How the film industry immortalised the sneaker industry, Pt.1

IN light of Swoosh-brand’s recent collaboration with television series, Stranger Things, it seemed only fitting to summarise some of the most influential moments in sneaker-film history.

If I were to mention sneakers made famous, and even sought-after due to their appearance in the wide-screen media, you wouldn’t be blamed for being able to single-out just two lines produced by Oregon giants, Nike. However, sneakers actually play a hugely important part in hundreds of films.

Most iconically, Nike designed and produced a set of Mags for the Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future franchise. This moment kicked-off a craving for self-lacing systems that were only recently seen integrated into Basketball-line releases, after Nike managed to reduce the component weight to a suitable level for competitive sportspeople.

Credit: All rights to Sony and


We then have the ‘Gump’ Cortez which, as their nickname dictates, were styled by a gentleman who enjoyed running. Over the years this colourway has seen endless iterations, from hopping between nylon and leather uppers, to an Ultra variation that stripped back anything that wasn’t necessary and formed a sleek, super-light version of the Cortez.

Credit: Paramount.

Another product of Nike’s intelligent marketing, was the set of black/silver/white Vandals that worked their way onto the feet of Kyle Reese in Terminator after Kyle Reese breaks into a department store to escape police. Nike were keen to re-vamp updated versions of the series with Air Force 1 highs, but costume designer Susan Matheson argued the Vandal had become a key component in the portrayal of Terminator films.

Credit: Orion Pictures and James Cameron.

From Asics’ sister-brand, Onitsuka, we have that Tiger Mexico ’66 that was seen in black/yellow on the feet of Bruce Lee in his final film – Game of Death. Dressing Asics in yellow and black became somewhat of a theme, when Tiger-Stripes decided to release a string of general release pairs with the colour-combination as well as close-partners and retailer BAIT.

Credit: All rights to Bruce Lee and Golden Harvest Concord Productions

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