In recent years, the sneaker industry has experienced tremendous growth. Collecting kicks used to be just a hobby of a small group of people, but nowadays the sports shoe is the most popular design object in the world. This has ensured that demand often exceeds supply many times over.
The exhibition Sneakers Unboxed at Design Museum Den Bosch in the Netherlands invites you over to discover the stories behind the iconic shoes that have resulted in new world records, were characteristic of subcultures or have made it into high fashion.
Would you like to visit the Sneakers Unboxed exhibition? Then you can visit the exhibition in Design Museum Den Bosch, the Netherlands, until 16 October 2022!
But what is there to see at Sneakers Unboxed? The exhibition shows over 400 pairs of sneakers in four different areas: Style, Tipping Point, Performance, and Sustainability and Circular Design. You will read more about this later.
Across all these rooms the story of Dutch sneaker culture is told. You can see all the Patta collabs and you will learn more about the intertwining of the gabber culture and the Nike Air Max BW. There is also attention for the skate culture with, among other things, a film about the 'Fret Click'. This was the skate crew that included Dutch streetwear icon Woei Tjin, owner of the Rotterdam sneaker boutique 'Woei', and artist Piet Parra.
Let's briefly look at each room, dear community. After the introduction, you come to the Style section. Here, you learn about different young people who have made their mark on the sneaker culture over the years. Different founding fathers are discussed here like the men of Run-D.M.C. and how they took the laces out of their Shell Toes.
You can also find a pair of the original Air Jordans from 1985 and even a sample from 1984 at Style. This sneaker is of course the first signature shoe of basketball legend Michael Jordan. At Sneakers Unboxed, you can find out more about the design, colour scheme and history of the model. This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the Style section you can learn about many more iconic sneakers that are still just as popular today.
In the second part of the exhibition, you will learn about the tipping point from street style to high fashion. From the end of the 90s, sports brands, niche boutiques, small retailers, streetwear connoisseurs and fashion designers started to collaborate more and more. This laid the foundation for the collab culture that is prevalent in the sneaker industry today.
With over 400 pairs of sneakers, there are many iconic collaborations to be seen in the expo. Like the Jeff Staple x Nike SB Dunk 'NYC Pigeon' from 2005. The SB Dunk was released in a run of only 150 pieces, but the demand was much bigger. This even caused a riot, causing the police to escort customers outside so they would not be robbed of their Pigeon Dunks. This drop laid the foundation for the hyped sneaker releases of these days.
In the exhibition you will find many other special collaborations like a sneaker by HTM. Nike HTM is the collaboration between design legends Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker. To this, you will also find the Kanye West x Nike Air Yeezy 2 Red October.
In the Performance section, you will learn about the history of technologies and design innovations in the sneaker world. Most of the sneakers we now consider innovative are designed with the aim of improving performance. For example by optimising grip, cushioning, comfort or stability.
One example you can learn more about is Nike's Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%. By combining several innovations, Nike has designed a shoe that takes athletic performance to a new level. The sole is made of the super light, bouncy Pebax foam and under the footbed a carbon plate has been placed. This has enabled long distance runner Eliud Kipchoge to run a marathon in less than two hours.
Sustainability and Circular Design
The last section is about Sustainability and Circular Design. Here you can learn more about how innovation in materials and experimental production techniques contribute to sustainability. For example, you will see Mylo, a vegan leather made from mushrooms, French brand Veja who make their lining from recycled bottles and Peterson Stoop who take apart old sneakers to create new shoes.
De Derde verdieping - The third Floor
Are you looking for even more depth? Then there is The Third Floor especially for you. Here you can find the podcast 'SneakEars', the room texts and several articles about sneakers. Every episode of the SneakEars podcast has a new angle on shoes. The first episode looked at sneakers and sustainability. The second episode was all about kicks and hip-hop.
So would you like to know more about the sneakers that have inspired entire youth cultures, the footwear innovations that have led to new records or the way designers combine sustainability and trainers? Then visit the exhibition Sneakers Unboxed in Design Museum Den Bosch before 16 October 2022.
Also make sure to download the Sneakerjagers app so you are always up to date with the latest sneaker news. In the app you will find a clear release calendar and you can use the 'remind me' button to get a push notification reminder prior to a release.