European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Fashion & History

Object Voices / FILA Trainers

Italian styleSportswear

Fila Trainers are a catch for sneakershead now, but how did it all started?

Looking at the FILA campaigns of the seventies, one is often struck by a detail: Bj√∂rn Borg and other sportsmen sponsored by the brand wear shoes linked to other brands.What today appears to be an anomaly at the time was a deliberate choice. Despite the international success achieved immediately with the first sportswear items, in fact, the development of footwear was not a priority for the Biella-based brand. It was certainly a fantasy: in a series of drawings made by Pierluigi Rolando between 1974 and 1976, the designer sketched out hypotheses of sneakers, and in his drawings shapes and colors alternated in the most rigorous FILA style. Rolando’s vision stopped at a design stage: despite the intentions, the company felt that it was not yet time to debut with a new accessory in a complex market.

1983 was the first year of the ‘Change the Game’ era: inspired by productive changes in corporate assets, the company finally launched the first pair of sneakers, along with a pair of sandals. The American market was already marked by big competitors, and FILA decided to stand out for its stylistic choices.

FX-2 is the name of one of the first emblematic models of tennis shoes, designed in 1985, capable of embodying the quintessence of elegance on the playing field; two years later, its appeal was reinterpreted by Take. For the brand, however, the consecration of footwear arrived with the first basketball shoes: in 1995 the shoes worn by Grant Hill, frontman of the Detroit Pistons, became a commercial and costume success, paradigm of the chunky shoes that have made FILA iconic in the footwear landscape.