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The very first Nike shoes were made in a waffle iron. The running field nearby the Oregon home of the runner and trainer Bill Bowerman was making a transition from cinder to an artificial surface, and that he wanted a sole without spikes that could give him, and his awesome trainees, needed traction as they ran into it. Three of the-dimensional lattice of the iron offered an answer, at least in terms of the cheap nike shoes china. As for the remainder of the style, at least in the beginning? It absolutely was utilitarian: produced by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and so faster, on their own feet.

That Nike has become one of the greatest and most recognizable brands in the world is largely the doing of Bowerman’s partner, the guy who recently announced his retirement from the company: Phil Knight. Knight transformed Nike, not overnight but close to it, in to a global powerhouse, known both for its achievements and its controversies. In the process, however, he did something else: He turned athletic footwear into fashion.

It’s as a result of Knight that, for instance, Kanye West features a signature shoe, the Yeezy Boost. And that, last January, Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel and Raf Simons of Dior sent signature sneakers down their runways. And that, last September, Alice Temperley styled her runway looks with sneakers. Which Mo’ne Davis, she of Little League World Series fame, has released a line of fashion sneakers for females ($75 a set). Knight knew, early on, what we take for granted today: that even most practical of footwear-even shoes we wear for such dull reasons as performance and, worse, comfort-could also serve as fashion. He wasn’t in the shoe business, Knight insisted. He is at the entertainment business.

Sneakers started as luxury items. The initial rubber-soled athletic shoes debuted inside the U.S. within the 1890s-products, as the treads were the purpose, in the U.S Rubber Company. Rubber, during those times, was expensive, and leisure time was rare; a combination resulted in the innovative shoes were worn, in most cases, only by elites. The sneaker market grew, however, in the early 20th century-particularly after World War I, whose effects had resulted in a national focus on fitness and athleticism. Because the nation’s first gym rats came to the scene, shoe companies began cheap wholesale nike shoes free shipping to suit their demands.

Responding to that democratization came among the earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, setting its version of the newly popular shoes aside from those of its competitors, one company recruited wemjjs basketball player-both to enhance their shoe’s design and after that put his name on the final product. The company? The Converse Rubber Shoe Company. The athlete? Chuck Taylor.

It wasn’t until Nike emerged, however, beneath the marketing leadership of Knight, that sneakers and fashion became nearly inextricably connected. The Nike Cortez, released in 1972, took advantage of twin cultural trends-conspicuous consumption along with a renewed obsession with fitness (running, particularly)-to advertise the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was introduced at the height from the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured that the athletes on the Olympic field were clad in the shoes. And the shoe’s design, too, had moved far from athleticism alone. Available in a variety of colors, and featuring, for the first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, these shoes were meant, CNN notes, “for those that wished to face out on the dance floor track along with the running track.”

Seeing the potential, other designers joined the party. In 1984, Gucci released its iconic Gucci Tennis shoes. In 1985, betting on the rookie athlete named Michael Jordan, Nike itself released its Air Jordans. (As worn on-court, CNN notes, the shoes were initially banned by the NBA commissioner David Stern, on the grounds that they violated his stipulation that court shoes be majority-white. Jordan wore them anyway. Nike happily paid the fines.) And then in 1986, Run-DMC released “My Adidas”-not the very first musical ode to footwear, but a telling one. The song marked on the one hand the birth from the intimate artistic and commercial relationship between hip-hop and sneakers; in addition, it signaled that this shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.

Today, because of all this, athletic shoe releases are met with similar sort of fervent enthusiasm that fashion shows are, and not just in sneakerhead culture. Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 collection sold out on Saturday in 15 minutes; in short order, a pair of the footwear appeared on eBay having an asking price of $10,000. As a result of creative marketing Nike and Phil Knight pioneered, cheap nike shoes are desired, and collected, and talked about, and infused with artistry. Which is to say: These are fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I can buy a set of LeBrons, this means I’ve got $175-and you don’t.”

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