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The very first Nike shoes were made in a waffle iron. The running field close to the Oregon home in the runner and trainer Bill Bowerman was making a transition from cinder for an artificial surface, and he wanted a sole without spikes that could supply him with, along with his trainees, needed traction since they ran onto it. Three of the-dimensional lattice of the iron offered a solution, a minimum of in terms of the wholesale nike shoes. As throughout the style, at the very least initially? It was utilitarian: created by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and therefore faster, on their own feet.

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

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

Sneakers started as luxury items. The initial rubber-soled athletic shoes debuted in the U.S. in the 1890s-products, as the treads were the idea, from the U.S Rubber Company. Rubber, at that time, was expensive, and free time was rare; the combination meant that the innovative shoes were worn, typically, only by elites. The sneaker market grew, however, during the early 20th century-particularly after World War I, whose effects had triggered a national focus on fitness and athleticism. Because the nation’s first gym rats came on the scene, shoe companies began nike shoes wholesale to fit their needs.

Responding to that democratization came among the earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, to set its version of the newly popular shoes apart from the ones from its competitors, one company recruited wemjjs basketball player-both to improve their shoe’s design and 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, beneath the marketing leadership of Knight, that sneakers and fashion became nearly inextricably connected. The Nike Cortez, released in 1972, took advantage of twin cultural trends-conspicuous consumption as well as a renewed obsession with fitness (running, in particular)-to market the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was launched in the height of the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured that the athletes on the Olympic field were clad within the shoes. And the shoe’s design, too, had moved from athleticism alone. Available in a variety of colors, and featuring, the first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, these shoes were meant, CNN notes, “for those that wished to stand out on the dance floor track along with the running track.”

Seeing the potential, 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, the footwear were initially banned from the NBA commissioner David Stern, on the grounds that they violated his stipulation that court shoes be majority-white. Jordan wore them anyway. Nike happily paid the fines.) As well as in 1986, Run-DMC released “My Adidas”-not the very first musical ode to footwear, but a telling one. The song marked on the one hand the birth of the intimate artistic and commercial relationship between hip-hop and sneakers; it also signaled that this shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.

Today, due to this, athletic shoe releases are met with similar type 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 set of these shoes appeared on eBay having an price tag of $10,000. Due to the creative marketing Nike and Phil Knight pioneered, wholesale nike shoes are desired, and collected, and discussed, and infused with artistry. That is also to say: These are fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I can buy a pair of LeBrons, it means I’ve got $175-and you also don’t.”

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