SOLED OUT: The Golden Age of Sneaker Advertising

Whether it was inspiring you to jump higher or making your favorite sport stars look like superheroes, sneaker advertising has transcended marketing to become something of an art form. Written by Simon "Woody" Wood, the 720 page book collects some of the industry's most memorable ads with thirteen brand-focused chapters that cover the 1970s all the way to the 2000s. 

"Soled Out was lovingly written and compiled by Simon Wood aka ‘Woody’, founder of the legendary Sneaker Freaker magazine. Featuring superstar athletes and cultural icons such as Andre Agassi, Paula Abdul, Bugs Bunny, Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, MC Hammer, Hulk Hogan, Shaquille O’Neal and Sigourney Weaver, every page is laced with unforgettable graphics and outrageous trash talk. This is the sneaker business expressed in its own muscular image and grandiose prose.

The book opens with a personal preface, followed by an analysis of key moments that include the embrace of pseudo-science, the auto-erotic obsession, the ubiquity of the Futura typeface, and the evolution of the cross-trainer craze. Thirteen brand-focused chapters covering all the major players are organised by sporting category. The core material is sourced from the 1970s to the year 2000, excepting the Converse chapter which documents the arrival of the iconic All Star basketball shoe in the 1930s. Fans of sports, footwear, fashion, illustration, photography and graphic design will enjoy the book’s punchy narrative, insider stories and historical revelations.

Soled Out is also an ode to the unapologetic, rule-breaking, whip-smart advertising talents that shaped a global industry and influenced generations of sneakerheads and sports enthusiasts. From the scientific to the political – and the hilariously risqué – no subject was off-limits. The melodramatic hyperbole and ultra-competitive banter intensified as brands went toe-to-toe throughout the 1990s. ‘Just Do It’ might be the world’s most renowned three-word catchphrase, but that didn’t stop ASICS from baiting Nike with ‘Serious Runners Don’t Put on Airs’ and ‘Just Doing It Doesn’t Do it’, while Reebok fired back with ‘Pump up and Air out’. The psychological boundaries between the brands were clearly defined by the tone of their advertising."


$69, phaidon.com

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