The History Of Sneakers

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Sneakers have been around for a long time, centuries to be exact. They were first designed and produced in the US in the later part of the 1800s. In the beginning, they were called plimsolls. These plimsolls were the unpolished version of the sneakers that we know and love today. The original plimsolls had both pairs looking exactly the same; there was no right or left shoe.

They were interchangeable. In 1892, the US Rubber Company was formed through the consolidation of 9 rubber manufacturers. One of the nine companies is the Goodyear Metallic Shoe Company from Naugatuck, Connecticut. It was the first company to develop vulcanization which is a process that makes use of heat to fuse together rubber and other materials such as cloth or other rubber materials to create a durable bond. The vulcanization process was first patented and developed by Charles Goodyear.

Humphrey O'Sullivan was granted the first patent for the rubber heel of the sneakers. Between 1892 and 1913, the US Rubber Company under its rubber footwear division created sneakers under 30 various brand names. They decided to produce the footwear under one brand name. In choosing the names for the new consolidated brand, the choices were Peds which means foot in Latin, Veds and Keds. The final choice was Keds and by the time the year 1917 rolled in, the Keds canvas sneakers were already being mass produced.

They were called sneakers only after Henry Nelson McKinney, an advertising agent, coined the term. McKinney came up with the term sneakers because their rubber soles so were so quiet that a person wearing them could sneak up on a person without being noticed. By 1979, the Keds brand was taken in by the Stride Rite Corporation.

Also in 1917, Marquis Converse manufactured the first footwear that was designed solely for basketball. This basketball footwear was called the Converse All-Stars. In 1923 the shoe was promoted by Chuck Taylor, an Indiana basketball celebrity. After his endorsement, the shoe was renamed as the Chuck Taylor All-Stars or what we fondly call today as Chucks. They are considered to be the most popular basketball shoes ever made.

The sneakers gained international fame when Adi Dassler designed a sneaker that he called Adidas. The Adidas footwear became one of the most famous athletic footwear worldwide. Rudi, the brother of Adi Dassler also built a footwear company called Puma.

Sneakers were popularly worn for different sports back then. It later became a fashion trend after James Dean popularized the sneakers in the movie Rebel Without A Cause. Up until this day, the sneakers has remained its status as a popular footwear not just for sports but for casual fashion as well.

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