The initial concept for the Freestyle can be traced back to 1981, although it wasn’t formally released until September 1982. Perhaps Reebok designers had an inkling that the new health craze called aerobics would soon take the world by storm, but even if they did, it wouldn’t quite explain how deftly they were able to produce the perfect sneakers to complement spandex leotards, pastel sweatbands and chunky leg warmers. With its rounded toe and slimline shape topped off with petite velcro straps, the Freestyle became a quintessential component of the ‘80s uniform. Debuting at $39.95 in stunning all-white ‘garment leather’, unprecedented demand saw the introduction of close to 80 different colours within a few short years. In the history of modern sportswear, few sneakers can lay claim to having changed the fundamentals of an entire industry, but with the Freestyle, Reebok articulated the zeitgeist of an entire generation.
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