Sneakers were once just mass produced rubber soles and canvas tops, not aware of which were left or right. Now we have an incredible selection to suit our 101 personalities. Early on, sneakers were seen as sports shoes and used mainly by athletes like Michael Jordan and Jessie Owens, donning Nike and Adidas. As the 20th century came round, and with the creation of Air Jordans, sneakers slowly became a fashion statement amongst teens, especially fan girls (and boys) of their favourite athletes and stars. For a period of time, sneakers were all about their sporting abilities.
Then came the influence of Hip Hop culture, this is when sneakers became the ultimate status symbol and a sub-culture of sneaker heads was created. Rappers like Run DMC actively engaged with sneaker brands, namely Adidas, even writing a song about them, repping their shoes in their daily lives. Hip Hop was a dominant culture and the artists were admired by millions, and so what they wore had a huge impact on their fans, who wanted to imitate their swag. Hip Hop culture was about the streets, being real and connecting with people. Wearing sneakers was a way to connect with ordinary people, they were casual, they were comfortable, and they were cool.
Fast Forward to 2015 and we see an exponential rise of sneaker culture, it has become the ultimate fashion statement around the world with celebrities endorsing and creating themselves, like Pharrell for Adidas or Kanye West’s “Yeezys”. Sneakers are now seen as a way of expressing ourselves in an easier way than most other shoes (apart from the ridiculous high-heeled high tops trend). Nowadays we see sneakers in every part of people’s lives, even on the red carpet. Sneakers are no longer basic and similar, they come in every colour, design and size you can think of, suited for whatever desire you’re thinking of. Sneakers are a form of artistic expression; unlike any other shoe, they show such a large amount of variations that it’s impossible not to like at least one, whether it’s big, bright and bold like Nike’s Air Max or simple and sleek like Adidas’ Stan Smith Originals. We are constantly seeing new designs and innovations from some of the top sneaker brands of our day: Adidas, Nike, Puma, New Balance, Asics and Converse to name a few. As a massive fan, their mix of comfort and style makes sneakers irresistible.
My first pair of sneakers was a white pair of high top Converse, a classic that everyone seemed to have. I wore them everywhere to try get them dirty, as white was too clean for me, yet black was too dark. I was unaware of the playground I was stepping into and so I would start collecting every colour All Stars I could find. After a few years I became bored with that selection, this was when Adidas came into my life. My brother was already a huge fan of Adidas, being an avid soccer player and fan; he wore every colour tracksuit they had. They epitomised a relaxed hipness, style with little effort and comfort with sleek design. And so, my admiration of the sneaker world developed. Steadily I started accumulating pairs of Adidas, Nike and so on, each brand of sneaker representing a different characteristic of myself. Dancing in each pair evoked a different attitude and behaviour; I become an accessory for the shoe, showcasing their skills in the way I dance. Sneakers give me the confidence no other shoe do, I’m able to dance without noticing others, or caring, and move my body in ways heels could never allow and last until the last song. My aim: to have as many pairs as financially possible, it’s impossible to stop at just one. Reality: student life.