What you wearing? (Part 1)

(Part 1)


What you wearing? (Part 1)

At McBride Sport, we love all sport. We love its positive impact on individuals, societies, and cultures. But on the subject of culture, often overlooked is the impact of sportswear on everyday clothing and streetwear. It’s a pretty obvious statement, but you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone in a pair of trainers. But why and where did even the least sporty of us start wearing what is essentially an item of clothing originally designed for action. With this in mind, were taking a brief journey through the evolution of the sports training shoe or ‘trainers’.

The history of sports training shoes is a journey that spans centuries, marked by innovation, technology advancements, and the evolution of athletic footwear. Here’s a brief overview:


Ancient Origins:

The concept of specialised footwear for athletic activities can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In ancient Greece, athletes competing in the Olympics wore leather or cloth shoes with straps for added support during running, jumping, and throwing events. Similarly, ancient Romans wore sandals with straps and studs for traction during sporting events and military exercises.


19th Century:

The modern era of sports training shoes began to take shape in the 19th century with the industrial revolution. As sports became more organised and popularised, the need for specialised footwear grew. In the 1830s, the production of rubber-soled shoes started, providing better traction for athletes. However, these early models lacked the cushioning and support features we associate with modern sports shoes.


20th Century:

The 20th century saw significant advancements in sports training shoes, driven by technological innovations and the rise of professional sports. Key milestones include:

1917: Converse introduced the All-Star basketball shoe, which later became known as the Chuck Taylor All-Star, revolutionising basketball footwear.

1920s: German brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler founded Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory), which later split into Adidas and Puma, two of the world’s leading sports shoe brands.

1960s: Nike, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, was founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, introducing innovative designs and technologies like the waffle sole and Nike Air cushioning.

1970s: The jogging craze led to the development of running shoes with improved cushioning and support features. Brands like Nike, Adidas, and New Balance introduced iconic models like the Nike Cortez, Adidas SL72, and New Balance 320.

1980s: The aerobics and fitness boom influenced the design of sports training shoes, with brands incorporating lightweight materials and enhanced flexibility for aerobic activities.

1990s: The introduction of gel cushioning by Asics and the popularity of cross-training led to the development of versatile training shoes suitable for various activities.


21st Century:

The 21st century has seen a continued focus on innovation and technology in sports training shoes. Brands are constantly pushing boundaries with new materials, cushioning systems, and performance-enhancing features. Customisation options, such as Nike’s NikeID platform, allow consumers to personalise their shoes to fit their individual needs and preferences.


Sustainability and Performance:

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on sustainability in the sports footwear industry. Brands are exploring eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes to reduce their environmental impact. Additionally, advancements in biomechanics and sports science are influencing shoe design, with a focus on improving performance and reducing the risk of injuries.


The history of sports training shoes is a testament to the ongoing quest for innovation, performance, and style. From ancient sandals to cutting-edge athletic footwear, sports shoes have evolved to meet the needs of athletes and consumers around the world, shaping the way we approach sports and fitness… and at McBride Sport we love them.