Whether you love the athleisure trend or hate it, it won't be going away any time soon. The staple of this trend - sneakers - have moved from the street to the runway, and now to a museum with the Brooklyn Museum of Art's latest exhibit. The Rise of Sneaker Culture was originally organized by the American Federation of Arts, Bata Shoe Museum of Toronto, and Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, who describes that the "sneakerhead" movement, which really began in the 90s, as "linked to new expressions of masculine success." Though the exhibit tells the story of sneaker culture through men's footwear, sneakerhead culture is not just a man's game anymore. High fashion brands from Chanel to Dior have sent female models in sneakers down the runway in recent couture shows.
This exhibit, which runs until October 4th, features 150 pairs of sneakers, dating back to the 1800s to help us understand not only how sneakers have become fashionable, but also how much innovation has occurred (especially in terms of materials used) and how much their function has changed in the past century. From classics like the first Converse All-Star from 1917 and Nike's first trainer, the Nike Cortez from 1972 to ultra-luxury and nearly impossible to find designs like The Reebok x Chanel Insta Pump Fury, we were amazed by how far kicks once made for children and athletes have come, and reminded of how far they still have to go in terms of ethical production and sustainable practices.
View our favorite conscious women's sneakers here, and see our men's picks below.