Ever since Jeff Spicoli sported those Vans checkerboard shoes in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, footwear has played cameo roles in pop culture. Probably even before that, but my general frame of reference starts with 80’s movies.
Continuing with the movie theme, shoes were featured in two early Chevy Chase films, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Fletch. In Vacation, Cousin Eddie bought Clark a shiny new pair of white patent leather shoes with a buckle. When presented with these pimp-inspired shoes, all Clark could say is: “Eddie..you shouldn’t have..you REALLY shouldn’t have.” In Chase’s other film, Fletch (this author’s favorite movie), Chevy is often times seen with a pair of classic LA Lakers inspired Converse Weapons. Moving from the big screen to the small screen, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City is often heard talking about her shoe fetish, especially her love for Manolo Blanik shoes.
Besides movies and television, shoes have also played bit parts, or in some cases been spotlighted, in music and in real life dramas. Run DMCs early success was due in part to their ode to their sneakers in “My Adidas”. In fact, adidas probably owes most of their early success to Run DMC, as they not only had songs about their shoes, but the guys in the group were pretty much outfitted from head to toe in their product.
In 1994, the OJ Simpson case was everywhere in the national headlines. One of the most incriminating pieces of evidence that the prosecution had were the shoe footprints found near the crime scene. It was discovered that these footprints were tied to a pair of size 12 Bruno Magli shoes. OJ just happened to be photographed a year earlier with those exact shoes. Coincidence, maybe?
There are of course lots of other iconic shoes/brands that have attained lofty status. Nike owes much of its success on their Michael Jordan inspired Air Jordan series. And where would British Knights be without Derrick Coleman endorsing their shoes? Well..maybe that one wasn’t too memorable. But you get the idea?.