Whaaaaat?! That’s what the holes on top were meant for?
– my reaction as I watch the Illumiseen Youtube video. Still learning things about what we think of as “everyday sneakers”.
While sneakers (er, rubber-soled shoes) were first created in the late 1700s, they have gone through incredible transformations in aesthetics, function, and material. For instance, the first sneakers did not differentiate from left and right, much less have any kind of standard lacing. Nearly a century later, the first canvas-topped shoes were created for increased comfort, and Keds as we know them today were officially born. Many iterations of canvas-topped, rubber-soled shoes were created at this time, although it actually wasn’t until the early 20th century that “sneakers”, named for one’s ability to quietly sneak up on someone, were mass produced. Sneakers came to include Converses, which were originally created for basketball – and are still the all-time best-selling basketball shoes.
“Sneakers” as we know them today made their first international presence when Adi Dassler created his eponymous company, Adidas. (Shortly afterwards, Adi’s brother Rudi created rival company Puma.) Adidas became one of the most popular athletic shoe companies, although in the early 1900s, sneakers were still worn only for athletic purposes. Around the 1950s was when people, mostly kids, began wearing athletic shoes for fashion statements. Increased demand for variety in color and design of sneakers led the major companies (including but not limited to Nike, Adidas, and Reebok) to compete on their innovative additions to athletic shoes. Companies began producing differentiated sneakers for each and every sport, and adding new features (such as air-pumped soles) to beat out the competition.
One feature that has been rather neglected (by most!) despite its persistence in many shoe designs, is the presence of the “extra” shoelace holes at the top of sneakers. Apparently, if tied correctly, can prevent blisters and protect your ankles!