Sneakers – what would we do without them? Summer or winter, day or night, sports shoes have gone from being fitness footwear reserved for athletes to all-around style staples – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
For the ultimate wear-with-anything potential, a pair of pristine white sneakers is a must-have in every wardrobe, but not just any old lace-ups will do. For athleisure aficionados, only certain heritage styles will suffice, the kind that have remained as in-demand now, as when they first hit the scene decades ago.
Here are five classic pairs that have stood the test of time.
Adidas Stan Smiths
In the 1960s, when Adidas was looking for a new player to endorse its first tennis shoe following the retirement of Robert Haillet, the company drafted in Stan Smith. The American’s eponymous trainers went on to become a fashion phenomenon, selling a record-breaking 23 million pairs by 1994, and the minimalist design with the three perforated stripes (an alternative to the classic Adidas logo) is still a best-seller today.
Converse All Stars
You know an item of clothing has reached cult status when it’s got multiple nicknames. ‘All Stars’, ‘Chuck Taylors’, ‘Chucks’, or even just ‘Cons’ – call them what you will, but there’s no denying the success of these high-tops, invented back in the 1920s when US basketball player Chuck Taylor asked shoemaker Converse to create a shoe with more flexibility and support. After a resurgence in the 1980s, All Stars (both low and high-top) have been embraced by everyone, from rappers and rock stars to off-duty models.
Initially designed as a running shoe, the aptly-named Reebok Classic proved just as popular with non-runners when it was introduced in 1983, thanks to its sleek leather upper and thick sole (touted as feeling ‘like you’re walking on clouds’). Released as the Eighties workout boom was starting to take off, fitness fanatics loved the versatility of the Classic.
Nike Classic Cortez
Another running shoe that was subsequently adopted by the masses, Nike Cortez was the brainchild of Olympic track coach Bill Bowerman. Launched in 1972, it was designed to offer comfort for long-distance and cross-country runners. The Cortez has certainly gone the distance fashion-wise, remaining a true fashion girl’s favorite.
Diadora B Elites
First designed exclusively for tennis star Bjorn Borg in 1978, the Diadora ‘B Elite’ sneakers went on general sale in the early Eighties and were a huge hit. Originally created with kangaroo leather, it has since been reinvented in a sleek modern style, made with leather and synthetic fabrics.
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