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Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street

A massive sneaker exhibition from London's Design Museum with 200-plus shoes is taking over HOTA Gallery on the Gold Coast.
By Sarah Ward
September 25, 2023
By Sarah Ward
September 25, 2023

It's always a good idea to wear sneakers when you're walking around a gallery, but they're the only kicks that'll do when Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street arrives Down Under. First staged by The Design Museum in London, this exhibition pays tribute to the footwear's origins and evolution — through sports to fashion, surveying iconic brands and names, and obviously touching upon basketballers Chuck Taylor and Michael Jordan's relationships with the shoes.

In total, more than 200 sneakers will be on display during Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street's Australian-premiere and Australian-exclusive season at the Gold Coast's HOTA Gallery. The six-level spot will give over its walls and halls to shoes, shoes and more shoes over the summer of 2023–24, starting on on Saturday, November 25, and marking the site's first major design exhibition since opening in 2021.

While a hefty amount of trainers will feature, the entire showcase will span 400-plus items. The other objects at Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street include photos, videos, posters, artworks and process material, all helping to explore the journey that the footwear style has taken in its design and culturally.

Expect to learn more about sneakers that were initially made specifically for getting sweaty, which is where the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars and Nike Airs come in (and, with the latter, to add to a year that's already seen the movie Air step through the story behind them). Also set to feature: the shoes that've become cultural symbols (such as the Vans Half Cab and Reebok InstaPump Fury), future advancements in making kicks (as seen with Biorealize for Puma) and big-name collaborations (Jordan, of course, plus Run-DMC and more).

Attendees will also check out sneakers that've made a splash on the runway (Comme des Carçons and A-Cold-Wall*, for instance), find out more about plant-based sneakers (such as Veja and Native Shoes) and customisable kicks (as Helen Kirkum and Alexander Taylor are doing), and dive into celebrity endorsements (Travis Scott with Nike, Pharell for Adidas and the like).

Laid out in chapters called 'STYLE' and 'PERFORMANCE', the exhibition's first part goes big on aesthetics and its second on the act of making the best trainers — covering Chuck Taylor's basketball clinics, sneaker culture in New York City and everything that's happened since.

Images: Ed Reeve, Design Museum London.

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