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The very first Nike shoes were made in a waffle iron. The running field near the Oregon home from the runner and trainer Bill Bowerman was creating a transition from cinder with an artificial surface, and then he wanted a sole without spikes that will supply him with, and his trainees, needed traction since they ran on it. The 3-dimensional lattice in the iron offered an answer, at the very least so far as the cheap nike shoes free shipping. As throughout the style, at least in the beginning? It absolutely was utilitarian: created by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and so faster, on the feet.

That Nike has become one of the greatest and most recognizable brands in the world is largely the doing of Bowerman’s partner, the man who recently announced his retirement from the company: Phil Knight. Knight transformed Nike, not overnight but close to it, in to a global powerhouse, known both for its achievements and its controversies. During this process, however, he did something else: He turned athletic footwear into fashion.

It’s as a result of Knight that, as an example, Kanye West features 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 type of fashion sneakers for girls ($75 a set). Knight knew, early on, whatever we take for granted today: that even the most practical of footwear-even shoes we wear for such dull reasons as performance and, worse, comfort-can also serve as fashion. He wasn’t within the shoe business, Knight insisted. He is in the entertainment business.

Sneakers started as luxury items. The initial rubber-soled athletic shoes debuted within the U.S. inside the 1890s-products, as the treads were the purpose, in the U.S Rubber Company. Rubber, during that time, was expensive, and leisure time was rare; the combination meant the innovative shoes were worn, in most cases, only by elites. The sneaker market grew, however, in the early twentieth century-particularly after World War I, whose effects had led to a national increased exposure of fitness and athleticism. As the nation’s first gym rats came on the scene, shoe companies began cheap wholesale nike shoes free shipping to fit their needs.

In response to that democratization came among the earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, to set its version of the newly popular shoes besides those of its competitors, one company recruited wemjjs basketball player-both to enhance their shoe’s design then put his name on the final product. The business? The Converse Rubber Shoe Company. The athlete? Chuck Taylor.

It wasn’t until Nike emerged, however, underneath the marketing leadership of Knight, that sneakers and fashion became nearly inextricably connected. The Nike Cortez, released in 1972, took advantage of twin cultural trends-conspicuous consumption and a renewed obsession with fitness (running, in particular)-to advertise the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was introduced at the height in the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured that this athletes on the Olympic field were clad in the shoes. And the shoe’s design, too, had moved away from athleticism alone. Available in a variety of colors, and featuring, the first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, the footwear were meant, CNN notes, “for those who wished to face out on the dance floor track as well as the running track.”

Seeing the potential, 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 shoes were initially banned from the NBA commissioner David Stern, on the grounds they violated his stipulation that court shoes be majority-white. Jordan wore them anyway. Nike happily paid the fines.) As well as in 1986, Run-DMC released “My Adidas”-not the very first musical ode to footwear, but a telling one. The song marked on the one hand the birth from the intimate artistic and commercial relationship between hip-hop and sneakers; it also signaled that this shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.

Today, as a result of all of this, athletic shoe releases are met with the exact same sort of fervent enthusiasm that fashion shows are, and not simply in sneakerhead culture. Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 collection sold out on Saturday in a quarter-hour; in a nutshell order, a couple of these shoes appeared on eBay with an price tag of $10,000. Due to the creative marketing Nike and Phil Knight pioneered, wholesale nike shoes are sought after, and collected, and talked about, and infused with artistry. Which is also to state: They are fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I can buy a set of LeBrons, it means I’ve got $175-and you also don’t.”