Since the uprising of athleisure, sneakers are gaining ground in and outside of the fashionscene. And according to a recent study, sneaker sales have increased while the sale of high heels tumbled – especially in the category 3inch and up. With even brands like Chanel embracing this trend it’s clear that fashion has given the sneaker its stamp of approval. Women are increasingly choosing comfort and with so many high end and fashionable alternatives on the market, who can blame them? At The Restory atelier, we see more and more sneakers passing by each day, so what makes sneakers so unique and why are we so obsessed with them?
There are many sneaker anecdotes, from Converse sponsoring basketball player Chuck Taylor during a game and solidifying the All-Star as the best selling shoe of all time to the tale of two brothers who went head to head on their quest to rule the sneaker world, namely Adidas and Puma. Adidas tennis shoes are arguably one of the most iconic shoes in the sneaker game and you can find all there is to know on how to keep your Stan Smiths clean on our case study here. And did you know that Bill Bowerman from Nike used his wife’s waffle iron to create the ‘Waffle Tread’ sole of the first ever shoe designed by Nike? Talk about getting creative.
The discovery of vulcanized rubber by Charles Goodyear in 1880’s paved the way for the first ever rubber-soled shoe, called the Plimsoll. Due to this invention, the first ever mass-produced sneakers called Keds were introduced to the market in 1917. The name ‘sneakers’ was actually derived from the fact that the now silent soles made it possible to sneak up on someone.. It was not until 1950’s that people started to wear sneakers as fashion statements. By 1984 the sales of sneakers skyrocketed when Michael Jordan signed with Nike and launched his Air Jordans, which brought new techniques and innovations to how sneakers were made.
The two major steps in making a sneaker are design and production, with sometimes 18-month lead times to develop a new model. The design process consists out of making a pattern from the sketches and then creating specs and usually multiple samples, with a new prototype each time an alteration is made. Then in production, the material is prepared, the rubber gets pressed and the sneaker goes into the stitching and assembly phase before it’s shipped to its final destination. The current model of manufacturing a sneaker is quite labour intensive. And due to its many components as well as the brand specific characteristics the sneaker can only be created at a certain assembly factory employed by the brand. This is also the reason why, depending on the style, once the rubber soles of the sneaker wears down it’s usually very hard to replace.
The Restory offers special cleaning services to keep your sneakers in tip top condition or even a bit of colour touch up for those very well loved pieces you just can’t stop wearing. And luckily for all you sneakerheads, we now offer a drop off service at the Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge store to refresh this season’s Balenciaga’s or drop your oldie but goodie while shopping for a new favourite. What better excuse do you need?