Ladies are continually on the come up, we’re always pushing for equality. And it’s safe to say we’re well on our way. However sometimes lacing up, means more than just a stroll down the street. There’s a significance and the design of the sneaker is making history as well as enhancing performance and style. On day 3 we wanted to give three examples of sneakers that were developed with women in mind or developed by women themselves.
3) 1982- The Reebok Freestyle
It was within the early 80’s that the women exercise movement really took off. Especially the idea of aerobics. Women who worked or spent all day at home found the idea of burning mad calories quickly, either at a gym or the comfort of their own home really exciting. Not to mention bodysuits and leg warmers? Sign me up. With this becoming such a hot trend, Reebok spotted a niche, especially since their competitors like Nike and Adidas were completely ignoring the aerobics boom. So Reebok took it upon themselves to develop a shoe for the ladiesssss. When they sent the shoe to go get manufactured, with the idea that it would be made from sturdy leather, that could compete with other sporting shoes it was prototyped with a sorry note from there Korean manufacturing. The note apologized for the misuse of soft leather, that was typically used for producing gloves, and said that the mistake would be fixed immediately. However Reebok loved the mistake, claiming that the soft leather that had wrinkles and lacked structure mimicked the silhouette of a ballet slipper, and thought that it would appeal to women due to the aesthetics and didn’t need to be broken in. They were right. The freestyle sored, and women all around the country who were ignited by the pure shriek of Richard Simmons took hold.
2) 1988- The Adidas Grand Slam
Steffi Graf first picked up a tennis racket when she was three years old, by the time she was 18 she was ranked No 1 in the world. This German super star clearly caught the eye of Horst Dassler (the son of Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler, the founder of Adidas) Germans don’t love anything more than other German people or things. And Horst wanted to waste no time because he knew the potential in which Graf had. He wanted to develop a shoe that she could win in. And that’s exactly what he did. The Grand Slam shoe was the first of its kind. Integrating the ‘peg system.’ A system which involved a mid-sole that the wearer could insert different pegs that were comprised of different densities, this allowed for optimal performance on varying surfaces. I guess we’ll never know if it was the shoes or just Graf’s raw ability however in 1988 she went on to be the first women to date to win all four majors as well as gold in the Olympics (which had just introduced tennis back in for the first time in 64 years) Obtaining what they call in tennis, a grand slam. Graf continued to be an Adidas ambassador for years after retirement but wouldn’t wear anything other than the Slam and told Adidas that they’d have to continue to utilize the peg system as they advanced with technology. Apparently women cause rackets with rackets, three stripes bows down.
3) 2015- The Nike Nikecourt Flare
Apparently tennis is where sneaker development is at for the ladies because the number three spot belongs on the tennis courts as well. In 2013 when Nike and Serena Williams were developing her signature shoe she wanted to focus her attention on one of her avenues of continual adversity. This being her ankle injuries. Miss Serena wanted to ensure that she would bring a shoe into tennis that would have ankle support as the main focus. She wanted something she could feel safe playing in. Serena was working with Nike designer, Aaron Cooper who understood where the tennis champ was coming from and took inspiration from Kobe Bryant’s Zoom VI as well as a kung-fu master that talked about the ability to make a shoe that allowed an athlete to feel as if they were performing barefoot. A type of flexibility in a shoe that hadn’t been touched. The Nikecourt Flare was born. Serena had a crazy successful season the year the shoe was released. She had competed through illness and needed to win the US open in order to achieve a calendar year grand slam, sadly she did not. However she noted that despite her loss one observation she had for her season was that she was never affected by an ankle injury. Wink wink, nudge nudge… thanks Nike ;)
These are just three examples of sneakers being influenced by chicks. There are many more and there will be many more to come. As we continue to set records and blaze trails more sneakers will need to be developed. In the past year we’ve seen collaborations with female designers and women being used as the platform in which companies are selling their sneakers. Because bottom line, we’re hard to hold back and you put us in a pair of kicks that allow us to run free and look good? Pshhh we’re unstoppable.
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