THE EVOLUTION OF A CLASSIC
A RETROSPECTIVE ONLINE EXHIBITION
1 – HISTORY
2 – ANATOMY
3 – EVOLUTION
Prototypes dates back as far as the 18th century – crudely designed “plimsoll” shoes with flat, rubber soles. The industrial revolution is in full swing, and in 1844 Charles Goodyear files a patient for vulcanization – the process by which natural rubber is made into durable products like tires. Half a century later, the Goodyear Company begins to market a tennis shoe made from vulcanized rubber.
The first true archetype arrives in 1916. The United States Rubber Company announces Keds, the first mass-produced shoe marketed to the pubic as a “sneaker.” That same year, Marquis Converse produces the first-ever Basket ball shoe, His sneakers are endorsed by Indiana hoops star Chuck Taylor, and the “Chuck Taylor” All-Stars quickly become the best selling basketball shoes of all time.
Keds, Converse, Jack Purcell, Stan Smith… Each name is an icon, recalling silhouettes that have paved the way for modern footwear. But these brands are also a byproduct of the industrial revolution and a mentality of mass-production.