September 11, 2018 at 7:15pm

Book cover image for Kicks : the great American story of sneakersKicks : the great American story of sneakers

by Nicholas Smith

Published: New York : Crown, [2018]

Call number: GV749.S64 S58 2018

Publisher Description: "'It's gotta be the shoes.' When Spike Lee said it to Michael Jordan in a 1989 commercial, it was with a wink and a nod--what makes MJ so good? His Nike Air Jordan IIIs, of course. But as Nicholas Smith reveals in this captivating history, Lee's conclusion also speaks to the sneaker's surprising journey into the heart of American life. In Kicks, we follow the humble athletic shoe from the croquet courts of the elite to fields, parks, and streets everywhere, and we watch as sneakers become the calling card of California skaters and New York MCs, the spark of riots and gang violence, the heart of a global economic controversy, the muse of haute couture, and a lynchpin in the transformation of big sports into big business. Along the way, we meet the visionaries of sneaker history: genius rubber inventor Charles Goodyear, risking everything--again and again--to get his formula right; the warring brothers who started dueling global shoe empires; road-warrior Chuck Taylor, hawking shoes out of his trunk; the hard-charging, Shakespeare-quoting track coach who changed his sport by pouring rubber into his waffle iron; and many more mavericks, hustlers, and dreamers. With a footprint as broad as its subject, Kicks introduces us to the sneaker's unexpectedly influential, enduring, and evolving legacy."