1 One of the earliest references to “sneaks” appears in James Greenwood\’s 1873 account of London life, \’In Strange Company.\’
2 The management team that resurrected Adidas in the \’90s was made up primarily of ex Nike execs.
3 Nike Inc.\’s finances have never been in the red.
4 A.G. Spalding made the first basketball shoe, around 1900.
5 It took Nike three launches to make its skateboarding line a success.
6 Nike could sue Nigo, but the company probably wouldn\’t win.
Anyone who\’s ever looked at one of A Bathing Ape\’s popular Bapestas has surely noticed their striking similarity to Nike\’s Air Force 1s-sans swoosh and plus gaudy colorways. Though neither Nike nor Nigo will comment on this astounding likeness, one can\’t help but wonder if Nike could sue Nigo for patent infringement? “If [a sneaker is] functionally the same but looks a little different, you\’re safe,” says Dick Turner, a partner at the Sughrue law firm in Washington, D.C. “Changing things just a little bit will change the look enough where it will be outside of the design patent. To win on a design patent it almost has to be copied.” Sneaker companies file for design and technology patents by submitting a drawing to the United States Patent and Trademark Offices. (According to the USPTO\’s website, Nike owns over 2,000 patents.) While design patents are a fairly recent phenomenon, it\’s much easier to file for technology infringement. “Take the [Reebok] Pumps,” Turner says. “Anybody else that makes a pump-able shoe is going to have problems regardless of what it looks like. It covers a pretty big area of real estate.” And thus it seems that Nigo may continue pumping Air Faux-ce 1s all the livelong day, ay!
7 Known as a California skate company, Etnies actually started in France.
8 Goodyear, a division of the U.S. Rubber Company, is the original manufacturer of Keds.
9 Samuel L. Jackson and Eric Clapton are celebrity fans of Hiroki Nakamura\’s exclusive Japanese sneaker brand VISVIM.
10 Oakley designed sneakers for the U.S. Special Forces.
11 Jerry Seinfeld owns over 500 pairs of mint condition white sneakers.
12 By dividing the model number by 10, you can determine the approximate retail price of a New Balance sneaker. (i.e. NB574=$57.40)
13 The letters D and C are the 4th and 3rd letters in the alphabet, and many of the details on DC\’s shoes are based either on 3s, 4s, or the combination of the two, 7.
14 The Air Force 1 was the first basketball shoe to use air technology when it debuted in 1982.
15 The Air Max 1, which debuted in \’87, was the first Nike to expose the air bubble.
16 Jacob The Jeweler created a diamond encrusted Allen Iverson “Question” sneaker with 246 white-gold diamonds. It sold in 2004 in the Eastbay catalog holiday gift guide for $65,000. What a steal!
17 Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman started Blue Ribbon Sports, Nike\’s forerunner company with $500 each. B.R.S. is now a division of Nike specializing in clothes that complement its kicks.
18 Customization is all the rage today, but it\’s nothing new to vans.
For those who believe Nike i.d. is the best thing since shelltoes, peep game. Before sneaker customization went from niche hobby to overpriced mainstream trend, Vans was on it. With its understated designs, Vans may not seem like a beacon of cutting-edge creativity. But don\’t get it twisted; the company started customizing sneakers in March 1966. Founder Paul Van Doren believed in selling shoes directly to customers and allowed them to bring fabric to the factory to be turned into a shoe. “We\’re known for having funky patterns and doing Hawaiian prints, and stuff like that,” explains Vans spokesperson Chris Overholser. “And the way that started was people would bring in their board shorts that got too ratty, and we could pull fabric from them and make them into shoes.” The company put a halt to its custom business when its factories moved overseas in 1995. In 2004, Vans got back in the game with its website, shop.vans.com. Who want what?
19 Rocky Balboa wore Converse. The “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have his bronzed soles set in concrete.
20 In 2001, K-Swiss acquired the rights to Royal Elastics. Royal Elastics prides itself on making sneakers that are “elasticated.” Ironically, K-Swiss are designed to prevent stretching.
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