. An example are the Alexander Mcqueen’s sneakers, British brand that, influenced by this trend, has brought back to popularity the platform soles inspired by the 90s, up to propose more than 40 models, making this shoe, the flagship product of the brand.
On the other hand, as for the streetwear scene, we find the Yeezy sneakers, brand founded by a collaboration between rapper Kanye West and Adidas. With its futuristic shapes, unusual materials and a strong marketing strategy, the Yeezy shoes are the most sought after and desired by the Z generation.
Through the “drop”, which means to launch, the brand sporadically releases new creations in limited and inaccessible numbers, thus raising customer demand and desire.
Although the drop is mainly linked to streetwear, this technique was introduced by the famous sportswear brand Nike around the 80s, for the release on the market of the Jordan sneakers.
The now famous Nike sneakers represent today a giant in the production of the brand. The unmistakable and iconic swoosh, applied to each product, over the years has become a symbol of belonging to a movement that has changed the concept of sportswear that, little by little, has also conquered the female audience. An example is the Air Force 1 model, created in collaboration with basketball player Bruce Kilgore as a technical shoe designed for basketball, a real bomb of speed and stability, whose name was inspired by the plane of the President of the USA. But already in the 90s the Air Force 1 were cleared in everyday looks by young New York girls who wore them with baggy jeans and oversized t-shirts..
The shoes that started a real trend are the Air Jordan 1 sneakers, also released by Nike, introduced in 1984, as a sign of recognition of the liasion between the American brand and basketball champion Michael Jordan.
High or low it does not matter, to date, they are still one of the most appreciated and worn models, by practically all women of any age.
What makes them so popular is precisely the variety of colors and materials that satisfy everyone's tastes, not to mention the numerous collaborations, with brands like Off-White or The Attico that have seen the Air Jordan 1 totally change their appearance.
The veterans of the fashion world would never have expected it, but Nike has managed to involve the French fashion house Dior in this phenomenon. To date, Nike x Dior sneakers are considered the most desired and coveted sneakers by streetwear fans, so much so that they even become a collector's item.
In addition to luxury, women’s sneakers also conquer avant-garde brands. An example are the sneakers by Alexander McQueen, a British brand that, influenced by this trend, has brought back to popularity the platform soles inspired by the 90s, up to offering more than 40 models, making this shoe the brand's flagship product.
Dior, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga are not the only ones, in fact, all the high fashion brands offer numerous different styles of sneakers, based on the heritage and symbols of the maison itself.
Burberry sneakers, for example, under the creative direction of Riccardo Tisci, see the iconic check printed both on more structured models such as the Arthur, and on simpler canvas models. Versace's sneakers, on the other hand, stand out thanks to the iconic medusa, a symbol of the brand created by Gianni Versace, printed on an infinite number of models and in different shades of color.
On the Made In Italy instead, there are many brands specialized exclusively in this sector, such as Golden Goose sneakers, born in 2000 by two young Venetians passionate about the world of sneakers or Premiata, a brand founded in 1991, by Graziano Mazza, who transformed the small family leather goods in a contemporary product purchased all over the world.
As we have seen, women's sneakers today represent a great step forward in terms of practicality, comfort and aesthetics. Each of us is free to wear them as she prefers: whether they are under a miniskirt, a pair of jeans and why not, even an elegant dress. What really matters is having the opportunity to express ourselves and SHOPenauer is definitely the perfect place to do it!