Velcro® sneakers are canvas shoes that use Velcro® straps in place of laces. Sneakers are an athletic running shoe with a rubber sole and soft upper material. They are designed to be worn while participating in a sporting activity, but have become very popular as a casual shoe.
Invented in 1941 by George de Mestral, Velcro® is designed to allow two materials to be firmly connected but easily undone. He was inspired when removing burrs from his dog's coat after a walk outside. Velcro® has a wide number of applications, but there were challenges in the manufacture of the product that delayed its success.
Velcro® did not gain widespread acceptance in the consumer marketplace until 1978, when the international patents taken out in the 1950's expired. Manufactures in Asia produced a wide range of Velcro® products at a lower cost and were able to encourage use in industry as well as commercial products. This change, combined with improvements in the manufacturing process accelerated the application of Velcro® as a reusable fastener.
Velcro® sneakers were very popular in the mid 1980's with both young and old consumers for the ease and security of the closure. The trend began to fade in the early 1990's, with Velcro® sneakers targeted to preschoolers and seniors.
The invention of Velcro® sneakers occurred at a time when an increasing number of women with small children were returning to the workforce full-time. Day care became more acceptable and widely available. Velcro® sneakers were a wonderful way to overcome the stage when the children lack the manual dexterity to tie their own shoelaces.
Senior citizens are also a key consumer of Velcro® sneakers. Shoes with rubber soles provide a firming footing and Velcro® allows the shoe to be firmly secured without the difficulty of bending down to find and tie laces. As they don't come undone, there is no risk of tripping on a shoelace, reducing the risk of falls.
When purchasing Velcro® sneakers, check the method used to secure the Velcro® to the sneaker. It should be sewn into the shoe itself. Glue is a quicker method, but soon becomes undone over time, as it is not designed to withstand the pulling needed to secure the shoe. Investigate the quality of materials used in the overall shoe. The sidewalls should be fairly firm, as laces are not available to provide additional support for the foot.