Author: Samuel Americus Walker
Publisher: Workman Publishing
ISBN: 0894800167, 9780590057967
Publication Date: June, 1978
In 1978 a ne’er before seen author by the name of Samuel Americus Walker penned sneakers, a 192 page oddly shaped book that treated its eponymous subject matter in a somewhat amphipathic manner – simultaneously acknowledging the significance of sneakers and the relative absurdity of said significance. These days we (the general public) are far more apt to listen to the opinion of a gross majority of completely unknown strangers; alas, in 1978 there were no online review sections to turn to, instead people were forced to listen to actual subject and field experts if they wanted to form a cogent opinion on books (or anything for that matter!). This is by no means an indictment of following the advice of strangers – there are many, many brilliant and well-opined strangers out there – nor is it in any way an endorsement of subject-matter experts – there are many, many idiotic and poorly-opined experts out there. It’s simply a segue into posting a few of the reviews from 1978:
From Sports Illustrated – “they (sneakers) have now reached the apex of public recognition”*
From People – “The book…is totally impertinent, unpertinent and entertaining”**
Finally, addressing the relative unknown author, The New York Times let the reader know that in fact it was a nom de plume for, “(a) half dozen folk around the office (that) pitched in to realize it, but insisted on anonymity lest they be known forevermore as little old ladies and gentlemen in sneakers.”***
The book itself is divided into 8 sections: Sneaker History, Sneaker Manufacture, Sneaker Anatomy, Sneaker Game Plan, Sneaker Fashion, Sneaker Art, Stage-struck Sneakers and Sneaker Care. While almost all of the sections are presented in something of a tongue-in-cheek manner, there is an enormous amount of history and information about sneakers and the various industries that gave birth to their rise.
Sneakerature’s Take: Don’t let the oblong shape scare you away, this is an absolute humdinger of a book. Jam packed with information about everything from the origins of mass-produced rubber, to how to say the word sneaker in a variety of different languages, to the history of various sneaker companies and models (and seemingly everything in-between), sneakers is a wonderfully informative, at times laugh-out-loud funny and perhaps most importantly, still relevant book in the sneaker world of today.
You can find sneakers on Amazon
*Lamb, Julie. (1978, September) ‘OH, GIVE ME THAT OLD SOFT SHOE!’ RINGS THE CRY FROM COAST TO COAST. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from Sports Illustrated
**Picks and Pans Review: Sneakers (1978, September 11). People Magazine. Retrieved from People
**Paperbacks, New and Noteworthy (1978, July 16). New York Times. Retrieved from The New York Times