From plimsolls to the latest tennis shoe

 Tennis shoes

Summer time. Wimbledon….

The humble tennis shoe has come a long way since the early plimsolls of the 19th Century. The plimsoll takes its name from Samuel Plimsoll, Liberal MP for Derby and coal merchant – famously known as the mariner’s safety campaigner, whose tireless campaign brought white plimsoll lines to be painted on ships, introduced in 1876, to indicate safe loading limits for shipping. 

Rubber soled shoes have been made since the early 1800s by companies such as the Goodyear Metallic Rubber Shoe Company in America and the New Liverpool Rubber Company in Liverpool, with the development of vulcanized rubber.  By 1884 both men and women were competing at Wimbledon, wearing  rubber-soled sports shoes.

The early 20th century saw the development of the modern sports shoe. Adolf “Adi” Dassler, a baker from Herzogenaurach, Germany, and whose father had been a cobbler, developed spiked sports shoes during the 1920s. Dassler’s sports equipment company later become known as Adidas, created the first shoe especially designed for tennis in 1931. Dassler’s brother Rudi later founded Puma in 1948.

Today, the design of modern sport shoes involves knowledge of the biomechanics of sport, breathable smart textiles and materials, designs that give the wearer good support and protection.  The University Library offers a broad range of information resource for sports and exercise science, product design and material science.

Sport and exercise science resources can be found on MetaLib  and the library currently subscribes to over 40 sport and exercise science e-journals such as Journal of Sport and Exercise Physiology and Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise .   You may like to use SPORTDiscus to find sport equipment related articles [access using your Athens username and password].

Information on sports equipment design and materials can also be found using MetaLib . The Library currenly subscribes to over 240 material science related journals such as the Textile Research Journal, Polymer Engineering and Science   and Wear.  [Many databases and e-journals on MetaLib are athens hosted].

Other useful links:

History of Tennis



Espacenet (patents)



Tennis shoe history







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: