The history of trainers

Inspired to don some running shoes by the Olympics? Think that trainers are an art-form?

A pair of rather garish Pumas

Source: Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

A pair of rather garish Pumas

Yorkshire-based sneaker aficionados could do far worse than to have a peek at the Sport to Street exhibition opening in Barnsely next month, which sets out a visual history of the training show.

Checkerboard Vans

Source: Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

Checkerboard Vans

The show will trace the history of the shoes from its birth as a soft-soled tennis pump, as sported by none other than everyone’s favourite tubby wife-killer Henry VIII, right up to the fashion staple it has become today.

Adidas mid-tops

Source: Crooked Tongues

Adidas mid-tops

While rubber-soled footwear for sports had become more popular during the 19th century, it was only really in the 1970s that they came to be seen as fashion items, led by US companies such as Converse and Keds.

The classic Nike Air Max

Source: Crooked Tongues

Nike Air Max

The aerobics fads of the 1980s saw the shoes come into their own – as did musicians such as Run DMC – rarely seen without their iconic Adidas Superstars.

Nike Blazers

Source: Crooked Tongues

Some fetching mustard Nike Blazers

As the craze for health and fitness became more mainstream, brands looked to how technology could move trainers into the realm of being both practical and on-trend.

Classic Adidas (we think these are Floridas - does anyone know for sure?)

Source: Crooked Tongues

Classic Adidas (we think these are Adistar Racers – does anyone know for sure?)

Showing all the big brands – Adidas, Nike, Puma, Reebok and New Balance – the exhibition aims to look beyond the visual and performance elements of trainers and delve into the relationships between brands and subcultures and between brands and celebrities.

 Sport to Street runs from 8 September-10 October at The Gallery at The civic, Hanson Street, Barnsley S70

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