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How Sneakers Sneaked on The Scene

How Sneakers Sneaked on The Scene
2009/08/06 Maya H.

Blueprint for Style has done a few posts about shoes and sneakers for the fellas but, in honor of Men's Week, today our focus is strictly on how sneakers stole the show.  Without going back too far in history, the 90s saw the boom of sports figures and t.v. celebrities becoming the focus of attention and the example of what we should be striving for (right or wrong is not our discussion today) but, let's agree that Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan in 1984 truly put sneakers into the mix!


They were once for kids and those who wanted comfort but, now they are everywhere and, any 'ball player' or sports icon worth his salt has a sneaker...Stan Smith and the Stan Smith Adidas, Lebron James and the Nike Lebron, Kobe Bryant and the Nike Zoom Kobe IV, Allen Iverson and the Reebok Answer XI, and the list goes on!

To make sneakers work for the grown and sophisticated man, we have a few do's and don'ts to heed:

  • Leave hi-tops on the blacktop -- they have shoved their way into mainstream and, if we recall correctly which we do, they were created for the game so, let's leave them there!
  • The original/classics never fail -- why do we all have a pair of Converse lace-ups or a pair of the Stan Smith Adidas?  Because the classics are a fail-safe; whatever you have, you can throw a pair of these on and be ready to roll.  Let's take that lesson and apply it elsewhere...
  • Mixed up sneakers or hybrids are NOT cool (taken directly from -- this is so critical and important that taking it directly from another article was within reason... those shoes with the clunky sneaker-like soles are fashion mistakes.  Enough said!
  • Customization is cool -- Vans were the first sneaker line to offer it (not Nike i.d) but, they're out there and, in moderation, it's haute.
  • Sneak your sneakers into your dress wardrobe -- lots of stars, etc do it and while Blueprint does not subscribe to following the stars blindly, this is a trend that works.  Part of style is balance (remember the Men's Top 10 Style Tips?) so, taking dress slacks and a blazer, and pairing it with some sneakers makes the outfit more relaxed and urbane!
  • Run away from running shoes -- New Balance, Puma, Raf Simons, Reebok, Nike.....all make terrific running shoes for running!  Other than Stefano Pilati, creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, who wears them (too) often, just run away from this trend
  • Sock the socks somewhere -- When you see a grown man with tube socks do think of Michael Cooper from the LA Lakers??  They make socks that are barely visible so that you can still enjoy the benefits of sweat absorption, etc.  Use them.

Sneakers are here to stay and we imagine they will continue to evolve.  Choose to stay on the 'straight and narrow' with the classics or, embrace your inner 'roughneck' and go for designs, patent leather, or bling but whichever you choose, think balance!  It wouldn't be right to start this post by reminiscing about Michael Jordan and not end with some other cool factoids that send you back to playing on the your first pick-up game....or your first pair of kicks that you tried desperately to keep clean...or the first time you ran away from someone or something chasing you and thought it was definitely because of your sneakers!


  • Nike Inc's finances have never been in the red
  • It took Nike three launches to make its skateboarding line a success
  • Goodyear is the original manufacturer of Keds
  • Jerry Seinfeld owns over 500 pairs of mint condition white sneakers
  • By dividing the model number by 10, you can determine the approximate retail value of a New Balance sneaker (i.e. NB574  = $57.40)
  • The Air Max 1, debuted in '87, was the first Nike to expose the air bubble
  • In 1985, the NBA banned the red and black Air Jordan  because it was "too colorful" and fined Jordan for wearing them.  The move spawned the marketing campaign "Banned by the NBA"
  • Sneakers made their debut on the silver screen in 1961
  • Michael Jordan wanted to sign with Adidas in 1984, not Nike.  He was a self-described 'Adidas nut" and told his agent that if the deal was even close to sign it
  • Adidas is named after its founder, Adolf "Adi" Dassler.  Puma was started by his brother, Rudolf Dassler in 1948 after they had a falling out
  • Dee Brown was the first NBA Slam Dunk Champion to wear Reebok pumps
  • Jordans are released on Saturdays so kids don't skip school to get them
  • Reebok almost signed Lebron to a $75-million deal until Nike grabbed him for $90-million
  • MTV refuses to play Nelly's "Air Force Ones" clip
  • In August 2005, Adidas acquired Reebok for $3.8-billion

If you want more fun facts, head to a website called For All to Envy and check out the post called Sneakers 101!.