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The very first Nike shoes were made in a waffle iron. The running field near the Oregon home of the runner and trainer Bill Bowerman was making a transition from cinder with an artificial surface, and then he wanted a sole without spikes that would give him, and his awesome trainees, needed traction because they ran onto it. The 3-dimensional lattice of the iron offered an answer, at the very least as far as the cheap nike shoes. As for the remainder of the style, a minimum of initially? It was utilitarian: produced by runners, for runners, and concerned mostly with making their wearers lighter, and thus faster, on the feet.

That Nike is now one of the greatest and most recognizable brands on earth is largely the doing of Bowerman’s partner, the person who recently declared his retirement from the company: Phil Knight. Knight transformed Nike, not overnight but near to it, in to a global powerhouse, known for both its achievements as well as its controversies. During this process, however, he did something different: He turned athletic footwear into fashion.

It’s as a result of Knight that, as an example, Kanye West features a signature shoe, the Yeezy Boost. Which, last January, Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel and Raf Simons of Dior sent signature sneakers down their runways. And that, last September, Alice Temperley styled her runway looks with sneakers. And this Mo’ne Davis, she of Little League World Series fame, has released a type of fashion sneakers for females ($75 a set). Knight knew, in the beginning, whatever we take for granted today: that even the most practical of footwear-including the shoes we wear for such dull reasons as performance and, worse, comfort-may also work as fashion. He wasn’t in the shoe business, Knight insisted. He is at the entertainment business.

Sneakers started as luxury items. The initial rubber-soled athletic shoes debuted inside the U.S. within the 1890s-products, as the treads were the idea, of the U.S Rubber Company. Rubber, during those times, was expensive, and leisure time was rare; a combination meant the innovative shoes were worn, for the most part, only by elites. The sneaker market grew, however, during the early 20th century-particularly after World War I, whose effects had triggered a national emphasis on fitness and athleticism. Since the nation’s first gym rats came to the scene, shoe companies began cheap nike shoes wholesale to suit their demands.

Responding for that democratization came among the earliest nods toward shoes-as-fashion. In 1921, to create its version from the newly popular shoes besides those of its competitors, one company recruited wemjjs basketball player-both to enhance their shoe’s design and then put his name on the final product. The company? The Converse Rubber Shoe Company. The athlete? Chuck Taylor.

It wasn’t until Nike emerged, however, beneath the marketing leadership of Knight, that sneakers and fashion became nearly inextricably connected. The Nike Cortez, released in 1972, took benefit from twin cultural trends-conspicuous consumption and a renewed obsession with fitness (running, particularly)-to promote the be-waffled sole Bill Bowerman had invented. The Cortez was released in the height of the 1972 Olympics-and Nike had shrewdly ensured that the athletes on the Olympic field were clad within the shoes. And also the shoe’s design, too, had moved far from athleticism alone. Available in a variety of colors, and featuring, for the first time, the iconic “swoosh” logo, the footwear were meant, CNN notes, “for people who wished to stand out on the dance floor track and also the running track.”

Seeing the possible, other designers joined the party. In 1984, Gucci released its iconic Gucci Tennis shoes. In 1985, betting over a rookie athlete named Michael Jordan, Nike itself released its Air Jordans. (As worn on-court, CNN notes, these shoes were initially banned from the NBA commissioner David Stern, on the grounds they violated his stipulation that court shoes be majority-white. Jordan wore them anyway. Nike happily paid the fines.) And in 1986, Run-DMC released “My Adidas”-not the first musical ode to footwear, but a telling one. The song marked on the one hand the birth from the intimate artistic and commercial relationship between hip-hop and sneakers; additionally, it signaled the shoes had solidified their status as status symbols.

Today, because of this, athletic shoe releases are met with the same type of fervent enthusiasm that fashion shows are, and not simply in sneakerhead culture. Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 collection sold out on Saturday in a quarter-hour; in short order, a set of the footwear appeared on eBay having an price tag of $10,000. Because of the creative marketing Nike and Phil Knight pioneered, cheap nike shoes free shipping are now sought after, and collected, and discussed, and infused with artistry. That is also to state: They may be fashion. “There’s this prestige factor,” a sports industry analyst told The Washington Post. “If I could buy a pair of LeBrons, this means I’ve got $175-and you don’t.”