What you wearing? (Part 2)


What you wearing? (Part 2)

Following on from ‘What you wearing? Part 1, we wanted to have a quick look beyond the evolution of the training shoe, and instead focus its impact on and reflection of popular culture around the globe. The history of sports trainers as streetwear is a fascinating journey that merges athleticism with fashion and cultural influence.


Early Influences:

The roots of sports trainers as streetwear can be traced back to the mid-20th century. During this time, sports brands like Adidas, Puma, and Converse started producing footwear specifically designed for various athletic activities such as running, basketball, and tennis. These shoes were primarily functional but gradually gained popularity beyond the sports arena due to their comfort and style.


Rise of Sneaker Culture:

In the 1970s and 1980s, the emergence of hip-hop culture played a significant role in the transition of sports trainers into streetwear. Icons like Run-D.M.C. embraced Adidas Superstar sneakers, turning them into a fashion statement. This era saw the birth of sneaker culture, where sneakers became more than just footwear; they became symbols of status, identity, and self-expression.


Celebrity Endorsements:

The 1980s and 1990s witnessed a surge in celebrity endorsements of sports trainers. Athletes like Michael Jordan with his Air Jordan line and tennis star Stan Smith with his eponymous Adidas sneakers became synonymous with street style. Their influence extended beyond sports enthusiasts, captivating the attention of fashion-conscious individuals worldwide.


Designer Collaborations:

The late 1990s and early 2000s marked the beginning of designer collaborations with sports brands, further blurring the lines between sportswear and high fashion. Notable collaborations include Nike’s partnership with fashion designer Virgil Abloh for “The Ten” collection and Adidas teaming up with Kanye West for the Yeezy line. These collaborations elevated sports trainers to coveted fashion items, often selling out within minutes of release.


Influence of Streetwear Brands:

Streetwear brands like Supreme, BAPE, and Off-White have also played a crucial role in popularising sports trainers as streetwear. These brands incorporate sneakers into their collections, often adding unique designs and limited editions that appeal to sneakerheads and fashion enthusiasts alike.


Global Impact:

The influence of sports trainers as streetwear is not limited to any one region; it has become a global phenomenon. From the streets of New York City to the fashion capitals of Paris and Tokyo, sports trainers are embraced by people from diverse backgrounds, transcending cultural boundaries.


Contemporary Trends:

In recent years, sustainability and innovation have become key trends in the sports trainer industry. Brands are incorporating eco-friendly materials and technology advancements into their designs, catering to a more conscious consumer base. Additionally, customisation options and limited-edition releases continue to drive excitement and demand for sports trainers as streetwear.

The evolution of sports trainers as streetwear is a testament to the power of fashion to transcend its utilitarian origins and become a cultural phenomenon. From humble athletic footwear to coveted fashion statements, sports trainers have cemented their place in the world of streetwear, shaping trends and influencing style for generations to come. At McBride Sport HQ we love a well-designed, limited run, unusual or rare pair of trainers and they are indeed a staple part of our daily work attire. More on this in later post.