Remember being amazed by Marty McFly’s self-lacing Nikes in Back to the Future? Or cheering on Ren McCormack’s subversive Converse in Footloose? You surely own a pair of Michael Jordan’s iconic Jordans. If you’re familiar with all of these shoes, you don’t want to miss The Rise of Sneaker Culture Exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum opening July 10. This exhibit spans 150 years and examines the cultural impact of sneakers in modern times. Starting with the first sneaker introduced in the 19th century, to the first athletic shoes, to contributions from sneaker giants like Puma and Adidas, the exhibit offers a comprehensive overview of sneakers from past to present.
Footwear dominator Nike contributes sketches from their designers Tinker and Tobie Hatfield as well as limited edition shoes like the Lebron James Stewie. They also include a personal selection from the Hatfield brothers as well as their collaborators Mark Smith and Eric Avar. Classic Converse make an appearance, as do the Adidas Superstars. Special editions of sneakers created for the exhibit in collaboration with famed artists like Damien Hirst and Tom Sachs also have their moment. And for the die-hards, Reebok, Adidas, Nike and more feature rare shoes from their archives. There are also personal sneaker contributions from the closet of Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and known sneaker aficionado Bobbito Garcia.
Beyond archival and classic styles, the exhibit goes up to contemporary styles including the emergence and rapid popularity of designer sneakers by Christian Louboutin, Lanvin, and Prada.
The exhibit contextualizes the sneakers with drawings, information and advertisements that allow for one to get a bigger picture of the social impact of sneakers through the ages. It traces the rise of the sneaker from practical necessity to the status symbol it is today. The Rise of Sneaker Culture runs from July 10 to October 4, 2015 at the Brooklyn Museum.