The initial Nike shoes were made in a waffle iron. The running field near the Oregon home of the runner and trainer Bill Bowerman was creating a transition from cinder to an artificial surface, and that he wanted a sole without spikes that would provide him, along with his trainees, needed traction because they ran on it. Three of the-dimensional lattice of the iron offered a solution, at least in terms of the cheap nike shoes china. As for the rest of the style, a minimum of in the beginning? It had been utilitarian: produced by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and so faster, on the feet.

That Nike is currently one of the greatest and most familiar brands in the world is largely the doing of Bowerman’s partner, the person who recently declared his retirement from the company: Phil Knight. Knight transformed Nike, not overnight but near to it, in to a global powerhouse, known both for its successes and its controversies. In the process, however, he did something different: He turned athletic footwear into fashion.

It’s because of Knight that, as an example, Kanye West features a signature shoe, the Yeezy Boost. Which, last January, Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel and Raf Simons of Dior sent signature sneakers down their runways. And this, last September, Alice Temperley styled her runway looks with sneakers. And that Mo’ne Davis, she of Little League World Series fame, has released a collection of fashion sneakers for girls ($75 a pair). Knight knew, in the beginning, what we should take for granted today: that even the most practical of footwear-including the shoes we wear for such dull reasons as performance and, worse, comfort-could also work as fashion. He wasn’t inside the shoe business, Knight insisted. He is at the entertainment business.

Sneakers started as luxury items. The first rubber-soled athletic shoes debuted within the U.S. inside the 1890s-products, since the treads were the purpose, in the U.S Rubber Company. Rubber, at that time, was expensive, and free time was rare; a combination meant that the innovative shoes were worn, typically, only by elites. The sneaker market grew, however, in the early twentieth century-particularly after World War I, whose effects had led to a national increased exposure of fitness and athleticism. Because the nation’s first gym rats came on the scene, shoe companies began cheap wholesale nike shoes free shipping to suit their requirements.

In reaction for that democratization came one of the earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, setting its version from the newly popular shoes apart from those of its competitors, one company recruited wemjjs basketball player-both to improve their shoe’s design then put his name on the final product. The business? The Converse Rubber Shoe Company. The athlete? Chuck Taylor.

It wasn’t until Nike emerged, however, underneath the marketing leadership of Knight, that sneakers and fashion became nearly inextricably connected. The Nike Cortez, released in 1972, took benefit of twin cultural trends-conspicuous consumption along with a renewed obsession with fitness (running, particularly)-to market the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was introduced at the height from the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured the athletes on the Olympic field were clad in the shoes. As well as the shoe’s design, too, had moved far from athleticism alone. Available in a variety of colors, and featuring, the very first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, these shoes were meant, CNN notes, “for those that wished to face out on the dance floor track along with the running track.”

Seeing the possibility, other designers joined the party. In 1984, Gucci released its iconic Gucci Tennis shoes. In 1985, betting on the rookie athlete named Michael Jordan, Nike itself released its Air Jordans. (As worn on-court, CNN notes, these shoes were initially banned from the NBA commissioner David Stern, on the grounds they violated his stipulation that court shoes be majority-white. Jordan wore them anyway. Nike happily paid the fines.) And then in 1986, Run-DMC released “My Adidas”-not the initial musical ode to footwear, but a telling one. The song marked on the one hand the birth in the intimate artistic and commercial relationship between hip-hop and sneakers; in addition, it signaled that the shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.

Today, due to all of this, athletic shoe releases are met with the exact same sort of fervent enthusiasm that fashion shows are, and not just in sneakerhead culture. Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 collection sold out on Saturday in fifteen minutes; in short order, a pair of the footwear appeared on eBay having an selling price of $ten thousand. Because of the creative marketing Nike and Phil Knight pioneered, cheap nike shoes free shipping are now popular, and collected, and mentioned, and infused with artistry. Which is to express: They may be fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I could buy a set of LeBrons, it means I’ve got $175-and you don’t.”