Unboxed: A Cultural History of Sneakers

February 25, Thursday, 7 p.m.

View the recording of this event here.

Elizabeth Semmelhack interlaces the history of sneakers with fascinating stories of cutting-edge technological innovation, complex cultural politics, and shifting ideas of gender, tracing how these influences transformed sneakers into the cultural icons they are today.

Elizabeth Semmelhack is the creative director and senior curator of the Bata Shoe Museum and has curated over 30 exhibitions, including the blockbuster traveling exhibition “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture.” Her most recent books include Collab: Sneakers x Culture, Dior by Roger Vivier, Shoes: The Meaning of Style, Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture, and Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels. Other recent publications include “From Lawn Tennis to Eugenics: A History of Women and Sneakers”  and “Playing Nice: The Making of Out of the Box.” Her work focuses on the intersections of fashion, economics, and gender with a particular interest in the history of footwear, and she is widely quoted in the media, from The New York Times to Vogue. 

This event is presented in conjunction with Andy Yoder: Overboard, an exhibit of 240 replicas of Air Jordan 5s (size 13), each one handmade from recycled and repurposed packaging materials, inspired by “The Great Shoe Spill of 1990.”