Sneakerheads! Here's Everything You Need To Know About One Of The World's Widely Used Footwear

Sneakers have seen a transition from being used for athletic and sporting reasons to being a lifestyle fashion statement! Majority of the urban youth has at least one pair of sneakers, and there's so much to know about these kicks!

Sneakerheads! Here's Everything You Need To Know About One Of The World's Widely Used Footwear

Sneakers were originally designed for sports, athletic use but for a while now, sneakers have been more of a lifestyle, fashion symbol for people to use on a daily basis. With a flat, flexible sole, sneakers are a must-have for every boy or girl in their wardrobe to pull off that trendy look because sneakers are such that they go with anything and everything you wear (please don’t wear sneakers on a kurta or at a high-value business meeting).

What are sneakers? 

Sneakers are basically a type of footwear with a rubber/synthetic sole, and a leather, synthetic or cloth substitute top. If you go to see, this kicks are commonly referred to as 'sneakers' but there are a number of subtypes which define the pair to its complete importance and style. 

Why are sneakers called sneakers? 

Rumour has it, the term ‘sneakers’ came from the fact that because the sole is so flexible and made up of rubber, that whoever is wearing those, could ‘sneak up’ on someone wearing hard sole shoes, which kinda made a bit of noise. An American advertising agent Henry Nelson McKinney used the term because the rubber sole made the shoe stealthy. Now that's an interesting background story, isn't it?

The footwear have gone by a variety of names, depending on geography, and changing over the decades. The term "sneakers" is most commonly used in the Northeastern United States, South Florida, North Carolina, parts of Canada and New Zealand whereas they are referred to as ‘trainers’ in some parts of the United Kingdom. 

This style of footwear became prominent in America at the turn of the 20th century, where they were called 'sneakers'. In 1892, the U.S. Rubber Company introduced the first rubber-soled shoes in the country, sparking a surge in demand and production. The first basketball shoes were designed by Spalding as early as 1907. The market for sneakers grew after World War I, when sports and athletics increasingly became a way to demonstrate moral fiber and patriotism.

The thing with sneakers is, there's no single type, but multiple styles which have different names and also have a specific purpose. Let's have a look at 5 types of sneakers which are commonly used by people on a daily basis. 

Classic Canvas Sneakers

Comfortable and the most traditional form of sneakers, Canvas sneakers are low ankle kicks which are material based and most popularly sold by Converse All Stars. These were a pop culture hit and worn with jeans which were rolled up at the bottom. Canvas sneakers are widely popular in India and have been in the market for a long time. 

High Top Sneakers

These type of sneakers gained popularity in Basketball for starters but grew on consumers after a large fan following coming through the NBA (National Basketball Association) in the United States of America. Normally with other kind of kicks, one has to wear anklets (low length socks), no shows or no socks at all. But with these high top sneakers, you can wear long socks and are normally paired with jeans or chinos. The Air Jordan collection and the Air Max by Nike are widely popular high tops used in the USA. 

Plimsoll Sneakers

Plimsolls were widely worn by vacationers and also began to be worn by sportsmen on the tennis and croquet courts for their comfort. They're very commonly used around the world and are 'low top' so you shouldn't really wear high length sock with them. Fun fact: Plimsolls were worn by pupils in schools' physical education lessons in the UK from the 1950s until the early 1970s. 

Slip-on Sneakers

These are simple, comfortable and the laceless version of Plimsoll sneakers. These smooth low top sneakers are making a comeback in metallic and interesting patterns like chequered by Vans, and are mostly worn without socks. Slip-ons scream casual and are available at a very reasonable price. 

Athletic Sneakers

These are sport-centric sneakers majorly manufactured by big brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok are the perfect blend of functionality and style. Any activity faster than walking, athletic sneakers should be your first choice.

Sneakers have been an important part of hip hop (primarily Puma, Nike, and Adidas) and rock 'n roll (Converse, Macbeth) cultures since the 1970s. Hip hop artists sign million dollar deals with major brands such as Nike, Adidas, or Puma to promote their shoes. 

Sneaker collectors, called "sneakerheads", regard sneakers as fashionable items. Sneaker companies encourage this trend by producing rare sneakers in limited numbers, often at very high retail prices. Artistically-modified sneakers can sell for upwards of $1000 at exclusive establishments in the USA. These kicks have been popular in India but there's still a long way to go for the "sneaker culture" to come into the tier 1 cities across the country.