Sneakers running into fashion culture

Sneakers winning the public’s eyes with exquisite designs


Nina Miller

photo illistration by Nina Miller

Cianny Belen

From Skechers to Nikes, sneakers have begun to play such a huge role in fashion culture to express people’s individuality. Though some view shoes as just something to keep your feet from touching concrete, many more treat shoes as a fashion choice to make a powerful statement or compliment a colorful outfit. 

There are a variety of different shoe brands. Some are more popular than others, and the styles have changed over the past decades to fit growing interest and demand. A lot of brands have gained popularity as they produced more intricate and creative designs. Some have flopped while others have caught the eyes and attention of many people — especially younger generations. 

A lot of individuals have taken to the bright and detailed shoes that you wouldn’t normally have seen back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Back then, those types of shoes were reserved for the famously wealthy and wealthily famous. Normal individuals didn’t walk around with those types of exuberant footwear. However, in recent years, there’s been something empowering about wearing shoes not normally seen on a common person’s feet. It gives a sense of power and conviction, binding away old stereotypes about people or shoes in general.

Generation Z is known as the leading generation for change. With the bringing back of clothing such as flared jeans and clawed hair clips, it’s not too much of a surprise Gen z would lead the shoe revolution. Even hair hasn’t been left out of their purge of drab fashion choices. Sneakers are just one of the many things they have claimed in making new statements and inhabiting interesting personas.

Younger generations are all about change, and being proud of doing so. Despite that, they cannot get the full credit for starting this showy trend of fashion evolution. TV shows and movies play a big part in the things people wear, or the way people act. Sneakers are no different. For example, in the cult-classic film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” Sean Penn’s character sports Vans checkered slip-ons. These shoes then went on to become widely popular due to the success of the film.

Movies aren’t the only culprit to sneakers’ rise in traction, nor the demand for certain shoes or brands. Even old sneakers have come back to consumers’ admiration. This is thanks to star basketball players and celebrities. As much as people love the flamboyant, they also love simplicity. A simple redesign of Nike’s 1973 blazer basketball shoe came back as a more modern version, and proved that no matter how old the sneaker, it can still gain popularity.

George “The Iceman” Gervin was responsible for the Blazer’s rise in popularity. His nickname was given to him for his ice cold talent of scoring dunks. Coincidentally, he did so sporting some Nike basketball blazers, his signature shoe. His interest in these shoes sparked the interest of Nike to the general public for the first time, along with that specific style of shoe.

It wasn’t just basketball players and volleyball players either. Actors played a big role in unleashing a desire for certain shoe designs. Characters like Del Spooner (Detective Spooner) from “I, Robot,” played by the very humorous and well known actor, Will Smith, played a hand in igniting the love for Converse Chuck Taylors. The shoes became so famous that many teenagers began saving up money just to buy Smith’s signature pair.

The point is not if these influences motivate people to wear fashionable shoes. Celebrities and TV give us a new found confidence to express our originality in ways we never thought to before. 

Besides the fact that they look cool, shoes also tell you a bit about someone’s colorful personality, and how unapologetically they are flaunting that trait.

If eyes are the window into someone’s soul, shoes are the doorway into someone’s head.

With so many social restrictions and limited interaction with the outside world due to COVID-19, shoes offer a gateway of relation outside of flaunting a person’s best self. Shoes have become a way a person doesn’t have to speak with their mouth to get a point across, or a way you don’t have to indulge in a long conversation to figure out the type of person they are. That’s exactly why so many have abandoned the normal concept of shoes, and adopted the many variations and eccentric designs these shoe brands have offered. Sneakers are more than just shoes. They are also a gateway to many arguments and issues, and getting a point across silently and subtly.