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A Brief Photo History of Track Spikes

October 16th, 2012

The first track spikes date back to the 1850′s. They were made by runners looking to increase traction on dirt tracks. The first ‘spikes’ consisted of little more than nails driven through the sole of the shoe. Kangaroo leather, touted for its strength and low weight, found its way into the uppers of early spikes. This leather would continue to see widespread use in the uppers of competition shoes until the 1970′s. The pair above, belonging to Earl Spencer of Wimbledon during the 1860′s, more closely resembles a traditional dress oxford than a running shoe.

The time: Early 1900′s. The place: a rural Bavarian town called Herzogenaurach. The story: A cobbler by the name of Adi Dassler begins handcrafting sports shoes, including track spikes. His shoes become known for their build quality, and with the money he earns he goes on to found Adidas, today one of the largest sportswear companies in the world. The pair shown above was one of Dassler’s early spikes, dating back to 1930. For the full story on Adi and his brother Rudi (founder of Puma), we highly recommend Sneaker Wars, by Barbara Smit. Read more…

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