Sneakers, the iconic shoes of Pop Culture

Sneakers, the iconic shoes of Pop Culture


What was initially born only as a sports shoe has turned into a real global phenomenon, influencing the fashion and lifestyle of many people. If we were to look for the secret of their success, one of the main reasons would certainly be their versatility, and it is undeniable that sneakers have had a huge impact both in fashion and in pop culture.

Sneakers, symbol of Pop Culture

When were they born? Custom Sneakers How to customize a shoe? How to avoid scams? Where to buy them? These shoes, for the uninitiated, were initially designed only for physical activity, but over the years they have become more than this, much more, they have become an essential element of casual fashion and a real symbol of belonging and of pop culture. The sneakers have been worn in every possible context, from the more formal ones, such as weddings and gala dinners, to informal events such as beach parties or evening outs, but their flexibility has made them a perfect option for anyone looking for an alternative comfortable and cool trendy to traditional boots and sneakers.

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The classic white, red and black color of the 1985 Air Jordan 1 is the colorway that started it all, this color palette was inspired by the Chicago Bulls and has fascinated sneaker enthusiasts for decades .

Another fundamental element of the success of sneakers lies in the fact that they have become a symbol of status and belonging to a group. Many sneaker brands have developed a real culture around their brand, just think of the legendary Air Jordans, of which a film will soon be released that describes its genesis and growth around the figure of an undisputed basketball champion like Michael Jordan. Then there are also other known cases that have seen collaborations with artists, musicians and designers, often in limited and exclusive editions that have made some sneaker models even more desirable, creating a sort of parallel market in which shoes are bought and sold at very high prices.

The influence of sneakers has not been limited only to the world of fashion, but has also gradually extended to all of pop culture in general. Films, television shows and video games have often made sneakers appear as a symbol of coolness and belonging to a group. Iconic characters such as Marty McFly from “Back to the Future Part II”, Will Smith from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” or Miles Morales from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” have worn sneakers that have become iconic, contributing to making them a essential and representative element of our society.


Put on sale in 2011 in just 15,000 copies, the Air Mags inspired by the model seen in Back to the Future Part II were then re-proposed in 2016 and are… equipped with self-lacing as in the movie!

When were they born?

Sneakers, also known as trainers or sports shoes, have a history that dates back to the 19th century. The first sneaker was created in 1830 by Charles Goodyear, the inventor of vulcanized rubber, yes…the tire company. This sneaker, it must be said, was very different from the modern sneakers we know today as it had a stiff sole and wasn't very comfortable, but it was certainly a first, timid approach towards the shoe we know today. The real sneaker revolution happened in 1917, when Converse created its famous All Stars. These shoes marked a turning point in the history of this type of garment, their strength that differentiated them from other sports shoes of the time was that they had a soft and flexible rubber sole, which made them much more comfortable. The All Stars were initially created for basketball players, but later conquered other sports and fashion enthusiasts as well.

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Chuck Taylor, basketball player for the Akron Firestones, joined the Converse sales team in 1921 after discovering the shoe and seeing enormous potential in its design, his name was added in 1932 as a detail on the ankle patch, and from that, the 'Chuck Taylor All Star' was born.

It was in the 70s that sneakers started to become a real cultural phenomenon as we know it today , people began to wear them not only to play sports, but also to express their personality and style. In a short time, sneakers have become a symbol of rebellion and non-conformism, and have been worn by many famous people, such as the Ramones for example. In the 80s, sneakers took a huge hit thanks to the hip hop culture. Rappers wore flashy and colorful sneakers, such as Nike's Air Jordans, and this made the sneakers an icon of hip hop culture.

In the 1990s, sneakers became even more prominent in pop culture , thanks to the success of brands such as Adidas and Reebok. Today, sneakers are still very popular and are worn both for sport and for fashion, there is no longer any kind of nonconformism, it's normal. Over time many companies have grown and affirmed their popularity, among the best known we cannot fail to mention Nike, Adidas, Puma, Converse and many others. This exponential growth decade after decade has also made them a collector's item, with people willing to spend thousands of dollars for the rarest and most expensive models.

Custom Sneakers

© The custom sneaker market, also known as “custom sneakers“, has become very popular in recent years. Custom sneakers are shoes that have been modified or decorated in a way that makes them unique and individual, reflecting the owner's tastes and style. There are several specific techniques that are used to customize sneakers, such as varnishing, printing or material modification. This environment is increasingly growing thanks to the numerous artists and designers who have specialized in the customization of sneakers and who have begun to offer customization services on commission.

The field of personalized sneakers, in continuous expansion, is grown dramatically also thanks to various online platforms that allow customers to customize their sneakers, such as Nike By You or Adidas mi. Custom sneakers, the more handcrafted ones, if we want to call them that, are often very expensive, as they require many hours of work and high quality materials such as special paints or glues. Precisely for these reasons, the value of a customized sneaker, made famous thanks to its publication in sector magazines, including online, can also increase over time, especially if they have been customized by successful artists or designers. All of this has also led to the emergence of a culture of personalized sneaker enthusiasts and collectors, who organize events and exhibitions around the world to showcase their unique creations and to exchange ideas and customization techniques.

How to customize a shoe?

© There are several guides and tutorials available online for customizing sneakers. These guides can be used by anyone who wants to approach this "hobby" for the first time but also by artists and designers who perhaps learn new techniques and customization ideas aimed at improving their skills. There are also several magazines, books, online communities and forums dedicated to sneaker customization, where aficionados can share their creations, discuss new techniques and share tips and tricks. If you are looking for a way to get started here are some online resources that may be useful:

YouTube : There are numerous tutorials and videos on YouTube showing how to customize your sneakers. You can search for videos of successful artists and designers or watch tutorials on specific techniques like painting or printing. Sneaker Customization: This is a dedicated sneaker customization website that offers detailed guides on different customization techniques, such as painting and material modification. Reddit: There are several communities on Reddit dedicated to customizing sneakers, such as r/CustomSneakers or r/SneakerCustomization. These forums can be useful for connecting with other enthusiasts and sharing ideas and advice. Online Courses: There are also online courses available on platforms like Skillshare and Udemy that teach sneaker customization techniques. Books: There are several books on the subject that could be useful to you, one of these has just been released in Italy published by Panini and is called How to Customize Sneakers (you can find it at this address, in case).

How to avoid scams?

The sneaker market has become increasingly large and popular and, as often happens where there is a lot of money and interest, you could also run into some rip-offs. To avoid all this, we can recommend some useful tricks that may seem trivial to you but are in any case the most effective weapon to adopt in order not to get burned.

Buy only from reliable sellers: always check the reviews and ratings of sellers from those who have already bought before you before making a purchase. Also try to buy from authorized sneaker shops or official brand resellers if possible. Pay attention to limited editions: limited editions and collaborations with luxury brands are the most sought-after sneakers, but unfortunately also the most easily counterfeited. Pay attention to prices that are too low compared to the market value, compare it between multiple sites trying to make an arithmetic mean that gives you a credible parameter. Check the authenticity: there are several online platforms that offer sneaker authenticity verification services, such as StockX or GOAT. Use these services to verify the authenticity of the sneakers before making a purchase. Pay attention to the information on the packaging: the original packaging of the sneakers contain important information such as the product code, the brand logo and production information. Always check that the information on the packaging matches the information on the sneakers. Check the origin of the sneakers: Beware of sellers offering sneakers from countries like China or Thailand. In these countries, where the counterfeit sneaker market is very widespread, it is very easy to get scammed. In any case, do not be afraid if the product is offered to you by an official store that can also offer you guarantees.

Where to buy?

The best sites to buy a shoe are certainly the official sites of the brands you are interested in but also of big brands that deal with the brands themselves. Purchasing a shoe from an official site also has several advantages, including the guarantee of product authenticity, guaranteed quality as the site works directly with the manufacturer, complete customer service including pre-sales and after-sales assistance, the ability to return and obtain refunds; and access to limited and exclusive editions that may not be available elsewhere. The best ones to shop on are definitely the following: Foot Locker StockX Emp Zavvi

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