SNEAKERS: ETYMOLOGY OF THE TERM AND HISTORY OF AN ICONIC SHOESEach of us can say that we have a pair of sneakers in our shoe collection, but few have wondered where this term comes from.
The word “sneakers”, known today to everybody and which has become part of everyday language, dates back to 1920. Its literal translation is “silent”: this derives from the sole (usually made of rubber) which does not produce much noise when someone walks.The first sneaker you remember is the Air Jordan, designed and created by Nike in 1984 for the basketball legend Michael Jordan. The colors that characterized it were the white and red of the Chicago Bulls.
Micheal Jordan and his first Air
LUXURY SNEAKERS & BRANDS: ARRIVAL IN THE BOUTIQUEFor many years these products have been characterized by affordable prices, but over the years they have made their way into the high fashion scene. The first luxury brand that ventured into the production of sneakers was Gucci. It was the year 1984: a sports shoe with a green and red stripe and the “Gucci” logo on the tongue enters the market. This episode was followed by another equally important one a few years later: in 1996 Prada brought its first sneaker to the catwalks, which became a style icon and allowed sports shoes to enter the panorama of luxury fashion. As always happens when a fashion is launched, the VIPs increase its notoriety, arousing even more hype and interest among people. We recall an emblematic case of the use of sneakers under an elegant dress that featured Serena Williams: the famous tennis player wore tennis shoes under a Valentino dress at the wedding of Megan Markle and Prince Harry in 2018. According to recent market studies, sneaker sales are growing by 35% year on year; according to Beth Goldstein, footwear analyst at the NPD Group, fashion footwear ranks first in terms of growth across the industry, for both men and women.
Serena Williams at the wedding of Megan and Harry
Today a cult object, protagonists of online auctions that reach record prices, especially from the sad announcement of the designer’s death. Abloh loved to define them as the object of memory, of childhood: it was the first pair of shoes he had worn, the first that had been given to him and to which he had grown fond of. “It is an accessory linked to emotions, it is no wonder that it is so central in our lives,” he explained, the son of Ghanaians who emigrated to America, who had seen his parents wear them with any type of outfit.
Virgil Abloh and his Nike Air Force 1