Sneakers Unboxed celebrates the cultural impact of our shoes.
The world is divided between those who just want comfortable shoes, and those who want their shoes to be a true object of desire, a design symbol for all occasions. If you fall into the latter group, boy are you going to love the Design Museum’s newly-announced exhibition, Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street. Arriving on April 30, the exhibit aims to explore the design heritage and cultural importance of sneakers (or trainers, kicks, etc – feel free to pick your own term), from their origins to present.
That means you can expect a look at how sneakers crossed over from athletics and sports to become arguably some of the most sought-after fashion pieces of our time. That’s not an understatement; the current resale market for sneakers is estimated to be a $6 billion industry! The show explores how early shoes such as the Converse All Star Chuck Taylors crossed the threshold to fashion piece, and how the industry has grown from there, aided by collaborations with the likes of Michael Jordan and Kanye West, and influential movements like the West Coast Skaters and Grime.
You’ll learn about the design process of modern sneakers, including the adidas shoes built by a robot, and peer into the future with the world’s first biologically active shoes, which Puma are developing in partnership with MIT’s Design Lab and Biorealize. Sneakers Unboxed will also make use of visuals and graphics from leading designers – such as Jamel Shabazz, Grace Ladoja, and Reuben Dangoor – and look at sustainable shoes that are championed by Stella McCartney and Helen Kirkum, amongst others.
All in all, some 200 shoes will form part of the exhibition, so sneakerheads are going to be in absolute paradise when this show rolls around. I guess the only question is: which shoes are you going to wear?
Also published on Medium.