Sneakers: The Primer before the Polish

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1. A Brief History of Sneaker Brands

Check out the link for a gallery of thirteen great pictures.  Here’s a cheat sheet:

  • 1916 – U.S. Rubber, Keds, original sneaker
  • 1917 – Converse Rubber Shoe Company, All Star, high-top basketball shoes
  • 1920 – ‘Adi’ Dassler, shoemaker for Jesse Owens (1936); founds Adidas (1948)
  • 1937 – PF Flyers (for Posture Foundation), distributes weight evenly
  • 1958 – Reebok is founded
  • 1960 – New Balance, the Trackster, in multiple widths
  • 1970 (circa) – Nike co-founder creates treads with kitchen waffle iron
  • 1991 – Reebok, the Pump, custom cushioning
  • 2004 – Nike, the Free, original minimal shoe
  • 2005 – Vibram, the FiveFingers, sections for each toe
  • 2006 – Nike, the Air Max 360, foamless midsole
  • 2006 – Nike, the Air Zoom, ‘talks’ to Apple’s iPod nano
  • 2011 – Brooks, the PureProject, for a natural stride.

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/running/a-brief-history-of-sneakers/article4203243/

Article by Dave McGinn, The Globe and Mail, May 12, 2012.

 

 2.  He Says “Sneakers” and… She Says “Tennis Shoes”

Josh Katz, graphics editor at the New York Times and PhD student – http://www4.ncsu.edu/~jakatz2/ did an online questionnaire on specific word choices across the USA. This map shows the concentration of the use of “sneakers” as a vocabulary item.

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Source for map:

http://www.techinput.ru/en/main/messagepage/498/      

and more about this study:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/12/20/sunday-review/dialect-quiz-map.html?_r=1

 

This week’s blog will explore how sneakers have a wedge position in the sub-cultures of fashion and athletics.  Are we quietly trading our rubber soles, by another name?

 

 

 

“How to Bare Your Soles” – Advice from a Harvard Researcher

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If you want to make the switch to barefoot running, or simply to learn the technique but still run in a pair of shoes, here’s how to do it:

On your feet:

Nothing. “If you really want to learn good technique, don’t use any shoe, because you get all that feedback from your feet,” Harvard researcher Daniel Lieberman says.

Where:

“The best way to learn is to have somebody run barefoot on a smooth, hard surface. Not on a lawn, not on a beach,” Prof. Lieberman says. Try your street (if it’s paved) or a parking lot. “Because if it’s the beach or a lawn, it’s soft and you can do whatever you want. But if it’s pavement, you quickly learn good form, because you get the feedback.”

Key mechanics:

Stay straight at the hips. “Leaning is verboten,” he says. “And you should have a nice high cadence and land with short strides. Get up to 170, 180 steps a minute. Make sure you don’t over-stride.”

How much:

Whether you’re barefoot or in a minimal shoe, start by running no more than 1 km a week. From there, increase your distance by 10 per cent each week, says Prof. Ferber. “We really want people to reduce their mileage and build up very slowly,” he says.

Timeline:

Everyone is different, but give it time. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anybody who’s transitioned in less than three or four months,” Prof. Lieberman says.  (http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~skeleton/danlhome.html)

 

Quoting:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/running/what-the-barefoot-running-craze-has-done-to-the-shoe-industry/article4186746/

 Photo Source:  

http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dawn.com%2Fnews%2F679463%2Fscientists-kick-off-debate-over-barefoot-running&tbnid=pXvdCCDXezAilM:&docid=qs6oDex2-aYWEM&h=275&w=543

 

“Walk a Mile in HRH’s Shoes?”

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British journalist Nick Collins reported that Queen Elizabeth II has an assistant to wear in her shoes. The Queen must be able to walk without concerning herself with her feet.  It would never do for her to change her shoes half way through an official engagement, the Queen’s longtime dress designer, Stewart Parvin told Collins. (1)

Across the pond, Canadians quipped about this revelation in The Globe and Mail’s Letters to the Editor. In a letter entitled Sole Proprietor,  Frank Cain of Toronto wrote:

“You report the Queen has an assistant to wear in her new shoes to prevent chafing (Social Studies – May 24). Would that make the assistant a sole mate?” (2)

 

(1)   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/queen-elizabeth-II/9278018/Queen-employs-Royal-shoe-wearer-to-soften-up-new-leather.html

(2)    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/letters/may-26-letters-to-the-editor/article4209781/

Green Pedestrian Crossings in Shanghai

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Pedestrians walk into a crosswalk and plant green leaves with every footstep.  A campaign by DDB China Group uses street art to promote walking.  While there is no guarantee that awareness will shift in a country that now boasts 500 million cars; it is an advocacy movement taking one step at a time. 

“We decided to leverage a busy pedestrian crossing; a place where both pedestrians and drivers meet. We lay a giant canvas of 12.6 meters long by 7 meters wide on the ground, covering the pedestrian crossing with a large leafless tree. Placed on either side of the road beneath the traffic lights, were sponge cushions soaked in green environmentally friendly washable and quick dry paint. As pedestrians walked towards the crossing, they would step onto the green sponge and as they walked, the soles of their feet would make foot imprints onto the tree on the ground. Each green footprint added to the canvas like leaves growing on a bare tree, which made people feel that by walking they could create a greener environment.”

After an initial deployment on seven Shanghai streets, the award-winning Crossing was later expanded to 132 roads in 15 Chinese cities. DDB estimates that 3.9 million people participated. Predictably, it blew up across Chinese media channels, and was even featured in the Shanghai Zheng Da Art Museum.

 

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680511/amazing-interactive-street-art-turns-pedestrian-footsteps-into-the-leaves-of-trees