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Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture (touring)

Start Date 03 December 2015
End Date 28 February 2016
Venue Toledo Museum of Art
Location Toledo, USA
Curator Halona Norton-Westbrook

Featuring rare and iconic sneakers that tell the story of the athletic shoe as it evolved into a staple of casual style and an object of high design.

Sneakers have long been loved as a staple of casual fashion, transcending gender, age, and socioeconomic categories to become the footwear of choice for millions across the globe. Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture tells the sneaker’s complex and fascinating story through approximately 150 pairs drawn from the collections of the Bata Shoe Museum; the Northampton Museums and Art Gallery; the archives of Adidas, Converse, Nike, and PUMA; and private collectors such as Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder and legendary hip-hop group Run-D.M.C.

Organized into five sections, Out of the Box includes iconic sneakers ranging from an 1860 spiked running shoe, the replica track shoes worn by Olympian Jesse Owens in 1936, the Air Jordan series, and the original Air Force 1 and early Adidas Superstars, to contemporary examples designed by such prominent figures as Damien Hirst, Christian Louboutin, Kanye West, and Nike sneaker design legend Tinker Hatfield.

From its historical origins in the recreational pastimes of the elite and the increasing importance of physical fitness to its role today at the vanguard of athletic performance and urban style, the sneaker has been a pivotal component of dress for more than 150 years. Out of the Box examines how the sneaker’s ever-evolving cultural significance offers insights into the world in which we live, work, and play.