The History of the Cross Training Shoe

Shoes designed specifically for athletes have been on the market for many years, however cross training shoes have only existed sin the 1990’s. Throughout the 80s people began to exercise a bit more. There was a huge influx of exercisers at gyms. However, the 80s didn’t see many elite athletes who were fully dedicated to getting a full body workout every time they went to the gym. Instead, these people would play basketball with their friends, or go hiking on a cool afternoon. These people didn’t spend a lot of money on exercise shoes yet, and Nike noticed this.

History Of Cross Training

How It Started with the Nike Air Trainer 1

Chlorophyll-Nike-Air-Trainer-1The Air Trainer 1 was Nike’s response to the influx of new exercisers in the 80s and 90s. This shoe was the first cross training shoe on the market, and it was designed by Tinker Hartfield.

Tinker Hartfield once worked as an architect, but he turned to shoe design after he watched numerous athletes come into the gym with one pair of shoes while they participated in numerous activities. An idea sparked in his head, and he realized that these people might benefit from an all around shoe that could provide protection and support for numerous activities.

Air Trainer 1 was first introduced in 1987 ( The shoe was super lightweight, and provided a lot of lateral support for people who participated in side to side movements. The shoe was also very flexible, and was perfect for running.

The Success of the Shoe

The Air Trainer 1 was popularized by John McEnroe and a few professional basketball players. By wearing the shoes, these people advertised for Nike, and brought a lot of  media to the brand new cross training shoes. In the mid-1990s, Nike reissued the Air Trainer due to its popularity. Other companies such as Reebok, Saucony, Asics and New Balance jumped on the bandwagon and also created their own cross training lines.

What it is Today

Today, the cross training shoe is marketed to athletes who love to participate in numerous sports and exercise regimes. Cross trainers have saturated the market, and have created a new category in athletic shoes. Today’s consumer now has numerous color choices, style choices and materials so they can find their perfect shoe.

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