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Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture

Written by Elizabeth Semmelhack, Foreword by Emanuele Lepri and Pauline Willis, Contribution by Tinker Hatfield, Introduction by Bobbito Garcia

  • July 7, 2015
  • Hardcover
  • Design - Fashion & Accessories
  • Skira Rizzoli
  • 10 x 11-3/4
  • $45.00
  • $45.00
  • 978-0-8478-4660-3

About This Book

A groundbreaking traveling exhibition, Out of the Box showcases sneakers, from the mid-nineteenth century to sports performance breakthroughs, to present-day cultural icons. Drawn from the collection of the Bata Shoe Museum and significant private collectors, museums, and archives—including adidas AG, Converse Archives, Kosow Sneaker Museum, Nike Archives, Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, and Reebok Archives—this selection is richly contextualized with interviews and essays by design innovators, sneaker collectors, and cultural historians, creating a backdrop of the technical innovation, fashion trends, social history, and marketing campaigns that shaped the form over the past two centuries. 
Out of the Box includes sneakers ranging from an 1860 spiked running shoe, a pair of 1936 track shoes, Air Jordans I–XX3, the original Air Force 1, and early Adidas Superstars to contemporary sneakers by prominent figures including Damien Hirst, Jeremy Scott, Jeff Staple, and Kanye West. The book also highlights sneakers and prototype drawings that span the career of Nike sneaker design legend Tinker Hatfield, making this the definitive illustrated history of sneaker culture.

About the Author

Acclaimed shoe historian Elizabeth Semmelhack is senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Bobbito Garcia is the leading authority on sneaker culture. Ada Hopkins is a conservator at the Bata Shoe Museum. Dee Wells is the creator of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder. Tinker Hatfield is a Nike designer. Eric Avar is Nike’s creative director. Cey Adams was the founding creative director of Def Jam Records. Darryl McDaniels is a member of the hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. Walt Frazier is a former professional basketball player. Adam Horovitz is a member of the hip-hop group the Beastie Boys. Christian Louboutin is a footwear designer.


  • "A web of historical and cultural connections, Out of the Box draws people from all corners of the creative industry . . . [It] is a complex, incisive account of the sneaker’s reinvention over two centuries of technology, marketing, fashion and social trends."

    "For those devotees . . . 'Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture' will be something akin to a holy text. The book tracks the rise of sneakers from athletic necessity to icon of American casual wear, and features interviews with designers, curators, and collectors, plus hundreds of photos of the most grail-status kicks of all time."

    "[Out of the Box] is thoughtful, highly educational, and covers many bases from interviews with prominent design innnovators to the marketing campaigns that came to define modern day sneaker culture." 
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