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Reebok Classics: a brief history

With the continuation of our lauded ‘Classics by size?’ collection, we thought it would be fitting to delve into the history of Reebok Classics a bit, shining a light on the brand’s historic trainer innovations. Our latest releases include a remodelling of the iconic Club C 85 and NPC models. We kept things clean, crisp and sporty, staying true to the brand’s usual design approach. While these shoes may look minimal on the eye, they both arrive with an incredible history, so have a browse and find out a bit more about the brand’s iconic models. 

The origins of the brand can be traced back to Bolton in the 1890s, to the shoe manufacturer Joseph William Foster – one of the first to create spiked running shoes. Foster – or as he was locally known – ‘Old Joe’ produced shoes for some of the best runners in the area with his company – J.W Foster Athletic Shoes.  

This sports shoe influence and expertise passed down the generations; in 1958, two of his grandchildren started a company called Reebok. Named after an African gazelle, the company grew during the next two decades, gaining interest around the globe for its running silhouettes. 1978 was the year that things changed for the company when an outdoor sporting goods distributor – Paul Fireman – found the shoes at an international trade show. This, was its gateway into the American market, just before the aerobics and fitness craze of the 1980s. It was this decade where the brand produced some of its most timeless silhouettes – and we really mean it when we say timeless. 

The Classic Nylon was one of the first Reebok Classics staple designs to make moves in the ‘80s. Landing in 1984, this lightweight trainer offered something more breathable with a nylon base layer and suede overlays for a sturdier build. A sculptured EVA midsole offered plush cushioning, while an array of versatile colourways made this an in-demand shoe. Streamlined and minimal, the Classic Nylon remains an icon for Reebok enthusiasts. 

1985 saw the release of two Reebok legends: the NPC UK II and the Club C – both included in our latest exclusive capsule. Renowned for its ‘abrasion resistant outsole’, the NPC UK II was a popular tennis silhouette at the time. The trainer opted for a clean white tennis look, updated with more minimal sidewalls and using a twin cup first used in the original NPC release. This shoe boasted a winning formula that is still in demand today, resonating more with streetwear in the modern age. 

Sharing the characteristics of the NPC UK II, the Club C is another Reebok staple, offering a fresh style with signature branding and snug comfort. The OG designs were made with slick leather uppers with a soft terry towel lining and iconic British flag branding to celebrate its heritage. Boasting a flexible design, the trainer was a hit with aerobic and fitness lovers. Durability was provided below too with long-lasting rubber soles, and EVA technology ensured lightweight cushioning. 

Our latest ‘Classics by size?’ collection is out now – don’t miss out! Also, have a read about each release here

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