5 Times Sports Influenced Fashion

From the court to the closet, MaximBet breaks down the most significant intersections of sports and fashion.



(Nike)

The worlds of fashion and sports seem inextricably linked, having spawned style staples from Air Jordans and Adidas track suits to polo shirts and yoga pants. And if you’re looking for a sportsbook with a style like no other, check out MaximBet and take advantage of a fashionable Welcome Offer*.

Here, five times sports influenced mainstream fashion.

Sneakers are arguably the most well-known (and well-worn) pieces of sports gear to become part of our everyday wardrobe. The history of the humble running shoe actually goes back to the 18th century. It begins in 1839 when American Charles Goodyear invents vulcanized rubber. This innovation led to the creation of “plimsoll” shoes featuring a rubber sole. The US Rubber Company redesigned the shoe and developed and started selling the ever-popular Keds.

In 1917, Converse released its own iconic shoe, the Chuck Taylor All Star. That shoe was worn by the US basketball team at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, while US runner and four-time gold medal winner Jesse Owens wore runners designed by Adolf (Adi) and Rudolf Dassler, brothers whose rivalry would go on to found the Adidas and Puma brands. But these shoes were still mostly used by athletes. Fast-forward to the 1950s and rebellious teens are the ones starting to wear sneakers, much to the consternation of parents.

But it wasn’t until the 70s and 80s that brands like Nike really started marketing sneakers to the general population, particularly with the launch of Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan brand. Soon, sneakers were a staple of streetwear, with hip-hop helping to bring the item squarely into the mainstream. Rappers like Run DMC were notably wearing their black-and-white Adidas trainers everywhere they went, and the trend continues today with Kanye West’s much-coveted Adidas Yeezys.

It’s weird, but the “polo” shirt was not actually originally designed for polo. It was created for tennis. Invented by French tennis player Rene Lacoste, the short-sleeved collared cotton shirt was designed as a comfortable alternative to the restrictive flannel pants and sweater “tennis whites” usually worn. He sported the look at the 1926 US Open, and after retiring in 1933 he started a company to sell his polo shirts for tennis.

His shirts featured a crocodile logo in recognition of his nickname “Le Crocodile.” The shirts became known as “polo” shirts, as polo players readily adopted Lacoste’s new tennis shirts instead of the long-sleeved collared shirts they had previously worn. By the 1950s, despite having been created for tennis by a tennis player, it was known as a polo shirt. The shirt eventually moved from the locker room to our closets thanks to TV and movie stars embracing the casual wear, inspiring mods and preppies everywhere.

Letterman jackets started out as a prestige item for athletes, but today they make the scene everywhere anyone wants to pull off that “All-American” jock look. The jacket style traces its roots back to Harvard University’s baseball team and an effort to distinguish its best players. In 1865, their players started wearing thick wool sweaters adorned with the university’s “H.” Only the best performing players got to keep the uniforms, making it a sign of achievement.

The heavy wool uniform soon evolved into pull-over cardigans and the wool-and-leather jackets we recognize today. It wasn’t long before the varsity jacket was adopted across the US as a status symbol in high schools and colleges. The style then spread to pro sports and fan merchandise, where it began its foray into the mainstream and pop culture. You may remember Michael Jackson wore a red and gold varsity jacket in his iconic “Thriller” video, and hip-hop artists like RUN DMC and NWA took the style to the streets in videos and on-stage. Today, different fashion brands offer their own version of the varsity jacket, and its appeal doesn’t seem to be diminishing any time soon.

Tracksuits are pretty ubiquitous today. Kids hanging in the park wear them, adults go to the grocery store in them, although they’re also associated with a certain facet of organized crime. In fact, most people sporting tracksuits today likely never wear them for any actual sporting pursuits.

We can thank martial artist and Hong Kong cinema icon Bruce Lee for popularizing the item. The nylon and cotton color-coordinated pants and jerseys had been around since the 1960s, but when the cooler-than-cool Lee began donning them in his movies, the stretchy sport garment shot into our collective fashion consciousness.

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Yoga pants are another piece of sports apparel that has transcended its original use. What started as something meant only to be worn behind closed yoga studio doors has evolved into a massively popular and widespread fashion phenomenon. It’s also emerged as a controversial trend within academia too, with many schools banning students from wearing the form-fitting leggings. If you’re looking for someone to blame, Athleticwear company Lululemon is usually credited with taking yoga leggings into the mainstream and every Real Housewives alum’s Instagram feed.

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