Kicks

The Great American Story of Sneakers
Narrated by: Christopher J. Grove
Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A cultural history of sneakers, tracing the footprint of one of our most iconic fashions across sports, business, pop culture, and American identity

When the athletic shoe graduated from the beaches and croquet courts of the wealthy elite to streetwear ubiquity, its journey through the heart of American life was just getting started. In this rollicking narrative, Nicholas K. Smith carries us through the long 20th century as sneakers became the totem of subcultures from California skateboarders to New York rappers, the cause of gang violence and riots, the heart of a global economic controversy, the lynchpin in a quest to turn big sports into big business, and the muse of high fashion. Studded with larger-than-life mavericks and unexpected visionaries - from genius rubber inventor, Charles Goodyear, to road-warrior huckster Chuck Taylor, to the feuding brothers who founded Adidas and Puma, to the track coach who changed the sport by pouring rubber in his wife's waffle iron - Kicks introduces us to the sneaker's surprisingly influential, enduring, and evolving legacy.

©2018 Nicholas Smith (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"No background (or interest, even) in footwear is required to enjoy this entertaining read.... Readers of sports history, popular culture, and business will be fascinated by Smith’s exciting, informative, and multifaceted narrative of the major roles the sneaker has played in U.S. branding, perceptions, and culture." (Booklist)

"Smith follows his fascination, sprinting through the evolution of the planet's hippest, most popular footwear, a history that goes way beyond sports and into the streets of the youth culture.... A cornucopia of factoids and fun asides bursting with a wealth of in-depth information on every aspect of sneakers, from their birth to their current and continuing explosive popularity." (Kirkus)

"Nicholas Smith...freez[es] iconic moments and zoom[s] in on the overlooked footwear....The story of sneakers is, as Smith's subtitle suggests, an American one: of humble origins and unapologetic success, of self-expression through consumerism and association with celebrity, of a product being put on a pedestal and a brand name serving as an artist's signature...Filled with interesting trivia." (Ash Carter, The New York Times Book Review)

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