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Words By Mr Peter Henderson

A cornerstone of casual dressing, and a type of footwear embedded in popular culture, sneakers are a true wardrobe staple. Originally designed for athletic use, and named because they enable the wearer to "sneak" about without making the squeaking sounds associated with leather soles on certain surfaces, sneakers have been designed and reinterpreted By designers since conception. Click through the gallery above to see five pairs of kicks worth coveting.

The Sneaker Timeline

1916

US firm Keds releases the first mass-produced sneakers, which have canvas uppers and rubber soles.

1917

Marquis Mills Converse develops the All Star rubber-soled shoe, and names it after the basketball player Mr Chuck Taylor, starting the enduring association between sports stars and sneakers.

1924

German national Mr Adi Dassler starts making sneakers, and eventually launches the Adidas brand. Mr Jesse Owens wore Mr Dassler's sneakers for competing in the 1936 Olympics, and he won four gold medals.

1950s

Sneakers began to make the transition from the athletic to casual wardrobe, particularly as young people emulated the style of Mr James Dean.

1984

Mr Michael Jordan signed a deal with Nike to develop the now-iconic Air Jordan line of sneakers.

1986

Run-DMC release the song "My Adidas", and subsequently send a video to the brand's executives demanding $1m for the publicity. Adidas obliges, and the group create their own products for the label.

1990

With sneaker culture (and prices) on the ascent, Sports Illustrated runs a cover with the headline "Your Sneakers or Your Life", chronicling the rise of violent robberies for victims' sneakers.

1991

In the 29th episode of The Simpsons, Homer's expensive new sneakers (Assassins, described as having "Velcro straps, a water pump in the tongue, a built-in pedometer, reflective sidewalls and little vanity plates") are destroyed By the family dog. The incident is intended to parody "sneakerhead" culture.

2005

The documentary Just for Kicks is released, exploring the history of the sneaker phenomenon.

2007

Lanvin introduces its signature suede and patent leather sneaker, which has been repeated every season since. With it, the high-fashion sneaker is placed firmly on the map.

 
2009

Mr Kanye West creates several pairs of sneakers in collaboration with Louis Vuitton, affirming the luxury sneaker's place in popular culture.

 
2012

Everyone from fashion editors attending the Paris and Milan shows to off-duty bankers start incorporating athletic sneakers from Nike and New Balance into their casual outfits.

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