You’ve always known sneakers are cool. These days it seems like everyone else is noticing too — celebs, fashion designers, style bloggers — everybody is paying attention to the sneaker game. In the past year alone there’ve been several books and even a documentary-style movie.
Sneakers are everywhere — even in museums.
Courtesy of the Bata Shoe Museum, The Brooklyn Museum debuted an exhibition titled “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” on July 10, and it will run through October 4. The exhibit aims to “explore the complex social history and cultural significance of the footwear now worn by billions of people throughout the world”.
As anyone versed in the history of sneakers knows, that’s no simple task! The social history of sneakers is a rich one, and the evolving cultural significance over the last several decades has been a telling factor of the changing times. It’s been quite the journey to the current position as status symbol and icon of urban culture.
In addition to exploring the history and providing social commentary, visitors are also treated to a display of 150 pairs of kicks including some of the rarest and most historic. Not only have the curators pulled from the archives of the big guys — Nike, Converse (from 1917!) and Adidas to name a few — but private collectors Daryl “DMC” McDaniels, Bobbito Garcia, and Dee Wells have contributed kicks from their own collections as well. To paraphrase Bobbito, the kicks on display are the type of fly kicks any discerning collector would dish out knots of cash for.
To round it out, the exhibit is supplemented with film footage, original design drawings from the legendary Tinker Hatfield, and a variety of interactive media including Run-D.M.C.’s iconic “My Adidas” video.
While the exhibit has garnered mixed reviews for not diving deep enough, we can at least all agree on one thing. Its very existence represents a giant leap in the mainstream culture beginning to recognize and respect sneaker culture. About time for a 200 year old industry that rakes in more than 55 billion dollars a year!
If you can’t catch the exhibit at it’s current home in Brooklyn, there’s still hope- The Bata Shoe Museum is taking it on the road. Next stop: the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.
Are you going? have you been? Let us know what you thought, below.