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The 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 building a transition from cinder for an artificial surface, and that he wanted a sole without spikes that would give him, and his awesome trainees, needed traction as they ran into it. The three-dimensional lattice of the iron offered a solution, at the very least as far as the cheap nike shoes china. As for the rest of the design, a minimum of at first? It absolutely was utilitarian: made by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and so faster, on their own feet.

That Nike is currently one of the biggest and most well known brands on earth 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 near to it, in to a global powerhouse, known for both its achievements and its controversies. In the process, however, he did something else: He turned athletic footwear into fashion.

It’s due to Knight that, for example, Kanye West includes 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. And that, last September, Alice Temperley styled her runway looks with sneakers. And that Mo’ne Davis, she of Little League World Series fame, has released a line of fashion sneakers for females ($75 a set). Knight knew, early on, what we should ignore today: that even most practical of footwear-even shoes we wear for such dull reasons as performance and, worse, comfort-could also serve as fashion. He wasn’t within the shoe business, Knight insisted. He is at the entertainment business.

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

Responding for that democratization came one of the earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, setting its version from the newly popular shoes besides those of its competitors, one company recruited wemjjs basketball player-both to improve their shoe’s design then put his name on the final product. The company? The Converse Rubber Shoe Company. The athlete? Chuck Taylor.

It wasn’t until Nike emerged, however, under the marketing leadership of Knight, that sneakers and fashion became nearly inextricably connected. The Nike Cortez, released in 1972, took benefit of twin cultural trends-conspicuous consumption along with a renewed obsession with fitness (running, particularly)-to promote the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was launched on the height of the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured that the athletes on the Olympic field were clad inside the shoes. And the shoe’s design, too, had moved away from athleticism alone. Available in a selection of colors, and featuring, the very first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, these shoes were meant, CNN notes, “for those who wished to face out on the dance floor track along with the running track.”

Seeing the possibility, other designers joined the party. In 1984, Gucci released its iconic Gucci Tennis shoes. In 1985, betting on a rookie athlete named Michael Jordan, Nike itself released its Air Jordans. (As worn on-court, CNN notes, the shoes 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.) And then in 1986, Run-DMC released “My Adidas”-not the initial 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 the shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.

Today, because of all of this, athletic shoe releases are met with the exact same sort of fervent enthusiasm that fashion shows are, and not just in sneakerhead culture. Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 collection sold out on Saturday in 15 minutes; to put it briefly order, a set of these shoes appeared on eBay with the price tag of $ten thousand. Because of the creative marketing Nike and Phil Knight pioneered, cheap nike shoes from china free shipping are desired, and collected, and discussed, and infused with artistry. Which is to state: They may be fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I can buy a pair of LeBrons, this means I’ve got $175-and you don’t.”