If anyone knows the shoes, it’s Elizabeth Semmelhack. Director and senior curator of the beloved Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Semmelhack is famous for curating some of the most creative fashion exhibitions in Canada. His last ? Future Now: virtual sneakers with cutting edge kicksa celebration of sneakers and sneaker culture, which received acclaim last week.
“Sneakers are eminently modern,” says Semmelhack, of the shoe’s enduring appeal. “Since their origin in the mid-19th century, sneakers have been connected to technological innovation, consistently making them the most cutting-edge footwear available to us.”
The curator also notes their cultural significance: “The signing of Michael Jordan by Nike in 1984 and the signing of Run-DMC by Adidas in 1986 were watershed moments in the history of sneaker culture, but that was in the years 1970 that rap, basketball and fashion began to become inextricably intertwined. Sneakers wouldn’t have the importance they have today if rap hadn’t emerged in New York in the 1970s, and black and Hispanic kids hadn’t invented the station wagon in response, wearing the iconic sneakers created for NBA greats such as Walt Frasier’s Puma Clydes. .”
This fascinating story informs the exhibition, which also focuses on the future of footwear. “How are we going to respond to environmental and societal concerns in terms of footwear? What opportunities does the metaverse provide for fashion? I decided to cure future now as a way to explore some of the issues,” says Semmelhack. Here, the curator puts together a list of the best sneakers to invest in right now.
Shop Elizabeth’s Picks for the Best Sneakers of 2022
“My top pick, if you can get a pair, are the Crocs x Salehe Bembury Pollex, which dropped May 24. Bembury is one of the most interesting shoe designers working right now and their collaboration with Crocs represents the first time the brand has let anyone change their mold.The forward-looking design is based on Bembury’s fingerprint.
“For anyone interested in futuristic fashion, Yohji Yamamoto is a must-have designer. His longtime collaboration with Adidas with Y-3 has resulted in many amazing sneaker designs. The Y-3 Idoso Boost features a smart heel shape and would make a strong statement this summer.
“Some of the most cutting-edge shoes are created by Beijing-based Scry. Chief designer Zixiong Wei works digitally from design to manufacturing to create remarkably durable, sci-fi footwear. My pick would be the Neptune Hybrid Lunar to see you through summer and fall. The packaging created by Scry is also remarkable.
“Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in fashion, so I’ve included a pair of Converse Renew Chuck Taylor All Stars with knit uppers and lightweight crater soles. The All Star debuted in 1918 and remains in fashionable over 100 years later.This updated version retains the history of the shoes while taking Converse towards its goal of zero waste.
“New Balance had a moment, and I personally love the XC-72. It was designed by Charlotte Lee, who also made the 327, and is a very thoughtful reimagining of a number of elements and futuristic New Balance ideas from the 1970s and early 1980s, like the New Balance Gator. It comes in a range of colorways; I think medium blue is perfect for summer.
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