Running trainers have been a part of popular fashion for decades, but over the past few years they’ve really started to get a stranglehold on the market. Walk down the street and take a look at what people are wearing on their feet – I guarantee you won’t have to wait long until you spot a pair of fancy running trainers.

But when did they cross over into the mainstream and become part of everyday fashion? Probably not as recently as you thought, as running shoes were first introduced to the masses way back in the 1970s when the seminal Nike Cortez first hit the shelves. Back then, anyone with even a minor regard for fashion owned a pair of the revolutionary running trainers, marking a major shift as athletic footwear broke into the mainstream for the first time.

Over the next few decades, Nike would release a multitude of innovative designs that redefined the style, cementing itself as the go-to brand for fashion-friendly running shoes. Whether you were a professional athlete or regular member of the public, if you owned a pair of running trainers, chances are they bore the trademark Nike Swoosh along the lateral.

Since then, designers such as Kanye West have taken up the mantle and run with it – pardon the intentional pun! West’s Yeezy designs, which first arrived back in 2007 after an initial collaboration with Nike, have been instrumental in bringing running trainers back to the forefront of popular fashion, and the Yeezy Boost 350 v2 in particular has played a crucial role in re-popularising this style of footwear.

As well as Ye and the influence he’s had, other esteemed designers such as Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel and former Dior honcho Raf Simons have included stylish renditions of the running shoe in their collections, elevating the style further and pushing it into the realm of luxury fashion.

But despite all the contributors to the running trainer’s story of success, without the early input of Nike the style would never have reached the mainstream to begin with. For that, we owe it to the titanic brand’s co-founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman.

Bowerman was an Olympic-class track coach who aspired to make good-quality running shoes more widely available. He coached Knight, who was a member of his athletic team, and the two decided to join forces by setting up a small sportswear company together. Little did they know back then that this small company would eventually go on to become $100b corporation known the world over.

Bowerman came up with the blueprint for the Cortez, and coupled with Knight’s realisation that performance and fashion could be combined to create something the public would love, the design changed the world of footwear forever and helped Nike become the globally successful sportswear giant it is today.

Without these two men and their input – as well as that of more recent designers who have helped propel the running trainer to stardom – who knows what the world of popular footwear would currently look like? Once thing’s for sure, though, it’d be vastly different and a hell of a lot less exciting than the one we know and love today.

Head over to our resale market for a range of buy and sell options on exclusive new trainers from brands such as Air Jordan, Yeezys, Nike Air Max and much more.