Whether you call them kicks or sneakers, runners or gutties, you
probably have a pair of athletic shoes in your closet. The earliest
sneakers debuted in the 1800s and weren't much more than a canvas
upper and a flexible sole made of a crazy new material—rubber. The
stuff might have been new to Americans then, but for thousands of
years, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin of South America
had been using latex made from the milky sap of hevea... more...