The Sports Shoe: A History from Field to Fashion
Bloomsbury Visual Arts
Both my wallet and my better half praise the fact that my sneaker collecting days are over, with only a few remnants remaining that I am unlikely to ever part with. Not that I ever camped out in front of a Footlocker to cop the umpteenth incarnation of Nike’s BRED or indulged in similar antics, but I was into the game enough to realize how much of a time intensive lifestyle it can become.
Apart from sports shoes having become an accepted and integral part of the fashion world, functional sports shoes have always been of significance to me growing up, no matter if it was soccer or running shoes, some of which I remember fondly as they were inextricably tied to emotionally charged events.
With the author Thomas Turner being a historian, this tome carefully examines the history of the sports shoe and its evolution over the last hundred years with a fantastic eye for the detail that lends perspective on the rise of once strictly utilitarian footwear and the transformation to the mainstream and something that portrays attitude and carries a whole world of dedicated subcultures.
Apart from the forensically researched history, the book is opulently illustrated with eye candy galore and insights that reveal why both certain stylistic abominations as well as enhancements have been implemented and sold over the years.
The fact that the book pursues a holistic approach and goes beyond the realm of what collectors and athletes would look for in terms of looks, form and function; i.e. shedding light on societal contexts and interactions and thereby expanding its significance, makes it a both educational and entertaining addition for the bookshelf of anyone not only interested in fashion but anyone who has enjoyed a sports shoe in one form or another.