SI Vault
 
THE ATHLETIC SHOE TREE
October 27, 1992
Not even the most prescient ancient Egyptian wearing sandals made of plant fiber could have envisioned today's athletic footwear: Coming soon, shoes that emit a red light on impact. From 1868, when the flat-soled rubber-and-canvas shoe was introduced, to the early 1970s, the sneaker developed at a modest pace. Then Bill Bowerman, track coach at Oregon, accelerated the process with a variety of creations, including the Moon Shoe, the sole of which consisted of latex poured into his wife's waffle iron. From Bowerman's tinkering came a conglomerate, Nike. In the '70s (the jogging decade), the '80s (the aerobics decade) and the '90s (the gadget decade), buyers hungered for the shoe juste and spawned a $12 billion industry. And through it all, the 1916 Keds slipper survives intact.
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October 27, 1992

The Athletic Shoe Tree

Not even the most prescient ancient Egyptian wearing sandals made of plant fiber could have envisioned today's athletic footwear: Coming soon, shoes that emit a red light on impact. From 1868, when the flat-soled rubber-and-canvas shoe was introduced, to the early 1970s, the sneaker developed at a modest pace. Then Bill Bowerman, track coach at Oregon, accelerated the process with a variety of creations, including the Moon Shoe, the sole of which consisted of latex poured into his wife's waffle iron. From Bowerman's tinkering came a conglomerate, Nike. In the '70s (the jogging decade), the '80s (the aerobics decade) and the '90s (the gadget decade), buyers hungered for the shoe juste and spawned a $12 billion industry. And through it all, the 1916 Keds slipper survives intact.

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