Kichute – Put This Power On!
Let’s go over a shoe style that is part of the story of a generation.
First of all, thank you to Andre Santos, who did a great job designing the Kichute in an awesome way, and enhanced this article even more. Andre, thank you in advance for the Collab Article, I really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to the next one!
Forewords by Andre Santos – Footwear Designer
Designing Kichute can be compared to drive some classic old cars.
As a footwear designer, for almost 20 years, I have been designing shoes, looking for innovation and reproducing fancy-looking shoes, using “fresh” elements, trendy color accessories, new shapes, cool bottom soles, etc.
Well, designing modern stuff is great for sure, but when I play around with some classic old shoes like Kichute, I love, because that brings lots of good memories. I still can picture myself, in my mind, wrapping my Kichute’s long laces around my ankles… I do believe that every single boy around, used to do the same thing.
Kichute – The Iconic Brazilian Shoe Style
Andre and I have decided to pay tribute to Kichute, a shoe model that made history between 1970 and 1980 and marked a generation. The sports shoe was launched on June 15, 1970, taking advantage of the advent of the Mexico World Cup.
Kichute was a mix of sports and soccer shoes and was widely produced in Brazil by Alpargatas Company. With the slogan Kichute, Put This Power ON, it peaked between 1978 and 1985 when its sales exceeded 9 million pairs annually.
Well, with no further ado, let’s dig deeper into the materials, technical words, footwear terminology, and technologies and processes involved in building this unique shoe made in Brazil that is part of the memories of millions of Brazilians, boys, and girls, who had their lives enhanced by the promise behind Kichute… let’s Put This Power On!
1- Canvas Upper
Canvas is a strong, coarse unbleached cloth made from hemp, flax, cotton, or similar yarn, used to make items such as shoes, sails, tents, etc.
Footwear Technical Words & Terms Related to Canvas:
Yarn = spun thread used for knitting, weaving, or sewing.
Cotton Fabric = a plain-woven fabric typically made out of cotton.
Hemp = the fiber of the cannabis plant, extracted from the stem and used to make strong fabrics, rope, fiberboard, and paper.
Linen = It is a fabric made from the fibers of an herbaceous plant (flax). It is laborious to manufacture, but the fiber is strong, absorbent, and dries faster than cotton.
Vulcanized Shoes vs. Cotton Canvas
The Canvas for vulcanized shoes must be 100% cotton because if it is made of synthetic thread/yarn (e.g. Polyester) it can shrink during the Vulcanization process. In the vulcanized shoes, the adhesive used is CR (Chloroprene Rubber), so it needs to be 100% cotton yarn. However, Cotton Canvas for vulcanized shoes can contain synthetic threads in their composition, always in small quantities, in Polyester (PES) and never Polyamide (PA), as it can affect the bonding properties.
Curiosity about Canvas: Canvas is a term that derives from the Arabic word for “cannabis” – hemp was popularly used to produce canvas.
Other Footwear Technical Words & Terms Related to Canvas:
Upper = the uppermost part of a shoe
Cotton Yarn = a thread made out of cotton fibers
Polyester yarn = a thread made out of polyester fiber, which is one of the most used commercial fibers across the world.
Polyamide Yarn = a thread made out of polyamide fibers.
Synthetic Fiber Yarn = it is usually less expensive and is easy to wash & dry.
Natural Fiber Yarn = e.g. Wool, Cotton, Linen, etc. Often synthetic and natural yarns are spun together to get the best of both worlds.
Polyester (PES) = Fabrics and knits made with polyester fiber yarns are used extensively in shoes, clothing, and home textiles, from shirts and pants to jackets, hats, sheets, and upholstered furniture.
Polyamide (PA) = Nylon is a generic name for the polyamide family. It was the first synthetic textile fiber produced, and today we can see polyamide being used to manufacture sports shoes, carpets, airbags, skates, watches, ski uniforms, mountaineering ropes, tents.
Polyester and Polyamide give different attributes, such as Flexibility, Mechanical and Thermal Strength, Types of Finishing, etc. for Shoes and Apparel. Additionally, they have a varied weight in the final cost of products. But we will see this later in detail when we talk exclusively about materials.
2- PVC Laminate Eyestay
PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride; a synthetic thermoplastic material produced by polymerization of vinyl chloride. The properties depend on the plasticizer it. Flexible forms are used in hoses, insulation, shoes, clothing, etc.
Due to its low cost, it tends to be used in shoes of lower prices (Low-end Products). The use of PVC has been systematically reduced in Sports / Athletic Shoes (High-end Products) worldwide, in particular, due to the use of phthalates in its compositions.
Footwear Technical Words & Terms Related to PVC:
Eyestay = region of shoe vamp where eyelets are affixed
Plasticizer Agents = are helpful to make PVC more flexible, but low-quality plasticizer grades or higher amounts used on PVC formulation tend to hurt the PVC Outsole Bonding Performance.
Phthalates = are mainly used as plasticizers, i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. They are used primarily to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Thermosets = A thermosetting plastic is a polymer that irreversibly becomes rigid when heated. Such a material is also known as a thermoset or thermosetting polymer.
Thermoplastics = Thermo-softening plastic, or thermoplastic, becomes soft and flexible at a certain temperature and solidifies on cooling.
We say Thermoplastics are more sustainable as the cycle (from solid to soft) can be repeated back and forth many times, so a shoe made of it can be fully recycled. On the other hand, Thermosets go from solid to soft only once. We still can recycle it but makes it much more difficult, more expensive, and relevant compound vital properties are lost along the process.
3- Metal Eyelets
Shoe eyelets are mostly made of Metal, with Brass and Iron being the main alloys used. Brass is more resistant to corrosion than Iron. In addition, the treatment and finishing of materials will make all the difference in terms of protection from oxidation, and prevent the ornaments from losing their finish, shine, colors, etc.
Footwear Technical Words & Terms Related to Eyelets:
Rivets = rivets are merely used for structural purposes or to enhance the shoe design.
Spikes = a thin, pointed piece of metal, or another rigid material to enhance shoe looks.
Hooks = hooks, rivets, and spikes are fully used in several types of shoes.
D-Rings = hooks and D-rings are most seen on hiking boots, snow boots, and so on.
O-Rings = they are not so used, but here and there you see O-Rings on few footwear collections.
4- Polyester Shoelace
The variety of materials used in the laces is quite wide. In general, for sports shoes, which is the case with Kichute, a Polyester Shoelace is used.
Footwear Technical Words & Terms Related to Shoelace:
Cotton Shoelace = once again we see several shapes, such as round, flat, twisted, etc.
Elastic Shoelace = more advanced sports shoes combined traditional and elastic shoelaces for design or function reasons (e.g. offer a better fit, or a faster put on / off).
Multicolor Shoelace = certainly for design enhance.
The Kichute tongue was not lined or even cushioned. It was extremely basic, without finishing on the edges, and had more a technical function of protecting the feet from the friction of the laces, than to enhance the look.
Footwear Technical Words & Terms Related to Shoe Tongue:
Pad / Padded / Cushioned = several technologies are applied to pad footwear parts, such as PU Foam, Latex Foam, EVA Foam.
Padded Tongue = a Padded tongue gives extra comfort, protection, and look to the shoe.
No Lining Tongue or Backing Tongue = basically, is a tongue made out of one single material layer. Certainly, it is there only for functional reasons than others.
6- English Binding
There are several types of edge finishing processes, and it will depend on the purpose of the shoe style, function, parts, or pieces, etc. so that the best possible finish is chosen.
Some of the most used edge finishes are:
Raw Edge = no finishing at all. Not painting, inking, polishing, nothing at all.
Folded Edge = it is a Simple Flip Edge process usually sew or stitched afterward.
Glove Edge = the same type of look and work as you see on a pair of Gloves Stitched Seams.
French Binding = it is a stitch and turns process.
English Binding = the same type of finishing we usually see on quilts.
Piping Edge = a Folded material laminate is filled with a cord, thread, year, and attached (stitched, sew) at the edge of a shoe part.
I know how hard it is to figure out how all those edge finishing techniques work and look, so I promise to write an article detailing each of these techniques later on.
7- Mustache or Back Tab
Mustache or Tab = This Back Patch / Rear Lapel has both technical and design functions. In the case of Kichute, as is the case with several sports shoe models, it has the technical function of giving a better finish, and reinforcing the stitched seam, and closing the back, as it is a very required area during use and at the moment that we put on / take off the sneakers. It also has the function of offering a better look at the shoe model.
Footwear Technical Words & Terms Related to the Shoe Heel Area:
Back Seam = Rear Seam (seam for closing the rear area of the shoe upper).
Put the Shoes On / Take Off = It is difficult to wear a pair of shoes that hurts your foot heel or tendon. So that, Mustache, Tabs, Back Patches, and Heel Notches are more relevant than it seems.
The Kichute’s Design is Unique and Brings Great Memories to all of us from the ‘80s and ‘90s. The Word DESIGN has several technical meanings, but the best I have ever heard is from a stylist, which name a forgot that translated Design = Sensation. In other words, the combination of love, passion, and technique for what we do, transformed in a Product (a Shoe), which has a True Meaning or Sense for the final user, customer, person we want to delight, surprise, please, etc. I guess that Kichute fully brings it to us!
8- Sock Lining or Insole
Although I’m not sure, I believe that Kichute’s Sock Lining should be made of EVA on Sheets and/or Traditional PU Foam. The objective of this shoe part in this model of shoes is very clear: to offer comfort to the user.
As Vulcanized Construction, in general, they are basic, and if you do not use an Insole / Sock Lining or a Midsole capable of absorbing the impact caused to the feet when walking and running, the Insole or Sock Lining has this role of offer some level of comfort and impact absorption.
Historical note: One of the Attributes, Features and, Characteristics that Kichute lacked was, precisely, Comfort. This was one of the reasons for its drop in sales, in particular, with the arrival of sneakers models that offered greater comfort to the feet (e.g. Adidas Marathon and New Balance).
The arrival of the more elaborate sneakers models caused the perception of consumers (Consumers Perception) to change to such an extent that schools began to ban the use of Kichute for two reasons: they said it hurt the children’s feet, and because they scratched the floors of the rooms classes and sports courts. The market was already VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) in those days (laughs).
9- Rubber Outsole Unit
Basically, the sole was a block of Vulcanized Rubber with the following aspects highlight below:
Vulcanized Rubber = The process, although technically “Simple” it requires a lot of technical and chemical knowledge so that we have the Rubber Outsole Unit properly attached to the upper. Vulcanized Construction at first glance seems amazingly simple to produce, but it really isn’t. Jot that down if you ever intend to get involved with the manufacturing of Vulcanized Shoes Construction.
In 1843 Charles Goodyear eventually invented vulcanized rubber, which successfully maintained its elasticity in both cold and warm temperatures.
Footwear Technical Words & Terms Related to Rubber Outsole:
Outsole = the low most part of the shoe. The bottom part of it.
Outsole Unit = It consists of an outsole construction made using one single unit as the outsole, sole, or bottom. One single Block of Material, a Unit.
Rubber Outsole Unit = in the case of Kichute the whole Outsole or Bottom is made using one single Unit of Vulcanized Rubber.
Vulcanized Rubber = Vulcanized Rubber is a material that undergoes a chemical process known as vulcanization. This process involves mixing natural rubber with additives such as sulfur and other curing additives. Vulcanization makes rubber much stronger, more flexible, and more resistant to heat and other environmental conditions.
10- Studs or Cleats
They are protrusions on the sole of a shoe or on an accessory external to a shoe, which provides additional traction on a soft or slippery surface. They can be tapered or blade-shaped and made of Plastic (usually TPU), Rubber or Metal, etc. The type used depends on the game environment, sports floor, and terrain, and other technical reasons.
Curiosity: as the Kichute was a mix of Casual Sports Shoe (Casual Shoe or Casual Sneaker) with Soccer Boots (or Soccer Shoes), for a long time Kichute was part of the school uniform list, and along with Bamba and Conga, without doubts, was part of the daily life of most readers over 40 years. We could say that Kichute was the first Shoe-Sneaker-Soccer-Boots of our history.
Let’s see a little more about the Outsole / Sole of Kichute:
Soccer Shoes = also known as Football Boots, and Soccer Boots. The nomenclature varies between countries and regions. Some countries, in general Europe, also call it Cleats, making references to Clamps / Claws. What is certain is that most of these nomenclatures will be understood around the world.
Instead of saying I will put my soccer shoes, the ones with cleats on the bottom, on, it is much easier to say I will Put my Cleats On. Due to that Cleats became synonymous with Soccer Shoes.
Footwear Technical Words & Terms Related to Shoe Types:
Sports Shoes = similar types are Casual Shoes and Running Shoes.
Athletic Shoes = similar types are Track & Field Shoes, Competition Shoes, etc.
Outdoor Soccer Shoes = shoes from the same Family are Soccer Boots, Cleats, Football Shoes.
Indoor Soccer Boots = similar to Outdoor Family, but the main purpose is for indoor sports and type of courts.
When Climbing Trees Used to Be Totally Safe for Kids!
Around the Outsole walls, Kichute featured Grooves, Textures, and Overhangs that highlighted its look, and promoted the best grip on the most diverse types of floors. To climb trees Kichute was perfect, as they were very flexible when copying surfaces, and the wall details aided in the grip and traction to walk on the tree branches. A great attribute for that time when children were allowed to climb trees because it was a child’s thing (laughs, of course, I am joking) and no dangerous, at all!