THEY’RE THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF KIT YOU’LL BUY, BUT WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THEM?
Jack discovers shoes have moved on a lot since the days of leather pumps,
I nspired by the recent launch of Inov-8’s exciting use of graphene in its trail running shoes, we thought it timely to take a look at just how far footwear has come in a relatively short space of time.
The one-atom-thick layer of graphite used by Inov-8 is close to indesctructable and a far cry from the canvas and leather pumps of yesteryear. So how did so much change so quickly? And have the shoes themselves really improved that much?
In 1962, a 20-something by the name of Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father to fund a start-up business importing athletic shoes from Japan. In January this year, an 80-year-old Phil Knight was ranked by Forbes as the 28th richest person on Earth – and Nike, the brand he founded has gone on to not only revolutionise the design of running shoes but dominate and fundamentally influence the shape of global sport. It’s a stark lesson for anyone doubting the power of marketing.
The indomitable rise of Nike parallels the development of modern running shoes because, well, they pretty much single-handedly designed them. Anyone who’s read Christopher McDougall’s world-famous book Born to Run – or Knight’s own memoirs Shoe Dog – will recall that his partner-indesign was his old running coach, Bill Bowerman, and that it was Bowerman who infamously poured rubber into his waffle iron to develop a cushioned sole. Nike acolytes will preach that before then, running shoes consisted of little more than a thin leather sole. In reality, running shoes had been steadily developing throughout the pre and post-war periods in both the east and west – with Asics being founded in 1949 in Japan and Adidas beginning even earlier in 1920, founded by Adolf Dassler. It was Nike, though, who truly pioneered and marketed the modern running shoe from the 1960s onwards.
Since the 1960s, running shoes – both on and offroad – have developed at a rapid pace, alongside a burgeoning sports market and a rising tide of recreational runners. These days, every brand has their own patented technology backed by
Cation here please gfgg Rohu ividem qu ffgyg iatem gghghgolore, ex From 1966 to 1981: shoes (and fashion) changed dramatically in just a 15-year period