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Sneakers: A rapidly expanding streetwear market

From sports shoes to sneakers: a deep historical heritage

The birth of sneakers dates back more than a century in the United States. The story begins with Charles Goodyear, an American scientist whose innovations would later revolutionize the global tire market. In 1939, he revolutionized the processing of rubber, making it more flexible and durable. This technological advancement radically transformed shoe manufacturing, with the introduction of the first rubber soles offering exceptional durability. The first shoes equipped with this technology were tennis models, marking the beginning of the era of modern sneakers. At the end of the 1990s, the first contemporary sneakers were developed, with two emblematic companies: US Rubber Company with the Keds, and Converse with the famous All Star, which transformed the world of sneakers by becoming the first model worn in the NBA. Thanks to ex-basketball player Chuck Taylor, these sneakers are gaining popularity across the United States.

In the 1930s, the Dassler brothers, manufacturers of sports shoes for high-level athletes, saw their creations worn by Jesse Owens during his four legendary victories at the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. After the Second World War, they each founded their own sneaker empire: Adidas and Puma. In the 1950s, the term "sneakers" emerged in the United States where young people began to associate these shoes with their wide jeans, symbolizing rebellion and provocation. Their comfort and versatility are quickly making them a popular choice for everyday use.

From the 1970s, many sports brands, including Nike, emerged. Nike, taking its name from the Greek goddess of victory, offers models specifically designed for running. Bill Bowerman, one of the founders of Nike, innovated by molding shoe soles in a waffle iron, creating the Waffle Trainer model, with a grippy, high-performance sole. Nike perfectly grasps the sneaker trend and succeeds in combining lifestyle and sports performance. With renowned ambassadors like Michael Jordan, Nike dominates the market and overtakes Converse and its Chuck Taylors. Over the years, sports equipment manufacturers have strengthened their influence by collaborating with creators like Yohji Yamamoto for Adidas and Salehe Bembury for New Balance, as well as artists to diversify their creations. Sneakers are now omnipresent, worn in all professional environments and at all times, which confirms their dominant position in the world of footwear.

Iconic sneaker collaborations: Yeezy, Nike Off-White, Y3, and Nike Travis Scott

Adidas stands out as the first sports equipment manufacturer to integrate fashion designers into its sneaker collections. Since 2001, Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, with his Y3 line, has revolutionized Adidas sneakers and sportswear clothing. The designs, characterized by sober black and white tones, incorporate aspects of functional techwear, revisiting iconic models like the Adidas Pureboost. Raf Simons, the renowned Belgian designer, also contributed to this fusion between luxury and sportswear with his Raf Simons Ozweego model. However, it was Kanye West who transformed Adidas into a key player in the sneaker market with his innovative designs and Yeezy models, particularly the 700 and 500 versions, which directly challenged Nike in the sector.

Nike also marked 2017 with one of the most high-profile collaborations in the world, led by Virgil Abloh, founder of the Off-White brand and artistic director of men's collections at Louis Vuitton. "The Ten" collaboration redefined ten Nike models, each reinvented with technical materials, including the Air Force 1. These models are now considered collector's items, symbolizing the fusion between streetwear luxury and sporting excellence. Nike continues to expand this collaboration to other product lines, covering various sports like tennis and running, while incorporating the creativity of artists such as Travis Scott, who designed Nike Air Force 1s with swooshes interchangeable.

Puma and Asics are not left out, also offering notable collaborations. Puma, with singer Rihanna and her Fenty collection, reinterpreted the Puma Suede with a thickened sole, while Asics collaborated with Sean Wotherspoon to revisit one of its silhouettes with corduroy details and customizable bands.

In 2020, New Balance experienced a dramatic revitalization thanks to an innovative marketing strategy and high-profile collaborations with the likes of Jaden Smith, Salehe Bembury, and Charaf Tajer's Parisian label Casablanca. The successful launches of the New Balance 550, 2002R, and 327 have shown that the brand can compete in the global sneaker market, strengthening its image with quality products and strategic partnerships.

The trendiest sneakers: Nike Dunk Low, Adidas Campus, Air Jordan 4

Each season brings its share of trends in the world of sneakers, and models like the Nike Dunk Low, the Adidas Campus and the Air Jordan 4 particularly stand out among aficionados.

Launched in 1985, the Nike Dunk Low has become a timeless symbol of streetwear culture. Designed by legendary designer Peter Moore, this sneaker, originally named College Color High, draws inspiration from the Air Force 1 and other Nike models from the 80s. Known for its distinctive silhouette, the Dunk Low has been released in a multitude of colors, making it a versatile choice for any wardrobe.

The Adidas Campus, for its part, was redesigned to succeed the Adidas Tournament in the 1980s but did not meet with the expected success on the basketball courts. It was in the hip-hop and streetwear scene that she found her audience, before conquering the world of skateboarding. Its retro design, with a chunky sole, soft suede upper and leather details, fits perfectly with the current Y2K trend.

The Air Jordan 4, Michael Jordan's fourth signature model, has also made its way to the top of trends. Launched in 1989 while Jordan was playing for the Chicago Bulls, this sneaker combines mesh and leather, complemented by a TPU cage for lightness and breathability. Over the years, the AJ4 has been revisited in various colorways, such as Military Black and Pine Green, reinforcing its iconic status among basketball fans and sneakerheads alike.

At Addict, we are committed to bringing you the hottest sneakers at the best prices, whether they are versatile models, retro designs or iconic pieces of sneaker history. Also discover our other exclusive collections!

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