THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WHITE SNEAKERS
JUNE 30, 2020
by KRISTOPHER FRASER
From Instagram to the streets of every major city in the world, not a day goes by where the world is void of the classic glory that is white sneakers. Don’t call white sneakers a trend, rather they are a staple of everyone’s wardrobe. There are few products that transcend boundaries of style, class, gender, and are as timeless as a white sneaker. Whether they came from Goodwill or Gucci, they are truly universal.
Lately, white sneakers seem to be more popular than ever. What was once a wardrobe staple has emerged as an even bigger trend lately, with the demand for them higher than ever before. In a world post-quarantine and in the midst of an economic downturn, wardrobe .
It’s no wonder as people turn to pajamas as ready-to-wear and athleisure continues to have its moment, what better to pair understated offerings with than an understated shoe that never has and arguably never will go out of style. The history of the white sneaker dates all the way back to the days of Keds, who had been making sneakers since 1916. While Keds is one of the longest existing sneaker companies in America, the honor of popularizing the white sneaker goes to Converse’s Chuck Taylor.
The celebrity support and the way the media reacted to the popularity of the Chuck Taylor cemented its position on the map as one of the most world-renowned fashion items to this day. Then along came another popular shoe silhouette in the late ‘60s, the Stan Smith, later to be renamed the Adidas Stan Smith in the early ‘70s. The shoes were named after, Stan Smith who was considered one of the best tennis players of his generation. With two Grand Slam singles and five Grand Slam doubles champion under his belt, he was one of the greatest tennis stars in history. Smith's celebrity helped catapult to the shoe to the minds of both tennis aficionados and the fashion crowd alike.
Converse Chuck Taylor
Stan Smith would bear the holy grail of the white sneaker obsession until Nike released their Air Force One. Designed by Bruce Kilgore, It was the first ever basketball shoe to feature Nike Air technology. The Air Force 1’s popularity would only explode even further in 2002 when rapper Nelly would release his hit single Air Force Ones as an entire homage to the sneaker.
Of course, while white sneakers were considered your everyday man’s wardrobe staple, soon the designer crowd would develop their fascination with them when Common Projects launched their Achilles Low. The show was heavily inspired by vintage Adidas shoes, but was so scaled down and so minimalist it was one of the most bare bone sneakers on the market. The most distinct feature of the shoe that made it recognizable was the gold identification on the side. Now when Common Projects first debuted the Achilles Low it retailed at a moderately priced $200, but due to their rise in popularity the prices have more than doubled now retailing for $410.
Adidas even hopped on the designer train when they began collaborating with designer Raf Simons, who is best known for his various creative director positions at brands including Jil Sander, Christian Dior, and Calvin Klein. While the Adidas Raf Simons sneakers came in many colorways, the classic white was the one that could be seen everywhere from the streets of SoHo to the streets of Tokyo. This was just the beginning of luxury’s foray into the world of white sneakers.
Gucci Ace Trainer