The story of the trainer begins with American scientist Charles Goodyear when he invented vulcanised rubber in 1839. Initially, not only the sole but the entire plimsoll (as it was then known) was made of rubber. In 1892, the U.S. Rubber Company started to produce the first canvas-topped, rubber soled shoe, more closely resembling the trainer we recognise today.
Given the nickname sneaker due to the quiet nature of the shoe allowing the wearer to 'sneak up' on someone, the shoe began to be mass produced in 1917, with other companies swiftly producing their own versions.
We've put together an edit of the most popular styles - lace up runners, easy velcro and the coolest style that everyone wants - high tops - inspired by the iconic basketball shoe.
By the mid-1920s, businesses were designing trainers internationally for athletes and specific sporting activities, most notably basketball, tennis and track. The trainer’s first step from sports to sidewalk came in the 1950s when film stars such as James Dean, Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe began wearing them with jeans, bringing the trainer to a wider market. Even with the celebrity endorsement, it wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that they really took over the mainstream. Trainers have featured heavily in the music scene - all the way from punk to hip-hop, with varying styles becoming iconic symbols of different genres.
Today the humble trainer has evolved to become the most inclusive shoe style, favoured by all ages and walks of life. Due to its versatility, there is a style for everyone - something for those looking for an athletic shoe, an option for those seeking comfortable footwear, and those who want a unique statement accessory designed by a high fashion label.
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