Friday, August 04, 2017

Evergreen trainers: What's the story...?

The first major endorsement of a sport's shoe by a sporting personality was Chuck Taylor and Converse All Stars. Taylor was a basketball player with Buffalo Germans and Akron Firestones. The campaign proved so successful the shoes became known as "chucks", and Converse All Stars still remain a popular brand, today.

The interest in televised sports in the 1960s and 70's meant companies could advertise their wears by sponsoring competitors. Improved camera photography allowed "close ups" providing the ideal marketing opportunity. In the amateur circuit, individual payments to athletes were forbidden but as these restrictions became less enforced and a new professional status accepted, then greater opportunity for sponsorship was made possible. Increased frequency of major competitions meant greater opportunity to sell new products.

The "bad boy" antics of competitors such John McEnroe and his ground kissing antics is thought, by some, to have been inspired as much by product promotion as any cry for fair play.

The average shelf life of a sports shoe today is less than three months before it is replaced with the next model. Style dictates to design in this highly competitive market. Despite this many ordinary sports people remain brand loyal and continue to buy products they trust.

One such evergreen is the Adidas Rod Laver. Named after the Australian tennis pro of the 1960's, the shoe remains the only stock item not to have the three side stripes so characteristic of the Adidas ranges.

In the 1970's the shoe was replaced by the Stan Smith Tennis shoe, now both styles continue to sell well.

Perhaps the longest lasting sneaker is the Dunlop Volley. The product range has lasted more than most and was relaunched recently. Probably the most popular sandshoe in history it first became available in 1939. Popular throughout the 50's, 60's, and 70's it fell from favour and was gradually replaced with American sneakers. New Volleys have all the usual features including the reinforced rubber toe box, circled D arrow and herringbone soles. The shoes now come with a thicker sole, quality canvas upper and removable insole. They are available in tennis shoes as well as casual shoes. This is the mark of an everlasting shoe; it is available in different shoe styles. The casual shoe is often better for dress wear and hence popular with older adults seeking comfort as well as style.

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