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Design Museum to launch “Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street” spring exhibition

Tom Bottomley
18 February 2021

The Design Museum is banking on being able to reopen, and people wanting to get out to see exciting exhibitions again this spring, as it has just unveiled plans for a new exhibition called “Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street” - pencilled to open on 30 April 2021, and sponsored by sneaker resale marketplace StockX.

It’s asking sneaker lovers, and indeed all those who appreciate quality design, to “step up and discover the footwear phenomenon that has challenged performance design, inspired subcultures and shaken the world of fashion.”

From sneakers originally designed for specific sports and athletes, such as the Converse All Star Chuck Taylor, the Puma Disc and Nike Alphafly Next%, visitors will be able to discover how sneakers such as the Reebok Instapump Fury, the Vans Half Cab and the Asics Gel Lyte III have become cultural symbols of our time. If you don’t know your Air Jordan from your Air Force 1, here’s the opportunity to find out all about them.

Additionally, with a focus on the future and the latest design methods, visitors will also be able to take a journey through the design process behind some of the most technically inventive shoes of today. There’s the Adidas FutureCraft.Strung shoe-making robot, designed by Kram/Weisshaar, as well as an insight into Satoshi, a brand using blockchain certification, and the world’s first biologically active shoes developed by MIT Design Lab and Biorealize for Puma.

Adidas Design Museum

Adidas FutureCraft.Strung shoe making robot

There will also be a revealing look into the lucrative resale market that is currently valued at $6 billion, with data visualisations from StockX, and a chance to relive the streetwear staple's high-fashion reinvention, with sneakers by Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons and Y3, and runway looks from A-COLD-WALL* and Craig Green.

Not only that, but visitors will be able to “uncover the icons and collaborations that have shaped the sneaker scene” over the years, from Michael Jordan and influential 1980’s hip hop act Run-DMC – who really brought the adidas Superstar shoe to the world - to Kanye West, and experience visuals and graphic work from Jamel Shabazz, Grace Ladoja, Simon Wheatley and Reuben Dangoor.

Sustainability will also be on the agenda, and visitors will be introduced to the designers working to make the industry more sustainable, such as Stella McCartney, Helen Kirkum and Alex Taylor.

Early bird vouchers are available now for the exhibition at the Design Museum, located at 224-238 Kensington High Street in London’s Kensington, with adult vouchers at £12 and family vouchers at £27.50.

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