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The first Nike shoes were made in a waffle iron. The running field near the Oregon home from the runner and trainer Bill Bowerman was creating a transition from cinder with an artificial surface, and he wanted a sole without spikes that will give him, and his trainees, needed traction because they ran on it. The 3-dimensional lattice of the iron offered a response, at least as far as the cheap nike shoes china. As for the rest of the design, at least at first? It had been utilitarian: created by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and thus faster, on their feet.

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

It’s due to Knight that, for example, Kanye West has a signature shoe, the Yeezy Boost. And this, 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. And this Mo’ne Davis, she of Little League World Series fame, has released a line of fashion sneakers for girls ($75 a set). Knight knew, early on, what we should take for granted today: that even the most practical of footwear-even shoes we wear for such dull reasons as performance and, worse, comfort-may also serve as fashion. He wasn’t within the shoe business, Knight insisted. He is at the entertainment business.

Sneakers started as luxury items. The very first rubber-soled athletic shoes debuted within the U.S. in the 1890s-products, as the treads were the idea, in the U.S Rubber Company. Rubber, at that time, was expensive, and leisure time was rare; a combination resulted in the innovative shoes were worn, for the most part, only by elites. The sneaker market grew, however, in the early twentieth century-particularly after World War I, whose effects had resulted in a national emphasis on fitness and athleticism. As the nation’s first gym rats came onto the scene, shoe companies began cheap wholesale nike shoes free shipping to suit their demands.

In reaction to that particular democratization came one of many earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, to create its version in the newly popular shoes besides the ones from its competitors, one company recruited wemjjs basketball player-both to improve their shoe’s design and then put his name on the final product. The business? 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, specifically)-to market the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was released on the height of the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured that the athletes on the Olympic field were clad inside the shoes. And the shoe’s design, too, had moved far from athleticism alone. Available in a selection of colors, and featuring, for the first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, these shoes were meant, CNN notes, “for those that wished to stand out on the dance floor track as well as the running track.”

Seeing the potential, other designers joined the party. In 1984, Gucci released its iconic Gucci Tennis shoes. In 1985, betting over a rookie athlete named Michael Jordan, Nike itself released its Air Jordans. (As worn on-court, CNN notes, the footwear were initially banned from the NBA commissioner David Stern, on the grounds which they violated his stipulation that court shoes be majority-white. Jordan wore them anyway. Nike happily paid the fines.) And 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 the shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.

Today, because of all of this, athletic shoe releases are met with similar sort of fervent enthusiasm that fashion shows are, and not simply in sneakerhead culture. Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 collection out of stock on Saturday in fifteen minutes; in a nutshell order, a couple 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 actually popular, and collected, and mentioned, and infused with artistry. That is also to express: These are fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I could buy a pair of LeBrons, it indicates I’ve got $175-and you don’t.”

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