So, is it sneakers or tennis shoes? A look into the history of the sneaker can answer this. The sneaker came about in 1800 when British Navy men wanted comfortable shoes that would not slip on the deck. They were called "Plimsolls". (Oddly there was no right or left shoe until the 1960's). The shoes were then given the name sneakers because they had no sound when walking. In 1839 Charles Goodyear started making shoes with vulcanized rubber which is resistant to heat and is stable. In 1916 Keds came out. Their shoe, "The Champion," was the first rubber soled canvas top mass marketed "sneaker" to be released. 1917 the Converse Rubber Co. "All Star" began. When civilians were wearing these athletic shoes, they were typically playing tennis--the most popular sports game of the time. Because the rubber of the tennis shoe worked with the material of the tennis court, they started calling them tennis shoes!
It wasn't until 1930 that leather uppers replaced canvas. Then, in 1931 adidas was born. In the 1960s everything for tennis shoe design was changed. Bill Bowerman was the leading designer. He designed shoes even more advanced than adidas and created the company Nike. Yep, in 1964 Blue Ribbon Sports became Nike. But in 1970 adidas pulled ahead when their technology advanced the tennis shoe making them breathable.
In 1984 Michael Jordan signed with Nike receiving $250,000 and a shoe line of his own. An endorsement by a superstar basketball player was just what Nike needed. When Michael Jordan joined Nike, the NBA had a rule that all sneakers were to be white. That didn't stop Jordan. Jordan's net worth is 1.6 billion dollars. He is the most successful brand endorser ever. A man with six NBA championships under his belt, he's the richest former athlete in the world. That deal put Nike into a position of monopoly.
Next comes Yeezy Venture, Kanye West's company that trademarks shoes and apparel by the world famous R&B artist. West licenses to adidas so they can make the shoes for his company. adidas, (the German company who got their first drop in 1913), signed an agreement with Kayne West in 2015 that doesn't expire until 2026! However, even though they signed their agreement in 2015, they started collaborating on designs in 2013. In fact Yeezy first got involved in sneakers with Nike in 2009. And now? Business is booming for Yeezy. Even Bloomberg mentions West's partnership with adidas AG. It has been said that this deal is vitally important to adidas. Just look at the numbers, Yeezy made 1.7 billion in 2020, West earned 191 million in royalties (according to the UBS report by Bloomberg). That is incredible! What's more, Yeezy recently got licensing for cosmetics. It seems for West, the sky's the limit.
So there you have it. Some history on sneakers and tennis shoes. Now go get your sneakers cleaned.