While playing tennis or sitting idle, have you ever wondered how tennis shoes were made? Or how come tennis shoes are known by the name of a sport? We will answer you by telling you the history of tennis shoes.
Before getting into the history of tennis shoes, let us tell you that it is a million-dollar industry that generates billions of dollars in revenue for big brands like Adidas, Puma, Nike, and other leading brands. Also, athletes and sportsmen buy quite expensive shoes every year. How did these shoes become so popular? Want to know how did these brands start and how did they grow? Let’s start.
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Tennis Shoes History
The Boston Journal in 1887 first used the word tennis shoes for sneakers which were made in 1892, firstly called plimsolls. When the nineteenth century was ending, these shoes surfaced in the market. Soon, they were evolved by experimentation and made more and more comfortable. Various companies started adding different materials to typical canvas shoes. Instead of canvas, nylon and weather started being used, and these tennis shoes were preferred more. The tennis shoes laid down the foundation of other athletes’ shoes like runners. Tennis shoes were the standard when it came to athletes’ shoes, and they have been improving to this day. Let us jump right into the history of tennis shoes to know their journey better:
Origin of Tennis Shoes
You would be amazed to know that these shoes were called plimsolls shoes in the 18th century. They replaced the typical canvas shoe of that time and came with a design of rubber outsole and canvas upper sole.
In 1892, the British Navy used them as they were less slippery. Soon, these shoes could be seen in the markets, and people started calling them sneakers. Sneakers, as in ‘sneak,’ the name was given to these shoes because they did not make a sound while walking. The sneaker’s design lasted till the 1960s, when new shoes emerged in the market. The fun fact is that the tennis shoe is the first sports shoe for athletes in history. Although the original design is really different from today’s ones, now they are just used by tennis players.
In 1916 we got Keds from the United States rubber company, and in 1917 Converse rubber company introduced all-star shoes. The design kept changing, and new improvements were brought to tennis shoes all around the 1960s.
The best design of tennis or athletic shoes during the improvement period was of Bill Bowerman. He established his company called Nike, which he named after a Greek goddess of victory. In his company, he manufactured lightweight nylon shoes. The difference was that his shoes had soft inner soles and were made of nylon instead of canvas.
After him, many companies like Adidas and Puma started making and evolving tennis shoes. The tennis shoe today is different from the “sneakers” known in the 18th century.
Origin of The Name of Tennis Shoes
Aside from British Navy officers, some aristocrats also wore the “sneakers shoe” while playing tennis. That’s how they came to be known as tennis shoes. The name was given from the word sneak, as the shoes were silent and hardly produced any noise.
Need For Tennis Shoes
While playing court games like tennis and other sports, shoes with less noise and soft innersoles were needed. That’s how tennis shoes were developed and shaped into what we see them as today. It is safe to say that all athlete’s shoes were made by following tennis shoe design.
Development of Tennis Shoes
These shoes have been developing from an early age and are being improved even now. Let us go through the journey of their development briefly.
- Charles Goodyear introduced vulcanized rubber, which was more heat resistant than normal shoes. This was done in 1839, and these were the perfect shoes for athletes of those times.
- Keds, as you already know, was made in 1900 by a United States rubber company.
- All-star shoe, then we had converse rubber company give us these in 1917.
- Adidas, We are sure that you are already familiar with this name. These made tennis shoes exclusively in 1931. Then in 1960, they spiced things up a bit. Adidas used leather to make shoes instead of canvas, and this brought great success. They did not stop there; once again, introducing a new shoe material, Adidas experimented and got great profit. In 1970, they made shoes with a Polyurethane outsole, suede on the toe, and a mesh upper. Being lightweight and airy, these shoes were a great development in all sports shoes.
- Nike, Coming onto the scene Nike Air trainer came with a strap design along with extra maneuverability and height.
- After that, the competition is going on till today. Every day new technology and material are introduced for the comfort of athletes’ feet.
To conclude, all the best manufacturing is the result of Bill Bowerman’s design, and that is how the tennis shoe came into being. Hope you got information and knowledge on the history of tennis shoes and got to know more.