Today, owning a pair of running shoes is extremely common, and most people use them not just for exercise, but also for every day use. Running shoes can be found in almost all sports in the world, and have a long and interesting history.
While the modern shoe that we know and love dates back around 200 years, the idea behind it is actually much older, although we will be looking at the shoe that was first started in the 29th century.
How It All Began
Wait Webster patented a process in 1832 that allowed rubber soles to attached to both shoes and boots, which eventually led to the creation of Plimsolls, which were used mostly by children. About 20 years later, the running spikes were first introduced by the founder of the Boulton Company, known today as Reebok, Joseph William Foster. Like Australian online pokies, it was a gamble that paid off. The spikes were added to the bottom of Plimsolls for better traction. Thus, the running shoes of the 1860s, stored in one of the British museums, feature spikes on the sole, which was the only aspect that makes them different from the casual men’s footwear that was popular during the same time.
Some years later, in 1890, Joseph William Foster, who made handmade running shoes, created a novelty-spiked running shoe to help athletes cut down on their running times. Rubber soled shoes in 19 century were manufactured by such companies as Dunlop and Goodyear.
The 20th Century
The Trackster that was made by New Balance became the very first running shoe made in different widths. Accommodating more runners than ever, they allowed for a perfect fit. With a rippled outsole, the Trackster provided better overall traction, absorbed shock, and prevented many common injuries, which occurred frequently due to the metal spiked sprint shoes of that period. During the 1970s jogging became one of the most popular types of exercises, even among the wealthy, so the manufacturers of sports shoes began focussing on broader markets.
It was the running shoes that the history of Nike was first started: one of its founders Bill Bauerman, who was a coach, became obsessed with the idea of making shoes for running as light as possible, and began to experiment with new technology. By 1974, he came up with bright, lightweight, and expensive Waffle Trainer, which was known as “the hottest symbol of status” by Vogue magazine. According to the story, Bauerman made his first waffle sole by making use of his wife’s waffle iron. The kitchen gadget was destroyed, but a breakthrough took place.
Frank Rudy of NASA designed the world’s first air-cushioned athletic shoe, which was done in collaboration with Nike. He offered the idea of bags filled with pressurized gas that compress under impact. Thus, Rudy introduced air-cushion soles to the market, which are still used today, even 40 years later, and are a popular choice among professional athletes.