When it comes to footwear there are some shoes that stand the test of time like the Converse Chuck Taylors, which are pretty much unchanged since they launched in 1917, the Adidas Samba which has been in production since 1950 and the Nike Cortez which has been the same since 1972, but for every one of these classics there are a thousand forgotten trainers that didn’t win the hearts and minds of the public. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the forgotten brands who have fallen by the wayside.
British Knights were a trainer brand that reached their peak in the early 1990s. Originally launched in 1983, they rode a wave of popularity for a few years with some extensive marketing campaigns. They became a fixture on the music scene with endorsements form MC Hammer and featured in music videos for other acts of the era including hip-hop legends Public Enemy, Technotronic and Beats international. Kurt Cobain was even pictured wearing a pair. The brand relaunched in 2014 and you can still find them sporadically.
LA Gear originally launched in 1978 and used celebrity endorsement heavily to raise awareness of the brand with top sportsmen of their era wearing them including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Joe Montana and Wayne Gretsky. By the early 1990s, their profile had been raised and they were starting to appear everywhere. They also used music stars to promote their brand with Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul creating their own lines.
Paula Abdul’s shoe became one of the company’s best sellers. The most memorable line they had for me was the LA Lights line that was launched in 1992.
These light-up trainers were soon seen around the world and were a favourite with kids everywhere. I suppose from a certain point of view they were the first wearable.
Hi-Tec are a brand I remember well from my youth. There was always somebody I knew who had Hi-Tec. Let’s face facts, they were never cool. The trainers that I remember are the Silver Shadows and the Squash. They were very functional trainers that were great at serving their purpose, but you were never going to be cool wearing them. They are still very much on the go, finding a niche in hiking boots and Dadcore “ugly trainers.”