Originating at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto and organised by the American Federation of Arts, The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first museum exhibition in North America, and now in Australia, to examine the sneaker’s complex and fascinating social history, from its origins in the mid-nineteenth century to its role in the present day as a status symbol of urban culture.
On display are shoes from the archives of Adidas, Converse, Nike and Puma, as well as private collectors such as legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia (Kool Bob Love) and Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder. Also featured are sneaker collaborations between celebrities, artists and high-end fashion houses, including Kanye West, Damien Hirst, Prada, and Lanvin.
Among them are an 1860s spiked running shoe, an original 1923 Converse All Star/Non Skid, a pair of 1936 track shoes, the original Air Force 1, and early Adidas Superstars. Also featured is a complete presentation of Air Jordans I–XX3 on loan from the Kosow Sneaker Museum.
The Rise of Sneaker Culture shows at AGWA from 13 May to 4 September with free entry. This is the only Australian presentation of the international exhibition that has so far toured Toronto, Brooklyn, Atlanta and Oakland.
Stewie Griffin Lebron VI, 2009
Collection of Chad Jones
Courtesy American Federation of Arts/Bata Shoe Museum