HALL OF FAME
roster of the
Work It Out
Follow the Reebok Freestyle’s journey from aerobics-era
invention to a full-ﬂedged fashion craze.
IN THE HEYDEY of Jazzercize, Jane Fonda’s Work- ($49.99) plus New York’s sales tax, which
out and high-cut leotards, there was one sneaker that came to $54.11.
regularly popped up in aerobics studios below brightly “From a fashion standpoint, the shoe was
colored knit legwarmers: the Reebok Freestyle. Back just trend-right at the time,” Bryant explains,
in 1982, the athletic footwear company launched the noting that it caused women to choose
original Freestyle lo-top lace-up, which was created athletic shoes as streetwear for the ﬁrst
by then head designer Paul Brown. But according to time and had other companies scrambling
Saadia Bryant, head of global classics marketing for to release their own takes on the shoe.
the Canton, MA-based brand (now a division of the The Freestyle’s narrow shape—which has
Adidas Group), it was Angel Martinez, Reebok’s vice not been signiﬁcantly changed since its
president of new business development at the time debut—has an overall slimming effect for
(and current CEO of Deckers Outdoor), who ﬁrst the wearer, she adds, noting that some
pinpointed the women’s ﬁtness trend emerging in die-hard fans even describe Freestyles
the early ’80s and founded the platform that, accord- as sexy. “People are just passionate about
ing to Uli Becker, current president and CEO of Ree- this silhouette,” the exec says.
bok International, the brand stands on to this day. As ’80s fashion and sneaker trends have
“Reebok had been a running brand up to that point,” come and gone over the years, Reebok has
Bryant reports. “Angel thought [this new direction] seen spikes and drops in Freestyle sales,
would be a great opportunity for the brand.” but the hi-top has never completely faded
It was a unique selling point at the time, and Ree- from the scene. “We’ve kept it fresh and
bok thoroughly considered the support, cushioning relevant, using trend-driven materials,
and structure women required for the popular calo- colors and patterns and building stories
rie-burning activity. “It came out of a fun