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?

 

 

 

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Feeling Concrete (or Snow) Under His Toes

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Journalist Thane Burnett went barefoot to feel the true grit of Toronto’s streets. He was a neophyte to the unshod lifestyle; his 10 little ‘piggies’ were always wrapped up tight while going to market — or anywhere else. For this one-day experiment on the pavement, he walked with Barefoot Moe, an expert on the ropes (and over the cracks).

Their conversation and the bare bottom walkabout did not convert the journalist.  He certainly did his research, presenting facts and anecdotes on the increasing popularity of going barefoot. However, as he walked he glanced enviously at the shoes on a homeless man and at the tiny ones on a baby. The article gives clear voice to Barefoot Moe’s enthusiasm. But, once the journalist was alone, he frantically washed his feet in an office washroom sink and quickly donned his black-leather shoes.  Once a shoddie, always a shoddie? 

No flip flopping in this story.

 

Adapted from:  http://www.theobserver.ca/2009/08/25/barefooters-take-to-the-road

Photo Source of Barefoot Moe:  https://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=barefoot+Moe+images&gbv=2&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ei=cyxDU9noD4a9yAGHsoGwBw&ved=0CBsQsAQ