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Unboxed and on Display: Sneakers at the Design Museum

Out and about at last!

It was liberating to be able to mingle with museum exhibits. Less so the curiously claustrophobic mask wearing experience.

Judging by the popularity of sports and sports inspired footwear, Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, a new exhibition at London's Design Museum is going to be hugely popular. Every hypebeast in the land will want to see this vast array of sneaker styles under one roof. If you’re not done with data overload, there is also a wealth of info on industry statistics (dating back to the early 19th century), product design, technical performance in a range of sports, plus the all important street cred associated with sporting legends and urban culture, examples of 3-D design innovation and the sneaker of the future.

The highlight for me was the sustainable sneaker section, especially discovering some of the novel materials being used. The Rens Coffee Sneaker 2021, the outcome of a Kickstarter project, is made from recycled polyester pellets and coffee polyester yarn. The shoe uppers are created from 150 grams of used coffee grounds mixed with 6 recycled plastic bottles. The sneaker claims to control foot odour, is fully waterproof, yet breathable.

There are some incredible examples of customised sports shoes, and you’ll also get to see the Reebok Shaq Attaq ‘Orlando’ 2016, designed for basketball player Shaquille O’Neal in his shoe size - a whopping US 22! 

And collaborations, including a 2019 tie up between Brooklyn digital culture studio MSCHF and INRI - aka Jesus Christ. The air bubble is injected with holy water from the River Jordan so the wearer can literally walk on water, and frankincense has been infused into the insoles. Whatever next?

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street is at the Design Museum from Tuesday 18th May.

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