It has not always been possible to buy sneakers. In fact, in the early years, they served one essential purpose. They were for sports. This remained the sole reason for their existence until mid way through the 20th century. They were sports or athletic shoes. No one who was anyone wore them for any other reason. This was to change slightly in the 1930s as people began to wear them more. Yet, it was not until the 1950s that sneakers shook their mainly sporty image. At the route of the transformation was Hollywood.
Hollywood and Sneakers
It was in the 1950s that someone took what is now an iconic photograph of a young adult. His name was James Dean and he was wearing tight blue jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. James Dean wore them in the movie Rebel Without A Cause as common street wear. Suddenly sneakers were cool.
With James Dean, sneakers symbolized youth and its rebellion against the establishment. The result – teens went out to Buy Sneakers. It became a fundamental part of their daily outfit. This was not only true for the United States but for teenagers all around the globe. Girls, including cheerleaders took to wearing short puppy skirts, tight sweaters and ankle (Bobby) socks. On their feet they wore Keds – the high topped canvas sneakers of the period.
In the 1960s, hippies and sneakers were a matched pair. The young continued to buy sneakers to match their rebellious attire. Fred McMurray and Hollywood created a flying running shoe with excess spring made from flubber. The movie the Absent-Minded Professor was viewed by Americans and people all over the world. On the screen – both big and small, actors wore running shoes for more than athletic events or activities.
In the 1980s, many viewers saw Sean Penn in skate-board sneakers. The movie was Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This increased the demand for the shoes and intensified the love affair between sneakers and celebrities.
Sneakers and the Cult of Celebrity
From the 1980s, sneakers became part of the cult of celebrity. Athletes such as Michael Jordan began to be the face of brand name sneakers. When it comes time to buy sneakers today, it is a matter of association. Celebrities of all types are wearing sneakers. Musicians, actors, TV personalities and athletes are photographed wearing their sneakers in public as well as in the public eye.
Special sneakers online sites record the appearance of Drake, LeBron James, RiffRaff, Nate Robinson, Hulk Hogan, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Kate Moss and Gwen Stephani in the sneakers of their choice. It is further evidence that when you buy sneakers, you are continuing to support the ongoing evolution of what once was only an athletic shoe.