**Article français ici**

This documentary, directed by Lisa LEONE and Thibault de LONGEVILLE, traces the journey of sneakers, from sports fields where they were originally intended to collectors’ dressings.

This evolution was mainly carried out by urban culture’s actors (such as rappers, graff artists, b-boys, film makers…) who, in the space of two decades *, elevated sneakers to the rank of a popular accessory and fashion must-have. (* at the time of the documentary) 

Althought the documentary was released almost 10 years ago, there’s no doubt that sneakers is still very successful today … What changed, in my opinion (and from a french market point of view):

1) The leaders

In ten years, we have seen the rise of Puma and the Converse’s comeback. Vans, a brand rather oriented toward sports like surf, skate,…etc, has been very present for the past two years, among young fashionistas (or young sheeps…). Nevertheless, Nike and Adidas are excellent runners and preserve a good market share.

2) Variety, diversity of styles

You know, sneakers are like real estate: the older, the more valuable… In other words, it’s mostly the old-school models that are successful.

So, the only way for people to differenciate themselves – or try, at least – is to play with colors, textures, patterns, adding (studs everywhere … haaaa!)

3) A more formal design

More refined and more elegant lines ; heels for women… Sneakers are in competition with city shoes.

This is not new either: remember, heeled Nike Air Dunk popped out here and there, right after the success of the heeled Timberlands, made famous by Jennifer Lopez in her video « Jenny From The Block. »


Nowadays, the boom of wedge sneakers appears after Isablle MARANT creations (on the left).


Anyway, I digress … I wish you a good viewing!


SMALL RECAP (for those who didn’t have the time to watch it {yet!} or those who don’t understand english {which might be weird because if you could read so far, I guess you can understand the documentary but on the other hand if english is not your mother tongue, it might be easier to read than listen so it makes sense. I know I talk to much, i know}):

  • MIDDLE OF 70’S TO 80’S : B-boys influence

Sneakers are a part of the style , the look. It enables you to have a fresh and all swagged up look, with little means…

Stretching: to lengthen the life of sneaker, by cleaning it with a toothbrush, by putting paint (on adidas stripes for example) and changing the laces. These were also an accessory of coquetry, a way to change the look and coordinate with clothes. At a lower cost.


A transition came, where Hip Hop became more or less a pop culture phenomenon. The looks, inspired by Funk bands like Parliament, got odder and odder (fur boots, silver leather hat …).

Clic to see better. The red ones are my favorites

RUN DMC « put some order » in all this with the motto « let’s stick to hip hop. » They went on stage keeping the dress codes of the culture.

They attracted attention with their sneakers without laces  look, inspired by prisoners. That’s how they popularized the Adidas Superstar.

« Popularize », the word is weak: it’s a tidal wave! They got a big deal with the brand ; a line of clothing and accessories in their own image, including shoes, followed.

This marks the beginning of alliances between rappers and Brands.


Facing the incursion of sport brands in street culture, through rappers, and of course the success it generates, Nike is put aside, due to his image of « brand for White people ».

Until the coup de maitre : the partnership with His Royal Airness, Michael JORDAN. However, at that time, he wasn’t as much known as he became a few years after but he was getting in the spotlight thanks to his talent and audacity ☞ NBA requires that players have to wear shoes that not only have white but also match the uniform. Nonetheless, Mr. Jordan, with its red and black shoes, was far from respecting these rules and thus, collected a fine in every games.

And penalties after penalties, a myth of a gifted but rebellious player was created. Easy promotion for Nike.

Things drastically changed when the brand decided to create an Air Jordan every NBA seasons.

An on top basket ball player (JORDAN), an trendy sport brand (NIKE), a hip filmaker (SPIKE LEE) : an explosive trio was born. It was, especially with a scene in the movie « Do the Right Thing, » a turning point in the evolution of sneakers, with the concept of sneakers jewelry, shoes « you can not trample on ».


Sneakers jewelry, signs of wealth, idolatry, lust … Violence. This is the sad logical sequence of events.

Buyers can not show off in the streets of New York with sneakers all sparkling, fresh from their box without taking the risk to have their spine customized, their jaw restructured, their ribcage rearranged and of course, their shoes stolen.

« Your shoes, Now! motherfucker!! »

« NoOoo, plEeease!! I have an Ipad if you wa… »

KEBAAAHHh (*sound of a crowbar hitting a jaw)

You will notice that the Ipad did not exist at the time …

On the other hand, with this precious object, a new group of consumers emerged: sneakers hunters, crossing the entire planet (or at least the Brooklyn Bridge) in search of rare gems.

In this context, brands are rubbing their hands and play the game of supply and demand, to increase the value of one specific shoe model : limited production to create a premature out of stock effect and therefore, create enthusiasm.

What do you mean, there’s no longer « uptown » size 8!?!

Finally, the icons of the street are used to attract a wider audience and drive up the success (and thus increase sales): the example of Reebok, with G-Unit 50 cent model and model S.Carter of JayZ …


Woodyni, who’s not a sneakers addict, Thank God! However with her 120 pair of shoes, she’s no better , well anyway, peace…



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