"All free Digital Downloads are Non-Commercial Use produced by amazing designers. We simply use the checkout process due to the Shopify's platform"

Experience the Unboxing of the Future of Sneakers at the Portland Art Museum's Future Now Exhibit

The Portland Art Museum is excited to announce the upcoming exhibit, Future Now: Virtual Sneakers to Cutting-Edge Kicks, which explores the endless possibilities for the world's most versatile sporting footwear. Mark your calendars for March 30th! The exhibition will be making its first stop in our city after its successful premiere at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.


This seems fitting considering that Portland, where Nike was born and Adidas found its American home, played a significant role in shaping the modern sneaker. The sneaker, with its diverse appeal, vibrant colors, and universal appeal, has captivated sneaker enthusiasts and become a dominant force in sports and street fashion.


Elizabeth Semmelheck, the show's curator, starts her book by examining the history of shoes and shoemaking. It delves into the time when skilled cobblers dominated the industry with their distinctive craftsmanship for centuries before the industrial revolution drove them out of business and ignored them. By the middle of the 19th century, the invention of sewing machines, rubber vulcanization, and vinyl had made mass-market footwear a must-have. In the 20th century, mold injection technology revolutionized the footwear industry, giving us iconic styles like the jelly sandal and the timeless chunky-heel Doc Martin boot.


In the 1970s, running and jogging became increasingly popular, with both professional and amateur athletes striving to improve their speed. This surge in interest prompted shoe companies like Adidas and Nike to continuously innovate, constantly searching for lighter, more supportive, and more breathable designs and materials. Michael Jordan was a major figure in the '90s. With his otherworldly aura and captivating energy, Nike was compelled to create increasingly innovative versions of the Air Jordan each year. This inspired other sneaker companies and prominent NBA players to follow suit. Then, during the 2000s, advancements in foam injection technology allowed for the creation of the Nike Foamposite, a highly sought-after collector's item, and the iconic Croc sandal that has become a staple in the culinary industry.




The exhibit highlights the intriguing connection between advancements in the material sciences, evolving cultural priorities, and the ever-evolving nature of shoe design. It explores how these factors have shaped the shoe object in the recent past and how they may continue to influence its form in the near future. Get ready to feast your eyes on a variety of footwear options. From vibrant multi-colored sneakers crafted with intricate cross-stitching to sleek high-fashion boots created using innovative techniques involving iron fillings and injected resin,. You'll also find cutting-edge 3D-printed shoes and cozy wool running shoes, just to name a few.


When we inquired about upcoming material advancements, Semmelheck responded without hesitation: "Mushroom leather is going to revolutionize everything," she confidently stated. "Although it has not been brought to scale yet, it is not currently a viable material. However, it won't be long before it becomes one." Many individuals have been eager to create a synthetic alternative to leather, but their efforts have thus far been fruitless. Leather has managed to withstand the test of time, despite its negative impact on the environment and animal welfare. "This material is really breathable," Semmelheck explained. "It's super durable, and it molds to our feet over time, so it's perfect for comfortable footwear."


Future Now also explores the future of footwear in digital spaces, and I must say, I was not impressed with how the exhibit dealt with NFTs, 'Metaverses,' and the need for public-facing avatars in video games and other digital realms. The NFT craze was absolutely terrible, in my opinion. It felt like a bizarre obsession with something that didn't even have any real value.


During our conversation, Semmelheck mentioned that when she was curating the exhibit, NFTs were at their peak. She explained that their inclusion in the exhibit reflects that particular moment in time. "Ten years ago, when my oldest child had friends over, they would spend a significant amount of time dressing up their character avatars, almost as much time as they spent actually playing the game," she explained. "In this virtual environment, the way we present ourselves holds great significance, despite its artificial nature."




"It's a fresh environment," Semmelheck remarked, "and within these novel settings, we have the potential to embark on something truly captivating." Imagine pushing the boundaries of our physical capabilities and defying societal expectations. That's not exactly how things have unfolded in the past few years. She has strong concerns about brand interference in digital spaces. She thinks that the presence of brands has hampered the development of the internet's visual and style life. Their intrusive presence has made the online space feel more crass than it should be. "We're free from the constraints of our physical bodies, so we don't need to carry any of those problems with us." But from what I observe, it seems like we're just duplicating and turning those virtual self-representations into commodities.


It's intriguing to see how sneaker culture has shifted to the online realm, but it's important to acknowledge that this change may not necessarily be positive.


In 2020, amidst the peak of COVID madness, Semmelheck, like countless others, found solace in Animal Crossing, Nintendo's unique blend of world cultivation and design simulation. "I got into collecting shoes and ended up transforming my house into a shoe museum," she mentioned, adapting her work to a digital platform while being physically separated from it due to the ongoing pandemic. "During my own experience with the game, I became obsessed with collecting KK Slider's records and displaying them on my wall. It was a reflection of my occasional fixation on collecting records.


There is a strong desire to recreate the physical world in digital spaces, even though it is not necessary. It's fascinating to consider where the future lies for those who have grown up immersed in the online worlds of Fortnite and Roblox. According to Semmelheck, the choices made by older individuals, who are more familiar with the physical world, can have an impact on our collective material experiences, whether positive or negative.


By Corbin Smith

Source: https://www.portlandmercury.com/spring-arts-preview-2024/2024/03/18/47082945/future-now-at-portland-art-museum-unboxes-the-future-of-sneakers

Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Featured collection

Close (esc)

Stay Up To Date

Sign up for 3DShoes.com's monthly mailing list where you will stay up to date with the latest trends, drops, and more. 

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now