Rubber Revolution – How Sneaker Style has completed a Full Circle
Rising like a Phoenix, the sneaker is one such footwear that has managed to borrow from the past and beautifully transform into something that can entrap modern fashionistas.
Once considered an ungentlemanly shoe, the sneaker has seamlessly persuaded every fashion-forward male. Burning the bridge between dress and athletic shoes, sneakers have experienced a fashion baptism of sorts. Upgrading from the humble gym scenario, this robust shoe is making its timid appearance on the red carpet, surprisingly paired with the ever daunting Tuxedo. Having outgrown its days of nonchalance, the sneaker has now become a staple on runways and workplaces alike.
The acceptability of casual footwear is breaking every pre-determined outlook of formal fashion. With its largest fan-base stationed in hip-hop culture, sneakers were worshipped much like some secular religion. Abandoning the scruffy, worn-in athletic shoe is its modern interpretation by various designers and big brand labels.
So, in order to understand the fascination with the versatile pair of shoes, let us trace down the rubber revolution.
New Beginnings in the 1900’s
These rubber-soled, performance enhancing, athletic shoes date back to the rebellious teenagers of the 19th century. Primarily worn by muggers, burglars and others alike, these shoes fit as the perfect gateway for the notorious youth.
However, these nimble shoes took their first fashionable stride when they moved from the leisure sport of tennis to a more egalitarian game of basketball. The rubber and canvas, high-top shoe was produced by the Converse company, now a leading manufacturer of classic sneakers. Popularised by Chuck Taylor, it proved to be more than just a sports shoe.
From Sporty to Suave
After his endorsement, youngsters and working men alike looked at the sneaker from a perspective of causal comfort. However, it was the suave stature of James Dean, with his sultry perfection that brought the sneaker into the fashion empire. The star of Rebel without a Cause laid the foundation for the classic “rolled up jeans with sneakers” look.
A Cultural Movement
Moving on from forward fashion, let’s take a look at the hip-hop revolution. Taking inspiration from the celebrity endorsement success of Chuck Taylor’s All Star line, another timeless classic in the sneakerdom were the Air Jordans in 1984. Iconized by the celebrity basketball player, this rookie-shouting guard embodied the rebellious character of the shoe to perfection. Its white and red colourway was against the rules of NBA at that time, for which the sportsman was fined every single time. This controversy sensationalised the shoe cementing the sneakerhead culture.
Transformation in the 21th Century
Fashion’s ability to keep a classic style trending forever has never enjoyed more popularity than in the world of the sneakers.
In the 21st century, the shoe is in its phase of revival, adapting and adjusting its classic structures into modern interpretations. Embracing its very own swing style, India emulates fashion inspiration from the East and the West, channelling the classic retro style that screams casual comfort along with a more structured pop influence. One such celebrity who has managed to embody this amalgamation is Siddharth Malhotra. He bridges the gap between dressy and sporty in a seamless way.