Shoe Style: Active Footwear

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Shoe Style: Active Footwear

With getting up and active being the theme of the modern era, more and more South Africans are realising that improved health and wellness is vital for a long, happy life. We call them takkies; the rest of the world call them sneakers, but the footwear you exercise in plays an important role in your fitness efforts. Here’s the history of active footwear, and what to consider when buying a new pair of pumped up running kicks…

History of Active Footwear

The first ever running shoe (circa 1852) was essentially a leather dress shoe featuring six spikes attached to the undersole, and a leather strap across the top for support. Unfortunately, leather stretches when wet, so active footwear experimenters moved their attention to canvas.

Goodyear, the rubber company, came up with a process known as vulcanisation in 1892. Essentially, this is the process of melting rubber and fabric together. Rubber soles were then moulded into tread designs, and this process revolutionised the early active footwear industry.

Rubber soles made almost zero noise, and thus people could sneak around without being detected. This is how these shoes got the name sneakers – one that has stuck ever since.

What to Consider When Buying Active Footwear

With so many different activities we can get busy with to improve our fitness levels and overall health, it’s understandable that you’ll find different active footwear for different physical activities.

This was first acknowledged by Adolf Dassler in 1920, who made running shoes with different configurations for the various track distances in athletics.

However, cross-trainers like the Skechers Track-Bucolo are active shoe designed to accommodate multiple fitness disciplines.

So, here’s what to consider when choosing your next pair of active footwear:


The first aspect to look at are the materials that make up your active footwear. Start with the uppers – are they breathable? Your feet sweat, so active shoes that restrict air flow to your feet will leave you uncomfortable and with a pair of seriously stinky feet. Your active shoes’ uppers should also feature support straps, like on these Skechers Energy Burst-Deal Closers. Your soles should be light-weight, and flexible enough to twist without damaging the shoe.


Owing to the nature of fitness, active footwear need to be durable enough to withstand kilometres and kilometres of wear and tear. This depends greatly on the tread of your exercise shoes. So, if you’re looking for a simple slip-on shoe to road walk in, consider these Skechers Equalizer-Double Play trainers. If your walking takes you into forests and along rocky crags, these Skechers Go Walk 3 slip-ons are better – as they feature more tread on the undersoles.


Exercise is tough, but it really doesn’t have to be rendered even more rigorous with uncomfortable active footwear that hurt your feet. This can easily lead to demotivation and throw a spanner in your fitness plans. Choose exercise shoes that feature comfortable insoles, like these Skechers Go Walk 4 lace-up trainers featuring Gogamax high rebound memory foam. The mesh uppers take your foot’s form after a few uses, adding even more comfort.

Where to Get Your Active Footwear

So, you’ve had a brief history lesson on the origins of active footwear and discovered what to look for in your next pair of trainers. The next step is to find out where you can easily order your perfect pair! If convenience is something you look for when purchasing your shoes, check out our range of Skechers sneakers here. FREE DELIVERY to anywhere in South Africa!