Starting with the original Converse Chuck Taylor All Star from 1917 and culminating with Nike’s 2013 camo-print Kobe 8 System, A Visual Compendium of Sneakers hits sneaker high notes of the past century. “We cobbled together an assortment that not only illustrates the evolution of shoe design and technological advancements, but that also represents some of the most sought after styles in sneaker history,” says Rachel Mansfield, director of marketing for Pop Chart Lab, a Brooklyn-based company that turns cultural data into graphic prints.
Mansfield confesses there had to be a cap, lest the chart (24″ by 36″ and available on www.popchartlab.com for $32) grow 10-fold. “Early shoe designs were rooted in terms of their application to a given sport,” she says. “But, over time (especially in the 1950s, when James Dean wore stylish kicks in Rebel Without A Cause), sneaker design became more concerned with how a shoe complemented your outfit and what it said about your personal brand of self-expression.” Today, Mansfield says, sneakers have moved into the realm of collector-ism. “Some sneakerfreakers line their favorites up on shelves as hyper-colored museum pieces,” she says.
It sounds perfectly normal to us, of course.