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The very first Nike shoes were made in a waffle iron. The running field near the Oregon home of the runner and trainer Bill Bowerman was making a transition from cinder to an artificial surface, and he wanted a sole without spikes that would provide him, and his trainees, needed traction as they ran on it. The three-dimensional lattice of the iron offered an answer, at least so far as the Cheap Nike Shoes. As for the rest of the design, at least in the beginning? It was utilitarian: created by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and thus faster, on their feet.

That Nike has become one of the biggest and many recognizable brands on the planet is essentially the doing of Bowerman’s partner, the man who recently announced his retirement through the company: Phil Knight. Knight transformed Nike, not overnight but near to it, in to a global powerhouse, known both for its successes along with its controversies. Along the way, however, he did something else: He turned athletic footwear into fashion.

It’s due to Knight that, for instance, Kanye West includes a signature shoe, the Yeezy Boost. Which, last January, Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel and Raf Simons of Dior sent signature sneakers down their runways. And that, last September, Alice Temperley styled her runway looks with sneakers. And this Mo’ne Davis, she of Little League World Series fame, has released a line of fashion sneakers for ladies ($75 a pair). Knight knew, in early stages, what we ignore today: that including the most practical of footwear-even the shoes we wear for such dull reasons as performance and, worse, comfort-can also work as fashion. He wasn’t within the shoe business, Knight insisted. He is at the entertainment business.

Sneakers started as luxury items. The very first rubber-soled athletic shoes debuted within the U.S. inside the 1890s-products, as the treads were the idea, of the U.S Rubber Company. Rubber, during that time, was expensive, and leisure time was rare; the combination resulted in the innovative shoes were worn, typically, only by elites. The Cheap Jordan Shoes market grew, however, during the early 20th century-particularly after World War I, whose effects had resulted in a national emphasis on fitness and athleticism. Since the nation’s first gym rats came on the scene, shoe companies began mass-producing shoes to suit their demands.

Responding to that particular democratization came one of many earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, to create its version from the newly popular shoes aside from those of its competitors, one company recruited a basketball player-both to boost their shoe’s design and after that put his name on the final product. The company? The Converse Rubber Shoe Company. The athlete? Chuck Taylor.

It wasn’t until Nike came along, however, beneath the marketing leadership of Knight, that sneakers and fashion became nearly inextricably connected. The Nike Cortez, released in 1972, took benefit of twin cultural trends-conspicuous consumption along with a renewed obsession with fitness (running, specifically)-to promote the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was released at the height of the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured the athletes on the Olympic field were clad within the shoes. And the shoe’s design, too, had moved far from athleticism alone. Available in a selection of colors, and featuring, for the first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, these shoes were meant, CNN notes, “for those who wished to stand out on the dance floor track along with the running track.”

Seeing the possibility, other designers joined the party. In 1984, Gucci released its iconic Gucci Tennis shoes. In 1985, betting over a rookie athlete named Michael Jordan, Nike itself released its Air Jordans. (As worn on-court, CNN notes, the footwear were initially banned through the NBA commissioner David Stern, on the grounds which they violated his stipulation that court shoes be majority-white. Jordan wore them anyway. Nike happily paid the fines.) And in 1986, Run-DMC released “My Adidas”-not the very first musical tmrzsh to footwear, but a telling one. The song marked on the one hand the birth of the intimate artistic and commercial relationship between hip-hop and sneakers; additionally, it signaled that the shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.

Today, because of all of this, Cheap Nike Shoes releases are met with the same sort of fervent enthusiasm that fashion shows are, and not merely in sneakerhead culture. Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 collection out of stock on Saturday in a quarter-hour; in short order, a couple of these shoes appeared on eBay having an selling price of $10,000. Due to the creative marketing Nike and Phil Knight pioneered, athletic footwear is now sought after, and collected, and discussed, and infused with artistry. Which is to say: They may be fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I could buy a couple of LeBrons, this means I’ve got $175-and also you don’t.”