Before I wore my new pair of adidas Superstars, I wanted to find out why this style flies off store shelves. What gives sneakers the longevity to stay “cool” for decades? After some research, I found out that basketball style was actually responsible for disseminating sneakers in the 1970s; they were seen on the court before reaching consumers. Men started wearing them first as a way to incorporate different styles and colors into their wardrobe while women caught on a bit later. Unlike traditional gendered articles of dress, sneakers are “fashion for all” items for both utilitarian and aesthetic reasons.
Sneakers soon became a vital role in the emergence of the Hip-Hop scene, particularly in New York City. Run-D.M.C, one of the most influential hip-hop acts of all time, popularized the “adidas look” which consisted of a tracksuit and original Superstar sneakers. They even released a hit single in their third album titled “My Adidas.” The lyrics in this song are fantastic- one of my favorite lines is, “my adidas and me, close as can be we make a mean team, my adidas and me.” Adidas became just as synonymous with hip-hop as Run-D.M.C. The brand revolutionized the relationship between performer and consumer paving the way for all future endorsement deals in the music industry. This made it possible for consumers today to anxiously await sneaker release dates keeping in mind that only a few lucky ones are guaranteed a purchase, as designers like Pharrell and Kanye reap the benefits.
Speaking of Pharell, I was not one of the lucky consumers to buy his Supercolor collaboration in time, but here I am online just as happy to be wearing another monochromatic collection called the Superstar 80s “City Series” in the Berlin grey suede colorway featuring gold detailing of the Berliner Fernsehturm (architectural symbol of Berlin). I was able to find a pair in my size because adidas strategically makes unisex sneakers. However, women are still not fully integrated into the sneaker culture; many brands do not carry enough styles and colorways in women’s sizes leaving little room to fully participate in this everlasting trend.
So, what happens to the females that also adore to collect sneakers? Ladies, we need to continue vocalizing what we want, otherwise as Megan Ann Wilson from Complex magazine says, we just end up “a woman in a man’s sneaker world” (check back in a few weeks for another post about this topic). As a generation, I have noticed that we passionately continue to keep this sneaker culture alive and now more than ever are using social media to document it’s “coolness”. What was once the responsibility of basketball players is now in the hands of just about every fashion account run by a self-identified “sneakerhead” sharing his or her new favorite kicks with all of the other #solecollectors.
Still not sneaker satisfied? To get a more comprehensive look into the history of this “cool” culture, visit Brooklyn Museum’s The Rise of the Sneaker Culture exhibition running through October 4th.
Credits: Styling by Ana Prodanovich