"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


How It Happened!: Sneakers: The Cool Stories and Facts Behind Every Pair by Stephanie Warren Drimmer, illustrated by Dan Sipple

Union Square Kids, New York. 2023.
Target Audience: Grades 4-6
Find out how sneakers took over the world in this fact-filled nonfiction book, part of a series about the stories behind cool objects! From going to school to shopping at the mall, sneakers are one of the most comfortable ways to get around. But how did these rubbery soles become everyone’s favorite shoe to stomp in? Readers will love learning about the story behind sneakers, from the world’s oldest shoe to the latest designer sneaker drop . . . and everything in between! (Publisher)

I loved this colorful, easy-to-read book all about sneakers. The book is divided into three sections: 1. How it all started; 2. How sneakers got off the ground; 3. How they took over the world. From the history of easy footwear to the creation of different brands, this book tells the whole tale of sneaker from start to current day. I felt like I was reading a history close to my own, since I've been around during the time frame many sneaker brands have come into existence. 

Starting in 1916 when the US Rubber Company launched Keds and sneakers came into existence. The origin of the word "sneakers" is not known for sure but Keds claimed that their rubber-soled shoes were so quiet one could sneak up on someone without making any noise. 

In 1936 Jesse Owens, the fast man on earth at the time, wore a pair of shoes during the Hitler Olympics made for him by the Dassler Brothers. After the Olympics, the shoes became very popular and the brothers formed a company. In 1948 a fight between the brothers caused them each formed their own company -- Adidas and Puma. Soon the companies were specializing their shoes for different sports.

In 1971, 30 miles from where I lived in Oregon, Bill Bowerman, the track coach at the University of Oregon realized the pattern of the waffle he was eating would make a perfect grippy sole for a running shoe. He ruined a few waffle-makers along the way but in 1974 the first-ever waffle trainer hit the shelves. And a small-town company Bowerman had formed with Phil Knight, Nike, was born. In 1976, as a freshman at the University of Oregon, I took a running class and purchased my very first Nike trainers for the class. I remember them well. They were red nylon with a white swish. They are also were very simple by today's standards but I did pass the class, so that is what counts.

In 1982 when Aerobic classes were all the rage, all the other shoe companies passed on making a shoe specific for this very "female" activity. All the companies except, Reebok, which was a British company trying to compete with the US and German companies. Jane Fonda wore the Reebok Freestyle shoes on her exercise videos and a new superstar (shoe) was born. Another company, Vans, started marketing their shoes to skateboarders. Converse, which had been around since 1917, renamed their basketball shoes, Chuck Taylor All-Stars, and "Chucks" have never really gone out of style. The sneaker industry was booming.

In 1984 Nike used all of its advertising money on a young basketball player named Michael Jordan. He was to be the new face of the company and they designed a shoe just for him. Jordan ever got a percentage of the sales for every pair sold. These padded high-tops were called Air Jordans. The Air Jordan III sneakers were the first to use the Jumpman logo in bright read on the sneaker's tongue.

In 1986 Run-DMC was bringing a fresh sound to the music scene. The members always wore Adidas tracksuits and sneakers. They even sang a song called "My Adidas." This earned the group a sneakers endorsement, the first non-athletic group to get one.

Fast forward to today. There are people who call themselves sneakerheads who collect and trade sneakers. Often you will find them standing in line at stores to be the first to get the new designs. Sneakerheads can be found around the world. In some places like south Africa sneakers have even been used to make political statements.

"Shoes are boring. Wear Sneakers." -2021 Converse Ad Campaign

This is a fun book. I enjoyed it very much. I'm even smiling as I type this review. Check it out!


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