Sneaker Century

A History of Athletic Shoes

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

Whether you call them kicks or sneakers, runners or gutties, you probably have a pair of athletic shoes in your closet. The earliest sneakers debuted in the 1800s and weren’t much more than a canvas upper and a flexible sole made of a crazy new material—rubber. The stuff might have been new to Americans then, but for thousands of years, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin of South America had been using latex made from the milky sap of hevea trees to protect their feet from rocks, sticks, and biting insects. Once Charles Goodyear figured out how to make the stuff more durable, sneakers were here to stay.

Early sneakers were initially designed for elite athletes, but kids and teens quickly adopted them. Some of the first brands included Converse, Brooks, and Saucony. German companies Adidas and Puma started up during World War II. The Nike shoe debuted in the 1970s (with a bit of inspiration from a waffle iron). As fitness crazes took off in the 1980s, people all over the world started buying the shoes for workouts and everyday wear. At about the same time, companies began hiring high-profile athletes and pop stars for big-dollar endorsements, and shoe sales soared into the stratosphere to the tune of billions of dollars each year.

In Sneaker Century, follow sneaker fashions and the larger-than-life personalities behind the best known athletic shoe brands in history. Learn how teen sneakerheads became important style makers and drove the success of NIKE, Inc., and other shoe companies. Look behind the scenes at the labor-intensive process of manufacturing sneakers. Explore the sneaker frontier of the future—recycled shoes, earth-friendly initiatives, and high-fashion statements. Get ready to speed through the Sneaker Century!

Format List Price Your Price Qty
978-1-46772-640-5
$34.65 $25.99
978-1-46776-309-7
$51.99 $38.99
Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Nonfiction, Young Adult
Subject Social Studies
Copyright 2015
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 64
Publication Date 2015-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 11.7
BISACS YAN019000, YAN053000, YAN005030
Dewey 685.31
Dimensions 7 x 9
Lexile 1180
ATOS Reading Level 7.6
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 170230
Accelerated Reader® Points 2.0
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Index, Primary source quotations/images, Reviewed, Source notes, and Table of contents

Awards

  • Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee, Nominated, 2017
  • NYC Reads 365 Recommended Reading List, Winner, 2015
  • YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, Winner, 2015

Reviews

School Library Journal

“Readers of all stripes will appreciate the role sneakers play in our lives. A fun and informative addition.” —School Library Journal

Booklist

“Keyser offers an illuminating synthesis of history, science, commerce, and sports that shows why kicks are where it’s at….This will be popular.” —Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“An illuminating and amusing look at a subject with much more history than one might expect.” —Kirkus Reviews

Author: Amber J. Keyser

Evolutionary biologist-turned-author Amber J. Keyser has a MS in zoology and a PhD in genetics. She writes both fiction and non-fiction for tweens and teens.
Her young adult novels include Pointe, Claw (Carolrhoda Lab, 2017), an explosive story about two girls claiming the territory of their own bodies, and The Way Back from Broken (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), a heart-wrenching novel of loss and survival (and a finalist for the Oregon Book Award). She is the co-author with Kiersi Burkhart of the middle grade series Quartz Creek Ranch (Darby Creek, 2017).
Her nonfiction titles include The V-Word (Beyond Words/SimonTeen, 2016), an anthology of personal essays by women about first-time sexual experiences (Rainbow List, Amelia Bloomer list, New York Public Library Best Book for Teens and Chicago Public Library Best Nonfiction for Teens) and Sneaker Century: A History of Athletic Shoes (Twenty-First Century Books, 2015), among numerous other titles.
Her forthcoming books include Tying the Knot: A World History of Marriage (Twenty-First Century Books, 2018) and Underneath It All: The History of Women's Underwear (Twenty-First Century Books, 2018). More information at www.amberjkeyser.com. Connect with Amber on Twitter @amberjkeyser.