Basketball lovers are fascinated by many things about the game, including basketball shoes. Basketball shoes were created with the sole purpose of making the feet ready for the game. So whether a player is making a fancy maneuver or doing a high, the shoes would be ideal for the game.
The first basketball shoes were invented in 1917, 26 years after basketball was invented. Since their creation, they have become one of the most recognized staples of sportswear. What began as a simple necessity to improve athletes’ performance soon became a global industry generating billions of dollars.
Here is a brief history of basketball shoes.
It Started With the Converse Company
The first company to make basketball shoes back in 1917 was Converse. The shoe was known as the All-star shoe, later named Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor in 1920. The shoe was named after Chuck Taylor, an American basketball player, and thus got its popular name ‘chucks.’
The shoes, just like the ones we have today, were made of a rubber sole and lightweight canvas. Eventually, all basketball players had a pair. The shoes were popular and loved by basketballers despite being black and white.
The Era of the 1970s
Adidas came up with its competitive brand in 1969 when they launched their superstar collection. The shoes quickly became popular and were regarded as the most famous shoes of the 70s.
Adidas was endorsed first in 1971 by Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who had his face featured on the shoe’s tongue.
Two years after this, Puma released Clydes, endorsed by the new york player Walt Clyde Frazier. He was offered his first signature shoe, popularly known as the Puma Clyde. It had a wider sole than Chuck, and because of this, it outranked Adidas and Chuck in popularity.
Nike Blazers were invested in 1973, but then they weren’t the leaders in the industry. But later on, they gained popularity.
Nike Gains Popularity
Nike came up with two shoe designs, the Nike Bruin and the blazer, made of leather. Thus the creation of its legacy. The shoes became popular after being endorsed by Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls player.
Nike introduced the air jordans, turned basketball shoes into a fashion trend, and with the help of Jordan, the shoes became a frontline shoe for basketball players in the 1980s.
Later on, in the 1990s, the Nike Air Foamposite was introduced. Other players, including Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen, endorsed Nike with Rodman’s Air Shake Ndestrukt, a very eye-catching design endorsed by Rodman.
In 1996, Reeboks were launched, and the shoes with a suede overlay, mesh tongue, and translucent outer sole were launched by Allen Iverson. One notable characteristic of the Reebok was that the shoes were fitted with a pump technology supporting the ankle.
With technological advancements, the famous shoe companies made better and more advanced shoes. The focus of basketball shoes after the 90s was to make them high-tech and lightweight.
Nike included a Shox technology in their Hyperdunk design launched in 2000. In 2021, an optional chip was inserted in Nike’s shoe design endorsed by Lebron James to measure how high a player jumped.
It is evident that basketball shoes are not only used by basketball players but are now considered a fashion statement. Because of the popularity of the basketball game, the shoe business has become a multi-billion-dollar global industry.
Designers are challenged to create beautiful high-tech shoes for players and the public. But Nike continues to dominate the market after getting endorsements from popular players.
After signing James Harden, a popular player, Adidas is trying to take over the industry. We are looking forward with excitement to seeing what the future has in store for the basketball shoe industry.