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Work It Out

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[...] according to Saadia Bryant, head of global classics marketing for the Canton, MA-based brand (now a division of the Adidas Group), it was Angel Martinez, Reebok's vice president of new business development at the time (and current CEO of Deckers Outdoor), who fi rst pinpointed the women's fi tness trend emerging in the early '80s and founded the platform that, according to Uli Becker, current president and CEO of Reebok International, the brand stands on to this day. "From a fashion standpoint, the shoe was just trend-right at the time," Bryant explains, noting that it caused women to choose athletic shoes as streetwear for the fi rst time and had other companies scrambling to release their own takes on the shoe.

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									     HALL OF FAME
                                                                                                                     Four new
                                                                                                                     shoe styles
                                                                                                                     join our
                                                                                                                     roster of the
                                                                                                                     world’s most
                                                                                                                     iconic designs.




                                                 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
								
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