|Photos credit: Michael S. Giraldo|
Sneakers have come a long way. In their hundred-plus year history, they've gone from primitive pieces of athletic equipment to fashion status symbols in some cultures. They’ve seamlessly become staples in our day-to-day lives and impacted fashion, sports, retail and entertainment. Elisabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, has developed a new exhibition, the first show ever in North America to take on the complex history of the sneaker entitled: 'Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture'. The exhibition is currently opened and goes until March 30th, 2014.
The exhibition features more than 130 early, rare and contemporary sneakers while chronicling the birth and innovation of rubber footwear. In 1839, the process of vulcanization, named after the Roman god of fire, was discovered where rubber was made less sticky and more elastic through the use of sulphur and heat. Bill Bowerman, Olympic-level track coach and Nike co-founder, who innovated nylon uppers and cushioned insoles, is represented by the Nike Waffle Trainer, 1974. Bowerman is noted for creating a rubber sole in a waffle-maker; to create built in traction while making the rubber thinner and lighter.
'Out of the Box' has a major focus on the historic men and companies that have gotten sneakers to its current status as the go-to footwear. But according to Semmelhack, there were two major collaborations that shifted the social consciousness and began a major boom in the globalization of contemporary sneaker culture. One of the major collaboration is; Michael Jordan signing his Nike contract in 1985 and the next is; RUN D.M.C., becoming the first hop-hop artists to sign a sneaker contract in 1986. These moments solidified sneakers in the entertainment industry, while opening the door for men to explore alternative fashionable footwear that was affordable and cool.
Edited by Tyrone Farley
|Converse x Damien Hirst|
|Jeremy Scott for Adidas|
|Louis Vuitton x Kanye West|
|Christian Louboutin Roller Boat|
|Nike x Michael Jordan|
|Pierre Hardy Pow|
|Puma x Alexander McQueen|
|Adidas x RUN DMC|
Photos credit: Michael S. Giraldo