Old Pair of Sneakers

Old Pair of Sneakers

Everyone has that one pair of shoes they don’t want to throw out. Something about them, the feel, the look, or a story that has meaning behind it. What ever the reasoning, there is a history to them that makes it so we don’t want to throw them away. It’s like a trade mark of the past, and knowing the history is what makes them important.

After watching the movie Without Limits I was curious on the history of the shoe company Nike. After Researching where this brand came from, I wanted to look up the history of Adidas, Puma and Reebok. Realizing I knew nothing about any of these companies other than liking their shoes, I thought I would share what I learned.

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The History of Nike

We’ll start with the history of Nike. The 3 main people that started the Nike Empire I would consider to be Bill Bowerman, Phil Knight and Steve Prefontaine (You see why Without Limits inspired me to look into this?) I believe most people know the story of Steve Prefontaine but few seem to know he was the one who inspired Bowerman and Knight to create better running shoes. Bowerman was a coach at the University of Oregon and during his time there he decided his team needed better-performing equipment. He’s known for using the families waffle maker to create a new sole for the shoes.

As most people know, Nike is the Greek goddess of victory. In 1971 a graphic design student at Portland State University, Carolyn Davidson started working with Knight for some new design ideas. Needing new ideas by the following year for his company Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), Knights had Davidson create the Nike “Swoosh”. It was to symbolize the wing of the Greek Goddess.  In 1995 it the Nike Swoosh was officially recognized as the Nike trademark.

Prefontaine influenced Bowerman to make a better running shoe. Bowerman influenced Knight for a new marketing strategy. Knight met Davidson who created the Nike Swoosh.  And the rest is history.[divider]

Adidas and Puma

Now with Adidas and Puma, its hard to tell the history of one with out the other. It starts out with two brothers Adi and Rudolf Dassler who created a shoe company; Dassler in the early 1900’s. They started out of their mother’s laundry room. During the 1925 Olympics Adi convinced Jesse Owens to wear Dressler shoes, resulting in 4 Gold Medals.

Dring World War II, In the Mid 1900’s Rudolf left the Dassler’s shoe company due to differences in opinion about the war. He then created Puma. This split made it so the local soccer teams had to choose one or the other.

After the split of the two brothers, Adi created the 3-strip logo and renamed his company “Adidas”. Originally the 3 strips were created for balance, but soon became the well-known logo.

Now if you know Adidas Originals collection you’ll know they have a different logo. Still inspired by the 3 stripes the Trefoil symbol is also the corporate symbol as of 1972.  And then in 1990 the last symbol was introduced, still using the 3 stripes and looks like a slope. This represents the climb of a mountain: an upward challenge and pushing towards goals.[divider]

Since this site is about Hip-Hop when talking about Adidas I feel like I have to mention RUN-DMC and their hit song “MY ADIDAS”. Run-DMC was known for wearing Adidas, and soon became an icon (just like Jordan, for Nike) and now they have their own Adidas line.

After the split, Rudolf created Puma, he chose the Logo because it symbolized Authority and Confidence.  Upon creating the new company he immediately released “The Atom”. This created the town soccer teams to choose between the two. In 1954 Hanover won the German premiere league, wearing Puma. Puma still growing, they expanded to the United States. In 1986 at the world cup the famous “hand of god” goal, scored by Diego Armando Maradona, who was wearing Puma shoes.

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Now that you know some of the History behind the shoes we wear, tell me which one of the 3 is your favorite to bboy in? Comment and let me know what you think of the post as well. I enjoyed doing the research on this one, so I really hope you enjoyed reading it.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Monkee

    Puma are my poison right now, nor specifically the swede series.

  • Dylan

    Very interesting article, thank you Josie. I particularly enjoyed the fact about Jesse Owens.

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  • [...] in Hip Hop fashion during the early 1980s was wearing sportswear, Kangol, Pro-Keds and especially Adidas. Shoes have always been an important part of Bboy & Hip Hop fashion, so much in fact I will be [...]

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