Athletic shoes refer to a certain kind of shoes that are specifically designed for sports activities. That said, the concept is not new to the world. These shoes started their journey a century ago and have evolved significantly since then. Athletic shoes aid sports personnel in elevating their performance while availing of the comfort offered by the shoes. Whether it is a sophisticated sport like golf, or a crowd cheering one like football, athletic shoes are required in all.

To elaborate further on athletic shoes, here we have mentioned its history, types and other necessary details. 

History of Athletic Shoes 

The modern athletic shoe as we know it today has its roots in the 19th century. Below is the short history of athletic shoes.

  • 1800s to 1900s: Early athletic shoes resembled leather dress shoes. These shoes have spikes on the bottom, providing lightweight support for long distance running. These rubber soled canvas shoes got popular after World War I. 

  • 1920s to 1940s: It was the era when 2 brothers named Adi and Rudolf Dassler began a sports shoe business in Germany. Later the businesses became market leaders of athletic shoes namely, Adidas and Puma. 

  • 1950s to 1960s: The invention of lighter, faster running shoes, led to the creation of Blue Ribbon Sports, by Bill Bowerman. Now known as Nike. 

  • 1970s to 1980s: The development of gender specific shoes, and air cushioning technology was introduced. In this era, shoes catering to the physical requirements of athletes were also introduced. 

  • 1980s to 2000s: Revolutionised shoe design with the introduction of visible heel cushioning bubble technology. The 2000s was the era when minimalist shoes that mimicked the barefoot experience were hyped.

  • 2010 to 2013: Continued advancements in shoe technology, focusing on lighter materials and personalized designs. Unveils boost technology, featuring energy returning capsules for enhanced cushioning.

  • 2014 to Present: Industry focus shifted towards sustainability and eco friendly materials.

Types of Athletic Shoes  

Mentioned below are different types of athletic shoes available in the market.

Training Shoes

Training shoes are multi purpose and can be used for a wide range of sports activities. These shoes feature a flexible forefoot offering exceptional comfort. Moreover, adaptable support and additional cushioning make it an ideal choice. 

Running Shoes

These shoes are designed with ample cushioning to absorb shock, with a focus on protecting the front and heel of the foot. Therefore, shoes are known for saving athletes from tendinitis, splints, and fractures. Alongside this, the running shoes also increase forward motion enhancing running performance. 

Basketball Shoes

Basketball shoes have a thick, stiff sole that makes them ideal for sports. The thick sole supports high jumps and comfortable landing. Furthermore, these shoes also offer higher traction and stability.  

Football Shoes

Football shoes typically feature a center toe cleat and a stiffer sole compared to other athletic shoes. These shoes provide extra ankle support leading to additional stability, support, and traction. 

Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes are soft soles built to withstand quick side to side movements and rapid footwork. Along with this, athletes can also leverage from additional support and cushioning provided by the shoes.  

Cycling Shoes

Cycling Shoes are designed to match specific cycling types, these cycling shoes vary in design and sole stiffness. However, sunken cleats and flexible soles for comfortable walking are signature in all the shoes.

How to Buy Athletic Shoes

A wide range of athletic shoes are available in the market that athletes can choose from. However, after deciding the appropriate type, buying athletic shoes can be a daunting task for many.

The following steps elaborate in detail on how to buy athletic shoes. 

Step 1: Select a Speciality Store

If you want to buy genuine athletic shoes, opt for a specialty store. The speciality stores deal in a single niche offering multiple options to choose from. Alongside this, these stores often have trained individuals who can offer you the best. 

Step 2: Consider the Fit

It is important to check the fit when you buy athletic shoes. Remember, your toe should be able to wiggle, after tying laces. Furthermore, try to walk or run a few steps in the shoes to ensure they are comfortable.

Step 3: Examine Heel Properly

After comfort, examine whether the shoe heel fits or not. Make sure your heel does not slip while walking or running. Try a firm grip on the shoe to your heel.

Step 4: Opt for Sport Specific Shoes

Only buy shoes that are specific and suitable for your physical activity. 

Things To Consider Before Buying Athletic Shoes

The following are the things to consider before buying athletic shoes.


It is important to ensure that the shoe bends at the toe box as it can keep your toe safe from suppression. 

Arch Support

Make sure your shoe has enough arch support, as arch support is the most crucial thing to keeping your feet, knees, hips, back, and body in proper alignment. That said, without proper arch support, there is a risk of orthotics and other related health issues. 

Proper Fit

Choose a shoe that properly fits, as it is necessary for comfort and performance. Without being too loose or too tight the shoes provide enough room for toe movement.


Stability is crucial, make sure that the back of the shoe holds the heel in place adequately, providing a firm grip.

This was all about athletic shoes. The journey of athletic shoes started a century ago when it resembled that of leather shoes. Since then, the shoe industry has significantly benefited from technological advancements completely transforming the shoes. That said, modern athletic shoes are lightweight, comfortable and provide extra traction.

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