One reason for the recent increase in presence of ath-lesure footwear in CBDs is the relaxation of office dress codes including the rise of casual Friday or dress down days at the office. An increasing number of companies now invite their employees to participate and wear casual attire including sneakers to work. This 'casualization of fashion footwear,' has come as a bonus to the sneaker manufacturers whilst more traditional shoe manufacturers continue to struggle in the high street.
Fashion crossover from sport to high street takes many forms but in the case of trainers it started with industrial action in the transport industry in North American cities. Thousands of commuters were sent scrambling to their closets for comfortable shoes to walk to work. The aerobic craze of the 70s and the jogging and running boommeant the humble canvas topped shoes had gone through a fashion facelift and designer trainers were seen everywhere from streets, playing fields, gymnasia to catwalks. A hybrid shoe design soon emerged , this was called the cross trainer. The generic sports shoe incorporated the good fitting features along with the ideal of a shoe designed for recreational physical activity. New polymer materials allowed the combination of lightweight strong uppers with well supported and robust outsoles.
The new generation of trainers are smartshoes, trainers with an electronic edge. These typically feature a Bluetooth-connected accessory (usually insoles) that link activity or location to a smartphone app. Typically these count daily steps and calculate calorie intake, sort of thing. However, there is no end to the smart-shoe possibilities: from ordering dinner and displaying works of art to evading spills and biodegrading. Nothing says innovation like high-tops that order pizza and pause live TV. Presently the smart shoe market is dominated by big names (Nike, Under Armour, and adidas) although some relative unknowns (Salted Venture, Daphne, 361) are making their presence felt too.