Bata Shoe Museum: The Rise of Sneaker Culture

museum galleries Bata out of the box

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto is a cultural gem in a shoe-box-like structure designed by famed architect Raymond Moriyama. Boasting a collection of 13,000 shoes and related artifacts, the museum has four galleries, with displays ranging from Chinese bound-foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glam platforms.

The current special exhibit “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” explores the history of the sneaker with some 120 running shoes from the past 150 years. On view are some of the rarest sneakers from the archives of Adidas, Nike, Reebok, PUMA, Converse and England’s Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, with the largest collection of historical footwear in the world. On loan are shoes from rap music legends Run DMC, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia aka Kool Bob Love and Dee Wells from OSD (Obsessive Sneaker Disorder).

Now termed a “status symbol and icon of urban culture,” the historical beginnings of the sneaker are shown from its emergence in the 19th century to becoming “one of the most democratic forms of footwear” in the 20th century.

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/01/15/out-of-the-box-at-torontos-bata-shoe-museum

www.batashoemuseum.ca

N.B.A Players’ Shoe Obsession

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Pro basketball players score points under the net or from the line with passion.  They score sneakers on the street just as avidly. Wearing head-turning sneakers is part of ‘who has game’.  “Players want to be seen, and they don’t want to look alike,” said Jay Gaspar, the Phoenix Suns’ equipment manager. “Shoes become their identity.”

The N.B.A restricts players’ professional apparel to matching uniforms; they even supply the socks. But sneakers are different – the players are free to express themselves. And they do, with mucho gusto and mucho dinero. (Pleasure and pay checks.)

Go to the link below to see which player has:

  • four locations across different states to warehouse his sneaker collection?
  • a Nike sponsorship but gives himself a ‘sneaker allowance’ of $2,000 a month to buy more?
  • a sneaker vault in his home?
  • a 2,000-pair collection?
  • shoes accented in gold as a tribute to the Grammy Awards?
  • 200 pairs piled in boxes next to his bed?
  • splurged on 57 pairs in a single afternoon?
  • said he would love to wear a new style every game?
  • played in a pair of Air Yeezy 2s — an exceedingly rare sneaker, the product of a collaboration between Nike and the rapper Kanye West?
  • claimed to have “the best shoe game in the league”?

http://fdra.org/latest-news/a-huge-n-b-a-rivalry-sneaker-collections-pics/

See also:

http://ikeepsit100.com/category/sneaker-addict/

 

Sneakers: The Primer before the Polish

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1. A Brief History of Sneaker Brands

Check out the link for a gallery of thirteen great pictures.  Here’s a cheat sheet:

  • 1916 – U.S. Rubber, Keds, original sneaker
  • 1917 – Converse Rubber Shoe Company, All Star, high-top basketball shoes
  • 1920 – ‘Adi’ Dassler, shoemaker for Jesse Owens (1936); founds Adidas (1948)
  • 1937 – PF Flyers (for Posture Foundation), distributes weight evenly
  • 1958 – Reebok is founded
  • 1960 – New Balance, the Trackster, in multiple widths
  • 1970 (circa) – Nike co-founder creates treads with kitchen waffle iron
  • 1991 – Reebok, the Pump, custom cushioning
  • 2004 – Nike, the Free, original minimal shoe
  • 2005 – Vibram, the FiveFingers, sections for each toe
  • 2006 – Nike, the Air Max 360, foamless midsole
  • 2006 – Nike, the Air Zoom, ‘talks’ to Apple’s iPod nano
  • 2011 – Brooks, the PureProject, for a natural stride.

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/running/a-brief-history-of-sneakers/article4203243/

Article by Dave McGinn, The Globe and Mail, May 12, 2012.

 

 2.  He Says “Sneakers” and… She Says “Tennis Shoes”

Josh Katz, graphics editor at the New York Times and PhD student – http://www4.ncsu.edu/~jakatz2/ did an online questionnaire on specific word choices across the USA. This map shows the concentration of the use of “sneakers” as a vocabulary item.

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Source for map:

http://www.techinput.ru/en/main/messagepage/498/      

and more about this study:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/12/20/sunday-review/dialect-quiz-map.html?_r=1

 

This week’s blog will explore how sneakers have a wedge position in the sub-cultures of fashion and athletics.  Are we quietly trading our rubber soles, by another name?

 

 

 

“WINGS” Lyrics sung by Macklemore

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I was seven years old

When I got my first pair

And I stepped outside

And I was like, Momma

This air bubble right here

It’s gonna make me fly

I hit that court

And when I jumped, I jumped

I swear I got so high

I touched the net, Mom I touched the net

This is the best day of my life

Air Maxes were next

That air bubble, that mesh

The box, the smell, the stuffing, the tread

In school

I was so cool

I knew that I couldn’t crease em

My friends couldn’t afford em

Four stripes on their Adidas

On the court I wasn’t the best

But my kicks were like the pros

Yo, I stick out my tongue so everyone could see that logo

Nike Air Flight, book bag was so dope

And then my friend Carlos’ brother got murdered for his fours, whoa

See he just wanted a jump shot

But they wanted his Starter coat, though

Didn’t wanna get caught

From Genesee Park to Othello

You’d get clowned for those Pro Wings, with the velcro

Those were not tight

I was trying to fly without leaving the ground

Cause I wanted to be like Mike, right

Wanted to be him

I wanted to be that guy

I wanted to touch the rim

I wanted to be cool

And I wanted to fit in

I wanted what he had, America, it begins

 

[Hook]

I want to fly

Can you take me far away

Give me a star to reach for

Tell me what it takes

And I’ll go so high

I’ll go so high

My feet won’t touch the ground

Just stitch my wings

And pull the strings

I bought these dreams

That all fall down

 

[Verse 2]

We want what we can’t have

Commodity makes us want it

So expensive, damn

I just got to flaunt it

Got to show em

So exclusive, this that new shit

A hundred dollars for a pair of shoes

I would never hoop in

Look at me, look at me

I’m a cool kid

I’m an individual, yeah

But I’m part of a movement

My movement told me be a consumer and I consumed it

They told me to just do it

I listened to what that swoosh said

Look at what that swoosh did

See it consumed my thoughts

“Are you stupid?

Don’t crease ’em! Just leave ’em in that box!”

Strangled by these laces, laces I can barely talk

That’s my air bubble and I’m lost, if it pops

We are what we wear

We wear what we are

But see I look inside the mirror and think Phil Knight tricked us all

Will I stand for change

Or stay in my box

These Nikes help me define me

But I’m trying to take mine

Off

 

[Hook]

 

[Verse 3]

They started out

With what I wear to school

That first day

Like these are what make you cool

And this pair, this would be my parachute

So much more than just a pair of shoes

Nah, this is what I am

What I wore, this is the source of my youth

This dream that they sold to you

For a hundred dollars and some change

Consumption is in the veins

And now I see it’s just another pair of shoes

 

http://rapgenius.com/Macklemore-and-ryan-lewis-wing-lyrics

The song is a single released by Seattle rapper Macklemore and his producer, Ryan Lewis.

 

“The song “Wings” is about the pursuit of identity through the means of consumerism. The attempt is to dissect our infatuation and attachment to logos, labels, brands and the fleeting happiness that is intrinsically linked to the almighty power of the purchase. The subject I use in the song is shoes, but its aim is to paint a broader picture of being a consumer and tracing the lineage back to my first memory of retail infused desire.”

http://macklemore.com/post/43688861186/wings-the-nba-all-star-game-selling-out

 

Photo Source:  http://www.nicekicks.com/2011/07/28/wings-1-on-1-with-macklemore/