Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gold Sneakers

Sneaker nation tends to have a love-hate relationship with gold kicks. Some can't get enough of them, and some wish the flashy trend would fade into obscurity like Jeffrey Atkins. But in a market where the trends are so finicky, kicks in Au colorways always seem to pop up regardless of what’s hot at the moment.

If you think the first time someone cool rocked gold kicks was Jay-Z in the “Umbrella” video, you're dead wrong. Back in 1996, Michael Johnson owned the Olympic games in his gold-dipped track spikes. And in 2009, the style still seems to be going strong'last week Puma released a 24k collabo sneaker with UNDFTD.

We’re not sure how long the gold rush will last for, so take a look back at all the gold sneakers that have caught our eye over the years…


Year Of Release: 2004
• The Luckies dropped at the pinnacle of Nike SB-dom, and if you got them, it was probably because you were weed-carrying for your local skate shop owner. It was worth the mental scars of getting made fun of by the real skateboarders, since they're now going for $700 right now.


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ADIDAS History


old adidas placard

The foundation

18 August
- adidas is registered as a company, named after its founder: 'Adi' from Adolf and 'Das' from Dassler.


Adolf Dassler

The 'Miracle of Bern'

- The 'Miracle of Bern' Germany battle Hungary with a competitive advantage. They are wearing adidas soccer boots which for the first time feature removable studs.


high jumper Dick Fosbury

Driven by a desire to help all athletes committed to performance, adidas manufactures equipment for what some consider "fringe sports". Unconventional high jumper Dick Fosbury launches himself up and over in adidas footwear.


Franz Beckenbauer raising the World Cup

The "adidas" team wins

Crowning moment: Franz Beckenbauer, the "Kaiser", raising the World Cup in victory salute. Germany had just beaten Holland 2-1 in the 1974 final.


old adidas poster

The transition

After Adi Dassler's death, Adi's wife Käthe, his son Horst, and his daughters carry on the business.


Robert Louis-Dreyfus

With a new management

Under the CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus, adidas is moving from being a manufacturing and sales based company to a marketing company.


adidas logo

adidas goes public

Flotation of the company on the Frankfurt and Paris Stock Exchange.


adidas athelete at the Olympic Games in Atlanta

A splendid year

The "three-stripes company" equips 6,000 Olympic athletes from 33 countries. adidas athletes win 220 medals, including 70 gold. Apparel sales increase 50%.



adidas-Salomon AG

adidas AG acquires the Salomon Group with the brands Salomon, TaylorMade, Mavic and Bonfire in December 1997. The new company is named adidas-Salomon AG.


in-line skaters

The new brands

The integration of the new brands is gaining momentum. The new Taylor Made FireSole clubs boost sales. Salomon in-line skates take off with high double-digit growth during the first half of 1999.


swimmer Ian Thorpe takes three gold medals at the Olympic Games in Sydney

New management

Following personnel changes, the new management initiates an ambitious Growth and Efficiency Program. Major sports events such as the European Soccer Championship EURO 2000™ and the Olympic Summer Games, where swimmer Ian Thorpe takes three gold medals, contribute to the company’s success.


Pole vaulter Elena Isinbayeva becomes the first female to clear 5 metres.

Sale of Salomon

The Salomon Group (including Salomon, Mavic, Bonfire, Cliché and Arc’Teryx) is being sold to Amer Sports in October 2005. The new adidas Group is focusing even more on its core strength in the athletic footwear and apparel market as well as the growing golf category. The legal name of the company will change to “adidas AG” in May/June 2006.


adidas-Salomon AG acquires Reebok

The closing of the Reebok transaction on January 31, 2006 marks a new chapter in the history of the adidas Group. By combining two of the most respected and well-known brands in the worldwide sporting goods industry, the new Group will benefit from a more competitive worldwide platform, well-defined and complementary brand identities, a wider range of products, and a stronger presence across teams, athletes, events and leagues.

By : Ray -

Converse history

Along with apple pie, Converse and its shoes are as much a part of America as Coca-Cola. On the face of it, its hard to see why Converse misses the Big Players Chapter, but you need to remember that is is a global tale. This is not to say that Converse is not a vitally important company in sneaker history. Its most famous shoes can be seen all over the world, and the All Star (the biggest selling sneaker of all time) and the Jack Purcell were the first sneakers to pass into the leisure and fashion worlds.

The story of this grand old company begins back in 1908 in the State of Massachusetts. It was in this year that the New Hamsphire-born Marquis Mills Converse founded the Converse Rubber Shoe Company. Mr Converse was quick to latch onto the potential of the rapidly growing rubber shoe industry after having worked at the local Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe store. Wthin two years of establishment, Converse had 350 employees producing tough, rubber-sole, protective footwear under brand names including 'Tuff-e-nuff rubbers'. It was at about this time that the company made the fatal mistake of diversifying into other rubber markets, when it branched into making rubber tryes.

Contrary to popular legend, Converse was not the founding father of the sneaker/trainer industry, even though it was involved in its infancy. The Converse company was launched at a time when baskeetball was, alghough a minority interest, growing in popularity at an astonishing rate. Basketball players were beginning to ultize rubber-soled leisure or deck shoes, and so Converse diversified away form its main interest in industrial shoes and began to produce shoes for this relatively new sport.

t was in 1917 that a vital decision was taken when Converse ssued a icut shoe designed specifially for basketball. This shoe was intended to mantain productivity in the plant when sales of industrial shoes traditionally fell in the summer. The result was the legendary Converse All Star basketball shoe, which is still sold in a familiar form today.

It was in 1971 that ex-basketball player 'Chuck' Taylor joined the company and began selling the new basketball shoes at classes he hell all over the country. Sales boomed, Taylor suggested some additions, such as cushioned heel soles and padding on the ankles, and his signature was added to the shoe - the Chuck Taylor was born. Sales rose again, and Converse as we knnow the company today became a reality.

However, in these early days Converse was more involved in the tyremarket, which proved less than successful. In 1928 the crippling losses of this division took the company into receivership and Marquis Converse left his 'baby'. In 1930, the Stone family became the new owners and stayed in control over the next 40 years, during time Converse survived and grew by buying many other 'rubber compaies, including tyre and footwear firms such as B.F. Goodrich.

By the 1970s Converse had slipped, falling behind firms such as adidas, who were growing on the back of the running-shoe boom. Converse fought back with semi-successful celebrity endorsements by baasketball players like Julius 'Dr J.' Erving, but by the 1980sthere had been many plant closures and Converse had become a small part of larger conglomerate.

However, in 1983 there was a manement buy-out and Converse Inc. came into being. Converse has continued its fight back since that time, developing new shoes. But they will forever be associated with their giant twin classics - the All Star and the Jack Purcell.

In the early 2000s, the multi billion giant company NIKE took over the controlling stage of Converse Inc., and putting it as their subsidiary company..
By : Ray -

Monday, August 17, 2009

PRO-Keds History

In 1916 Keds, a footwear brand was founded by the U.S. Rubber Company. By 1924, the brand was so popular that many winning athletes were patrons of Keds shoes. Outside its famous rubber-soled canvas shoes, the company decided to branch out by creating Pro Keds in 1949. Pro Keds was created to manufacture “more serious” form footwear, specifically for basketball players.

The first Pro Keds footwear was tagged as the Classic Royal, also known as the “Royal Tread.” This basketball shoe is made of canvass, and was available in low and hi-tops. Royal is famous for its characteristic blue and red power stripe which flanks the toe.

In 1950, the Royal was donned by the Minneapolis Lakers, which was the first team to score the NBA Championship five times in a row. The team was headlined by basketball great George Mikan.
As time progressed, new designs were created for football, track and field, tennis, and baseball. To meet the demands of these athletes, Pro Keds developed exclusive cushioning technology and shock-absorbent support for their footwear.

By the 1970’s, Pro Keds’ Classic Royal was the industry leader in basketball footwear. In fact, many famous NBA players were known to wear Royal shoes during their athletic career heydays. Some of these athletes include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lou Hudsonsix, Jo White, Willis Reed, Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Pete “Pistol” Maravich, Bob Lanier, and Bob Love.

Pro Keds Classic Royal, High Cut.

By the end of the 70’s, Pro Keds represented the biggest names in basketball and many other sports. It also became the footwear of choice of the hip hop community in New York City because of its reputation as the “only sneaker with style”. By 1979, the Stride Ride Corporation acquired Keds and their sister brand, Pro Keds.

In 1981, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, a professional boxer, became the newest face of the brand. The brand remained the industry leader until the mid-1980’s when the faced a drop in popularity with the emergence of worthy competitors.

By the 1990’s, Pro Keds slowly rose from the ruins and sneaked its way to the international scene. In Japan, the Court King, a tennis shoe, was revitalized with the use of special materials, limited edition prints, and vivid toe cap hues. A lot of die-hard sneaker collectors went gaga over this limited edition Court King styles.

In 2005, after two decades of being dormant in America, the Stride Rite Corporation coordinated with distributor and manufacturer Tom Nastos and hip hop mogul Damon Dash, to re-launch and jumpstart the historic Pro Keds brand.

Since the revival of the footwear brand, the company has managed to launch innovative sneaker themes. Like the shoes they’ve manufactured before, Pro Keds continues to create shoes with unique and fresh designs. Perhaps their most innovative venture is their scented sneakers, which came in lifesaver, watermelon, and coconut scents. The fragrant footwear came in corresponding hues to match their scents. Pro Keds had also released retro shoes inspired by pioneering video games such as Centipede, Pac Man, Galaga, and Asteroids. Now, limited collection Pro Keds shoes have been the favorites of stylish contemporary artists and athletes.

Shoes for retro video game lovers: Pro Keds’ limited edition arcade series footwear.

Because of their unique designs, fans who grew up wearing Pro Keds, along with new patrons, continue to clamor for these stylish and comfortable sneakers.

One of Pro Keds many clientele include Andre 3000 of the Grammy-winning hip hop duo, Outkast. Other non-athlete Pro Keds fans include DJ Bobbito Garcia, DJ Afrika Bambaataa, and Crazy Legs of the Rock Steady Crew.

In 2007, Pro Keds sparked up another collaborative effort with Jeffrey NY to produce a limited edition footwear line. The label’s New York and Atlanta shops, Fred Segal’s LA, and 12 Nordstrom Stores carried the exquisite sneaker collection, which is mostly composed of deep suede footwear in warm hues.

Despite its hiatus during the 1980’s, the new and revitalized Pro Keds promises that it’s here to stay for good.

By : Ray -

NIKE History

Nike’s seeds were sown in Oregon, the USA, by Phil Knight, a middle-distance runner and accounting student at the University of Oregon, and his coach Bill Bowerman. Their friendship changed not only their relationship to sports, but also the technology of producing sports shoes and apparel, and the way in which sports brands promote themselves.

In 1962, having completed his studies, Knight went on a trip around the world. During his stay in Japan, he took up an ambition he had shared with Bill Bowerman - to start importing Japanese running shoes at affordable prices into the US. Knight contacted Onitsuka Tiger. When he was put on the spot and asked about his company, he bluffed his way through and said that he represented Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) - the first 200 pairs arrived in the US in December 1963. This was a turning point, and with Knight and Bowerman having invested around $500 each, the company rapidly gained a great reputation with college athletes. Before long, Bowerman was dreaming of ways to improve the design of Onitsuka shoes, and Knight was dreaming of how much more profitable it would be to produce and sell their own shoes.

In 1971, a company employee, Jeff Johnson, thought up the name Nike (apparently while he slept), after the Greek goddess of victory. Caroline Davidson, who met Knight when she was a student attending the same university, was asked to design a logo. She came up with the now world-renowned swoosh - the Nike name and brand were born.
In 1972, following a split from Onitsuka Tiger, the Moon Shoe debuted at the US Olympic Trials. A year later, the middle-distance runner Steve Prefontaine became the first major athlete to wear Nike shoes. In 1974, Bowerman dreamt of a new innovation for the outsole, made by pouring rubber into a waffle iron to create a waffle outsole (go to the Waffle Trainer on page 100 to see how that simple experiment spawned one of the greatest sneaker designs). By 1978, Nike had started to sell its products internationally.

Kenyan marathon runner Henry Reno broke four world records wearing Nike shoes. Tennis ace John McEnroe started to wear Nike products,broadening the brand’s visual appeal in the tennis arena. In 1979, the Taiiwind shoe became the first running shoe to be launched with a patented air sole. In 1985, Michael Jordan signed with Nike as a rookie, and a whole new line of shoe apparel was created. The Air Jordan basketball shoe became one of the world’s most popular sneakers.
The Nike Air Max was brought out in 1987, along with Nike’s first multipurpose shoe, the Air Trainer . Both catapulted Nike ahead of the competition. The brand has continued to be a leader in sports design and innovation, and has been endorsed by many of the world’s most famous sports stars, including Andre Agassi, Ronaldo and Tiger Woods.
Nike’s strengths are threefold: an undoubted intuitive sense of what athletes want and need (something that goes all the way back to the track in Oregon), a commitment to technical innovation, and an attitude and outlook towards branding and marketing that has changed the way sports shoes and apparel are promoted forever.

By : Ray -

PUMA History

Puma is one of the best-known sports brands in the world, and the company’s history is as exciting and varied as its range of shoes. The brand’s roots are shared with adidas and go back to 1924 when a new footwear company called Gebnuder-Dassler Schuhfabrik was founded in Herzogenaurach, Germany. It wasn’t until 1948 that the Puma name was first used with the formation of Puma Schuhfabrik Rudol Dassler- now known simply as Puma.

Rudolf Dassler started the brand after a bitter feud with his brother Adolph, who went on to produce adidas. The Puma Atom - the brand’s first soccer shoe - was launched in that same year. It was not long before celebrated sportsmen wore the brand at key events. For example, in 1952. runner Josef Barthel of Luxembourg brought Puma its first Olympic Gold when he won the 1500 m in Helsinki. The ‘formstripe’, Introduced in 1956, has been the trademark of the brand ever since. Far from being a mere aesthetic addition, the strip gives extra strength.atld stabLfity to the upper section of each shoe.
The 1960s brought Puma its fair share of drama - particularly 1968, which was an important year for the brand, with the introduction of the modern cat logo, and the Olympic Games in Mexico. An incident involving 200 m champion Tommie Smith, who won in Puma spikes, made the 1968 Games notorious. As he took the stand to receive the gold medal, barefoot with his Pumas beside him, Smith and teammate John Carlos made the black power salute in protest of the inequality still endured by African-Americans at that time. He left his sneakers on the rostrum for all to see, and the Olympic Committee expelled both protesters from the Olympic Village.

Other sporting legends to have been associated with the brand include tennis superstar Boris Becket, who put his name to one of the best- known signature shoes (page 183), and soccer star Diego Maradona. However, Puma’s heritage is also interwoven with the b-boy culture and music, and with the arrival of hip-hop and punk the Puma formstripe became an increasingly frequent and prominent sight on the street. Puma was also popular among skateboarders. In fact, skaters were wearing Suedes and Baskets in the early 1990s, long before Puma even started to develop a shoe for skating.

Puma has always strived to stay at the forefront of technology, and the twentieth century witnessed the development of a number of innovative Puma inventions, including the Disc system in 1991 (a laceless mechanism for adjusting a shoe’s fit) and CELL (said to be the first foam-free midsole) in 1996. The Disc has since been integrated in a number of different models. Yet, for all the technological inroads made by Puma over the years, it is the classics that remain the favourites among sneaker enthusiasts the world over.

By : Ray -