When you’re putting on your size 15 trainers do you ever stop to wonder who invented the sports shoe? Trainers go back to the late 18th century when people wore rubber soled shoes known as plimsolls. Around 1892, the U.S. Rubber Company came up with more comfortable rubber trainers with canvas tops, called Keds. By 1917, they began to be mass produced.
That same year, Marquis Converse produced the first shoe made just for basketball, called Converse All-Stars. In 1923, an Indiana hoops star named Chuck Taylor endorsed the shoes, and they became known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars. These are the best-selling basketball shoes of all time. Trainers went international in 1924 when a German man named Adi Dassler created a sneaker that he named after himself: Adidas. This brand became the most popular athletic shoe in the world. Track star Jessie Owens wore Adidas when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics. During the first half of the 20th century, sports shoes were worn mostly to play sports. But in the 1950s, kids began wearing them as fashion statements. Even more teens followed the fad after seeing James Dean in sneakers in the film Rebel Without a Cause.