Sneakers have been obsessed over since long before sports icons Chuck Taylor, Stan Smith, Jack Purcell and Michael Jordan launched their famous namesake brands. The first sneakers were made way back in the late 19th century from tough, vulcanized rubber used for tires and the soles of ancient canvas uppers like these surprisingly cool 1890s-era kicks from Goodyear.
Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture traces the once-humble athletic shoe from its primordial beginnings through modern classics by Nike, Adidas, Converse, Puma and Reebok, all the way up to the latest limited-edition collabs from Kanye West, artist Damien Hirst and designer Jeremy Scott.
Shoe historian and author Elizabeth Semmelhack enlisted prominent sneakerheads including Bobbito Garcia, Nike's Tinker Hatfield, Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC and NBA legend Walt "Clyde" Frazier to contribute to the lavishly-illustrated Out of the Box, based on a celebrated exhibit coming to the Brooklyn Museum in July.
Here’s a sneak peek at 15 of the book's coolest kicks.
Converse Rubber Shoe Company, All Star/Non Skid, 1917:
Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, Modell Waitzer," 1936:
Converse Gripper, early 1950s:
Nike Waffle Trainer, 1974:
Adidas Stan Smith, 1980s
Adidas X Run–DMC 25th Anniversary Superstar, 2011
Adidas Micropacer, 1984:
Nike Air Jordan I, 1985:
Nike Air Jordan III, 1988:
Nike Foamposite, 1997:
Nike X Staple Design Dunk Low Pro SB Pigeon, 2005
Louis Vuitton X Kanye West Don, 2009:
Puma X Undefeated Clyde Gametime Gold, 2012:
Adidas X Jeremy Scott Totem, 2013:
Common Projects, Achilles Low, 2015:
Photos by American Federation of Arts/Bata Shoe Museum