New Exhibit Charts Sneaker Culture Through The Ages

- By Bossip Staff



The Rise Of Sneaker Culture Chronicled At Brooklyn Museum

This one’s just for kicks.

A new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum charts the evolution of the sneaker from a 19th century upper class novelty to a modern day sought after status symbol.

“The Rise of Sneaker Culture” chronicles the history of the rubber-soled shoes as well as the footwear’s ascension into pop culture.
“I grew up here in New York, and we don’t really have cars, we can’t floss with our cars, we floss with our shoes,” sneaker designer Jeff Ng told BOSSIP. “That’s how we show our style.”

BOSSIP got a sneak preview of the exhibition, and the hundreds of pairs on display are truly a sneaker head’s wet dream. Highlights include an autographed pair of Walt Clyde Frazier Pumas, Converse high tops from 1917, all 23 pairs of Air Jordans, an original pair of 1985 Nike Air Force Ones –even a pair of kitten-heeled women’s sneakers from the 1920s.

Sneakers came into vogue during the 1800s, but were largely footwear for the wealthy. It was the vulcanization of rubber in 1839 that helped bring sneakers to the masses.


During the early and mid-1900s, athletes largely wore sneakers, but that changed in 1984: Nike released the first Air Jordans and Run DMC’s hit “My Adidas” hit the airwaves. Modern sneaker culture was born.

“Sneakers are this common, everyday object,” Brooklyn Museum curator Lisa Small told us. “Everybody has a pair of sneakers in their closet. But they have a really rich history that intersects in a lot of different ways with other cultural and historical moments.”

The Rise of Sneaker Culture runs July 10 through October 4, 2015 at the Brooklyn Museum.

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