Sneaker Obsession, All Soled Out

Vintage sneaker ads offer a window to the past in “Soled Out”, a new books by the editor of Sneaker Freaker.

Article by Simon Wood

A Vans ad from 1984 promotes Breakers, a performance shoe designed for breakdancing. The style (described in the book as “brogued-out boxing boots”) was not a hit.

Australia has more than its fair share of sneakerheads, with overnight queues for limited-edition footwear “drops” becoming routine. Their periodical of choice? The aptly named Sneaker Freaker.

The magazine’s founder, Simon Wood, has now compiled a coffee-table tome titled “Soled Out: The Golden Age of Sneaker Advertising”, a stunning 720-page ode to the witty campaigns, hyperbolic prose and Futura typeface that defined billboards and magazines from the 1970s to the 2000s. Get in quick.

This 1986 campaign for Big Nike sneakers (right page) is typical of Nike’s combative approach. On the left page, a 1982 ad for Air Force 1, another one of the brand’s basketball shoes.

The basketball star Michael Jordan’s feet star in a 1985 ad for Nike’s Air Jordan 1 sneakers, a style that established the brand’s dominance on the court, which continues today.

An ad for Argonaut running shoes, part of a 1996 campaign by Adidas, which ran relatively conservative advertising material before changing tack in the late 1990s.

A version of this article appears in print in our fourth edition, Page 64 of T Australia with the headline:
“Just For Kicks”
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