For the first time, casual kicks could command higher price tags and street culture history was being written for a new gender. Madonna was getting all Material Girl and saucy scenes from Flashdance personified the iconic combination of sports and fashion. Lycra was also pretty new on the market and although the term ‘camel-toe’ hadn’t been coined yet, no doubt there was a gaggle of them flapping around. You also had celebrities left, right and centre releasing their own ‘Do it at home!’ video versions of aerobics, with Jane Fonda heading up the pack, posing on the cover of her fitness workout album bathed in glistening sweat. You don’t see Taibo taking the world by storm like that!
With its half-dance x half-gymnastics moves, aerobics required high-impact athleticism, but what made it so goddamn hot was the moronic repetitiveness of it all. Your average Joanne Blow with her two flabby left feet could master the Weave-step in a few minutes, so in essence, aerobics was giving the un-B-boys and un-B-girls of the suburbs a chance to show their shit. There was no need to get all ornery with your feet – straight up cyclic moves were the order of the day.
As noted, Reebok was the first footwear company to capitalise on the new craze, designing their new shoe specifically intended for aerobics. Released in ‘82, (same time as the Nike Air Force 1), the Freestyle broke new ground in so many ways it can be argued that it is the most influential sneaker ever made. The original was a low top in virginal white, distinctly characterised by the ‘Reebok’ name plate in baby blue lettering accompanied by a mini-British flag. It was the first shoe to really put the brand on the big screen, and from then on, Joe and Jeff Foster’s shoe company soared to success. By 1984, the shoe single-footedly accounted for more than half of Reebok’s sales. How ‘bout them candy apples?
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