Sneakers are a kind of shoes whose sole are flat and flexible rubber, and the upper part is made of leather. These types of shoes were designed for outdoor activities mainly as sportswear but over the recent years have seen changes and modifications and are worn modernly for functions that are non-formal. They were worn during sporting activities such as tennis, basketball, baseball, athletics and other physical sports.
In England, these kinds of shoes are known as “trainers.” The names vary in different English-speaking countries in Africa, Australia, and Asia. In the old British English, they were referred as “plimsols” (Jones, 2006). This is because of their resemblance to the waterline of a ship. The waterline is used to mark up to what amount of cargo the ship can carry. In Welsh English, they are known as “daps” while in America this word refers to a form of greeting involving fist bumping, which was started by black Americans who were in the Navy as a greeting for the black movement. The word “sneakers” is mostly used in Florida and North Eastern parts of the United States of America while other places prefer using their slang to describe this shoe.
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People obsessed with sneakers, and in most cases have different brands of this kind of shoe are referred to as Sneakerheads. The various brands of sneakers are called a collection. They may range from modern sneakers to old school sneakers.
In Britain, this shoe dates back to early 18870’s when they got the name plimsols (Jones, 2006). Before the 1870’s, there was no difference between the right leg plimsol and the left one, since they both looked alike. However, this changed after 1870 where each shoe matched its foot, which made the shoe be referred to as sneakers. In early 1900’s they were integrated into the curriculum as one of the requirements for physical education. In 1895, J.W Foster and Sons designed the first gripped plimsols for track events and in 1924 summer Olympics, almost every athlete had this kind of shoe. In the United States of America, sneaker history dates back to 1892. However, the shoes were used in sporting activities, especially basketball in the year 1907. These shoes were mostly produced in large scale during international competitions.
The first plimsols or sneakers were made of rubber soles, and the top was made of canvas. The name sneakers came by the fact that these shoes were quiet being made of rubber soles. The upper part of the shoe made of canvas was below the ankle, but as time went by, the top was made to reach the ankle or just above the ankle. The design started to vary depending on the use of the shoes, most of them that were gripped were used for sporting activities especially track events. There was massive development on the sneaker shoes due to competitions from various brands such as Nike and Addidas. The events include making the shoe lighter, appealing to the eye and comfortable hence can reduce the probability of occurrence of some diseases such as osteoarthritis (Kerrigan, D. C.et al, 2003).
The most dominant brand of sneakers in the market is Nike. In the year 2011, Nike produced 9 million pairs sneakers Jordan iii black cement. These shoes were estimated to have generated a profit of 1.2 billion dollars. In 2013, sketchers brand overtook Adidas brand and became second but in comparison to Nike, the resell-trade-price is half that of Nike. The brand has kept it going by releasing fewer brands at a high cost called the limited edition with each Saturday releasing a new design. The brand has been compared to apple’s iphone in the cell phone industry.
The main reason why sneaker investment is a promising one is that the market is not regulated. There is no fixed price for an individual design; the prices are negotiable though they cannot go below certain limits. Even banks resale data to try and analyze retail foot ware. Before even the real cost could be figured out by consumers, the sneakers are usually out of stock and being resold. Since 2011, the Jordan Black 3 cement, a Nike design, has appreciated with a value of 162 percent. This is twice the profit that was made by Apple that same year. Sometimes the brands get re-released at double the prices of the original design. Josh Luber, a famous sneaker head compares sneaker collection to drugs due to massive amounts of profit they bring and addictions that come along with it. He even compares it to having fast moving stock that produces significant amounts of profit. In 2011, these sneakers could be obtained under 30 dollars, but now, the same pair goes for around 1,600 dollars and the prices are still going up. This has been attributed to the hype after the designs have been seen by famous celebrities like musicians and basketball players.
It all started when Nike signed a contract with Michael Jordan and convinced the public that the brand would make them fly. Sneakers have now become an art that attracts people like other arts such as photography and fashion. This has turned sneakers into an industry that is fast growing, and a sneaker culture is now on the rise. Like fashion, the sneaker is industry is growing each day with new designs each day from the different brands. When a store acquires a limited edition of sneakers, people camp outside on queues waiting for their time to be served.
To avoid queuing in lines of popular sneaker retailers, online marketing is also available. One can sell their sneakers anywhere on the globe. Hence, the online marketing has expanded the target market from a residential or a state to the whole world.
Availability of software that aids in this transaction has also reduced the risk of risks. An example of the software is called “campless.” This software enables the seller to analyze data of how their stock is doing and their history. This data can be used to acquire insurance from banks. This software also obtains data from other websites to come up with an estimate of how much a particular sneaker should go for.
Another important software is called “Stock x.” This software acts as a middle man. It protects both the buyer and the seller. In most cases when a customer complains about being sold a counterfeit product, they usually have the upper hand. But with this software, it confirms that the sneakers are original and in correct packaging. It also shows the prices that customers are already willing to pay for a particular design of the brand. “Stock x” also protects the identity of the it’s the one that deals directly with the customer.
Shoes are the first things that people are drawn to in an outfit. They are not only things used just to walk on, but they say much about us. They show fashionable we are but beyond style, they communicate much more; our sexual desires, aesthetic sense, social status, and personality. (Riello, G, & McNeil, P.2006)
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Sneakers can be a very promising investment. As per the research, the most promising brand is Nike due to the availability of a range of designs from the limited editions to the regular ones. Nike has spent thirty years rebranding itself and over the years, they have satisfied their customers. They have designed shoes that have a slight advantage over other shoes for various ages (Gould, N, 1985).
The presence of online seller protection software has also increased the safety of this industry.
Gould, N. (1985). Shoes versus sneakers in toddler ambulation. Foot & Ankle International, 6(2), 105-107.
Jones, N. (2006). The Plimsoll Sensation. Little, Brown.
Kerrigan, D. C., Karvosky, M. E., Lelas, J. L., & Riley, P. O. (2003). Men’s shoes and knee joint torques relevant to the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis. The Journal of Rheumatology, 30(3), 529-533.
Riello, G., & McNeil, P. (2006). Shoes: a history from sandals to sneakers. Berg.