Sneaker Century


Keyser, Amber J. Sneaker Century: A History of Athletic Shoes

January 1st 2015 by Twenty-First Century Books (CT)

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I am always looking for interesting nonfiction for my students, and my own favorite topic to read about is anything having to do with popular culture. What better than a 64 page overview of athletic shoes? This is really the best treatment I have seen, starting with ancient shoes found by archaeologists and going from there! There is just enough detail about topics such as Chuck Taylor being a basketball players and shoe salesman, the genesis of most of the modern shoe companies, and the evolution of running shoes from Adi Dassler’s shoes used by Olympic hopefuls to the proliferation of shoes today. Even “sneakerheads”, people who collect limited edition shoes, are covered. It makes me feel tremendously old to know that the modern running shoe evolved during my lifetime– I remember being told in elementary school that any athletic shoes used for gym class needed to be able to be bent in half so the heel touched the toe. That’s when Keds were the shoe of choice, and fancy kicks were only worn by elite athletes. I do wish a little more information about the Keds and Saucony companies had been given, since they have been around for so long. Still, a must purchase for middle school libraries.


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