When a messenger started the history of running shoes development he probably did not wear what we would know to day as athletic footwear. Either he would have worn the same military sandals that he fought in, or he might have run barefooted.

Some people still argue that it is better not to wear shoes for running. In fact, Zulu soldiers were forced to toughen their feet by stamping thorns into the ground. In this way they were able to acquire permanent pumps because the soles of their feet were thick layers of hide that could carry them over rough ground without injury or pain.

A man called Walt Webster thought up the idea of sticking a rubber sole to canvas shoes way back in 1832. They proved useful for tennis and croquet, and were also useful for thieves who found they could sneak around silently in them. Such items are still called sneakers.

The man who really started everything was Adolf Dassler. He prepared shoes for the 1936 Olympic Games, now known as 'Hitler's Games.' They were popular, but forgotten in the heat of war. After the war, conditions had changed. Dassler had to use scraps of rubber and canvas for his shoes. He devised the idea of putting three strips of leather across the top of each shoe to strengthen it.

After the war, the leisure industry began to expand, and with it the market for all kinds of shoes. Pastimes like jogging involved thousands of people on the roads wearing out leather. This was very good for manufacturers, and for sports shops that had long rows of goods waiting to be sold, at steadily rising prices.

The materials used altered from plain leather and rubber to lightweight mesh on the uppers. These allowed for feet to breathe and were very flexible, allowing for ease of movement.

The large numbers of athletes demanding new improvements in sporting footwear stimulated sports science. Detailed analysis of exactly how people run, striking the ground with one foot at a time gave even more impetus to the production of new designs. Some ankles turn in, and some turn out. The many thousands of times that this happens creates patterns of wear which can be noted by experts who will recommend appropriate new purchases. So the industry became increasingly sophisticated.

To counter the incidence of injuries designs were created to lessen jarring and jolting. These can cause serious hip and knee problems in young and old athletes. One answer is to have gel built into the sole in order to create a sensation of lightness, or bouncing.

Faster personal best performances of women have far exceeded those of men in recent decades. The many thousands of female athletes have created demand for more attractive wear in delicate colours and fashionable designs. Manufacturers follow the needs of their customers, and also do their bit to nudge them towards needs they never knew they had. This too has marked recent trends in the history of running shoe development.

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Author's Bio: 

Natasha's number one goal in life is to have a great impact on others lives and show that everyone can achieve success.