Sneakers Unboxed: From Studio to street

Trainers, sneakers, creps…whatever you choose to call them, it’s highly likely that you own at least one pair, be it for sport, style or comfort. There’s no denying the massive impact these shoes have on lifestyle and fashion.

Sneakers Unboxed is an exhibition like no other aimed at not just hard core sneaker heads, but culture vultures, fashionistas, history buffs and eco-conscious individuals alike. From the moment you make your way into the galleries you are literally taken on a journey through time, starting with the sneaker basics – the anatomy of the trainer, a glossary of must-know terms,  the value of the global market (a staggering £100bn), and manufacturing locations. Once equipped with this key information, you go on to see and hear about the evolution of the humble sports shoe. From Dunlop and Goodyear making trainers out of the by-products from manufacturing tyres,  to Nike, Adidas and Reebok (to name a few) becoming the epitome of style on the street, the music scene and making regular high couture appearances on the runway. The use of multi-media works well with interviews, soundbites and music providing the backdrop to the ever changing sneaker landscape and documenting the part played by them on youth, style and culture.

For the sneaker connoisseurs out there, the exhibition displays not only the biggest brand name collaborations and classic, iconic ranges you’d expect, but also a glimpse of the rare and unique to both amaze and intrigue. For example, the Recouture Vintage Cortez customised Nike brogues, and the Versace Chain reaction sneaker. And it’s not just the aesthetics that are on show. There’s an insight into the design and manufacture process, with an Adidas knitting robot demonstrating how they create strung uppers using knitting and weaving techniques, as well as how increasingly sustainable production methods are being used to reduce the impact on the environment.

Whether you just want to look at the vast range of trainers on display, compile a wish list of your dream sneaker collection, or want to learn the ins and outs of the sports shoe industry, there really is something for everyone. Sneakers Unboxed definitely gives that feel good factor and provides a great start to getting out and about in post-lockdown London.

Sneakers Unboxed – From Studio to Street is open now until Sunday 24th October 2021 at The Design Museum, London. Tickets must be booked in advance and cost £12.50. Concessions available. See www.designmuseum.org for more details.