‘There’s not just trainers or non-trainers, there’s like degrees of trainers’: Commoditisation, singularisation and identity

Jenny Hockey*, Rachel Dilley, Vicki Robinson, Alexandra Sherlock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


‘Trainers’ represent a form of footwear that has attracted academic attention, particularly in relation to the historical development of footwear since the 19th century, addressing various aspects, from the industrial application of rubber to the technologies of shoe manufacture. This article contributes to a literature on the intersection between trainers and the individuals who have ‘made’ them. However, it asks a parallel question: how do trainers ‘make’ the individual, that is to say: it addresses the embodied processes of everyday life and the contribution of technology to the body and its techniques. We argue that the diversification of the trainer parallels the unfolding of particular lives, offering a valuable, if under-utilised resource for making sense of everyday and life course processes of embodied identification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-42
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2014


  • Embodiment
  • identity
  • technology
  • trainers

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