People love shoes. Therefore, sneaker innovation never rests.And it’s not only married to the basketball court. Innovation can be found at the skate parks, soccer pitches and playgrounds.
So here’s another take on some of the most important athletic shoes of our time.
The Samba has become the second best-selling Adidas shoe ever (behind the Stan Smith), and is the best seller this generation thanks to its innovation for the soccer pitch. It was first produced in 1950 featuring a foldable tongue and tan gumsole for soccer players to train on hard ground.
Vans originally garnered acclaim for its skateboarding prowess. But the company ventured out and scored high marks among surfers and their laid-back style with the Slip-Ons. The shoe has been produced in countless variations and been worn by many celebrities, including Sean Penn in the youth classic, Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
The third installation of the epic Air Jordan series was the first designed by Tinker Hatfield and remains many people's choice for the greatest Jordan sneaker ever. It was the first to feature the Jumpman logo and the first to posses a visible air unit. The final touch? Incorporating elephant print at 'His Airness's' request. This is one of the first sneakers to make the transition into the fashion world.
L.A. Gear paired with New York-based BBC International, the original light technology patent owner, to create their most successful line ever. L.A. Lights sold over five million pairs per year in the early 90s. The 'excitement' of seeing your heel light up when hitting the ground dazzled children for years - and still resonates with youngsters today.
An outdoor version of the Jordan VIII, the Air Raid is Nike's first design created strictly for the playground. It's innovative crossing straps allowed great ankle support and thick rubber outsole provided great court traction. It has since been re-released in various colorways.
In the 80s and early 90s, Airwalk also marketed itself to a niche skateboarding market. But a desire to go mainstream, and a few internal shifts, changed all that. The 'One' series was Airwalk's first foray into a causal lifestyle shoe that would appeal to the masses. When skateboard shops couldn't keep the shoe in stock, major retailers took note, making this Airwalk's top selling shoe of all time.
Charles Barkley's first signature shoe had to embody his on-court personality - a rough, tough and durable exterior. Which is why it was also inspired by a unique article of clothing - a strait jacket.
Sergio Lozano's vision for the next Air Max illustrated the human anatomy. The midsole represented the spine. The gradient panels embodied muscle fibres and tendons. The lace loops symbolized ribs. And the mesh was inspired by human skin. Now it all makes sense.
Between Nike and Converse, Dennis Rodman actually had a number of signature shoes. But this may be the most unique - and not because of its illogical name. The innovative side lacing system, along with the 'Worm's' endorsement, made this a classic.
The Adjust Force came with a removable strap that enabled wearers to sport multiple looks. And because Nike offered the strap in multiple colours, it became a big hit among Nike-endorsed universities. It also allowed the fashion forward individual to match the sneaker with any outfit.
An unofficial shoe of Scottie Pippen, the Air More Uptempo definitely lived up to its name. For Nike, more was better. The oversized 'AIR' design dazzled the eye, making this a popular consumer pick. It has since been re released on multiple occasions.
This shoe, Gary Payton's first ever signature, played off the great defender's very nickname - the glove. It was the first ever Nike basketball shoe to zip-up and literally form a glove around the shoe's skeleton body.
Producing the ever-popular 'diss' t-shirts wasn't the only thing And1 had to offer. This Yin Yang inspired design was the company's most popular and were featured on the feet of Vince Carter during his ridiculous 2000 NBA Dunk Contest performance.
After watching children skate up and down sidewalks on his Huntington Beach vacation, an idea dawned on Roger Adams to create a shoe that could roll on command. He created his first pair by cutting up a pair of Nikes with a butter knife and inserting a skateboard wheel. He sold 1.25 million pairs in the first year alone. Now, thanks to the creation of various tricks, the term 'heeling' has entered youth vernacular.
Remember when 'riding on spinners' was huge? Believe me, it was. Latrell Sprewell, who owned his own line of spinning rims, promptly endorsed this shoe. The side wheel would literally spin after each step. But then the 'spinners' age died. And just like that, Dada was gone from our lives. As was Latrell Sprewell.
Kobe Bryant's marriage to Adidas didn't last long. But it sure was interesting. Not only was this shoe designed to resemble an Audi TT, the German carmaker even designed the shoe. The Kobe I aimed to be simple, clean, aerodynamic and completely non-traditional - much to the delight of Kobe. 'The Sneaker is absolutely on fire...it's hot!' he said.
Originally crafted for yacht racers, the shoe has since become an icon of minimalist running. Its thin, flexible sole is contoured to the shape of a human foot and includes separate sections for each toe. Many believe minimalist shoes greatly reduce heel striking for runners.
Michael Jordan and Tinker Hatfield dared to create something special for the line's 20th anniversary - and they didn't disappoint. A lace cover featured laser etched designs representing different stages in Jordan's career. The shoe also featured a unique ankle strap and the Independent Podular Suspension, a new technology where individual pods supported the foot in key areas.
Many Skechers designs look like other manufacturer's products - and the Shape-Ups are no different. Similar to Karl Muller's MBT shoe, Shape-Ups feature a curved sole and an active foam wedge. The design forces additional muscular stability, especially in the core, to help improve posture and tighten muscles. The company rarely fails in its marketing campaigns, and Skechers succeeded again with athletes like Joe Montana and Karl Malone endorsing the product.
One of the most unique sneakers you'll ever find, designer Jeremy Scott released his 'angel wing' inspiration to great acclaim - at least among contemporary fashionistas.
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