Now Closed

The first exhibition in North America to examine the history of sneaker culture.

Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture will be on view until June 1st, 2014.

On April 25, 2013 the BSM opened Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture, an exhibition that explores the history of the sneaker from the 19th century through to today. Out of the Box is the first exhibition in North America to showcase the history of sneaker culture and will feature over 120 sneakers representing the past 150 years. Highlighting iconic sneakers from the 20th and 21st centuries, Museum visitors will have the opportunity to explore the historical beginnings of the sneaker from its emergence in the 19th century to becoming one of the most democratic forms of footwear in the 20th century to its current position as status symbol and icon of urban culture.

Rare sneakers from the archives of adidas, Nike, Reebok, PUMA, Converse and Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, along with loans from rap legends Run DMC, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia aka Kool Bob Love and Dee Wells from OSD are featured. The exhibition also includes the latest designs from fashion designers, including Christian Louboutin, Pierre Hardy, Lanvin and Prada, as well as exceptional limited editions such as the Nike Dunk Supremes and LeBron James Stewies. A particular highlight is the handpicked sneakers and sketches by Nike designers Tinker Hatfield, Tobie Hatfield, Mark Smith and Eric Avar.

The origin of the sneaker dates back to the middle of the 19th century when it emerged from a confluence of technological advancements and profound cultural shifts. These first sneakers were called plimsoles but by 1873, the term sneaker had been coined. By the middle of the 20th century the pursuit of bodily perfection took on nationalistic overtones and the sneaker became firmly entrenched in the wardrobe of millions. The ĎMe Generationí of the 1970s shifted the focus of fitness from cultivating group identity to the pursuit of individual success and high-end athletic footwear became signifiers of conspicuous consumption. It was the embrace of the basketball shoe in American urban centers, however, at the end of the century that would give rise to sneaker culture and transform the sneaker into the icon that it is today.

The exhibition was designed by famed industrial designer Karim Rashid. A significant departure from the Bata Shoe Museumís previous installations, the exhibitís look is very modern in style and vibe with blasts of colour against the predominantly white environment, a design that is true to Karimís aesthetics and vision. ďI have always been very interested in the sneaker since I am a true believer of the age of casualismĒ said Karim Rashid. ďAs a designer I also tend towards the running shoe as shoe of choice due to the great advances in technology, materials, performance, design, and style. It seems that the opportunity of experimentation is endless. So in turn, this exhibition showcases sneakers that all had pivotal implications on the industry, market, and society. The design of the exhibition reinforces the leaps and bounds made by the sneaker and its place within the flux, speed and charge of society. I am so pleased to work with the illustrious Bata Shoe Museum to make this exhibition a reality.Ē

In addition to the lenders already noted, the Bata Shoe Museum's sneaker holdings are complemented by loans from individuals and organizations, including PONY, Ewing Athletics, Mache, Phillip Nutt, Thad Jayaseelan, Sheraz Amin, Christian Louboutin, Chad Jones, Matte Babel and contemporary artists Tom Sachs/ Sperone Westwater Gallery and Shantell Martin.

In addition, exclusive Toronto hotel partner The Hazelton Hotel is offering several exciting overnight packages available beginning April 25, 2013 of the duration of the exhibition. Click here for more information on the packages available.

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