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The Rise of Sneaker Culture

images | Wa collectors | my sneaker story | events | tours | education | sneaker tv

“This is a thought-provoking and informative exhibition…”

Clarissa Ball, The Conversation

“Walking through the exhibition, it becomes quickly apparent just how much these shoes are genuine works of art. It’s quite dazzling, and surprising, and magical.”

William Yeoman, The West Australian


More than 150 rare and iconic sneakers are now in Perth

After popular showings in Toronto, Brooklyn and Atlanta, the international exhibition The Rise of Sneaker Culture is on display at AGWA for its only Australian presentation.

The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first exhibition to explore the complex social history and cultural significance of the footwear now worn by billions of people throughout the world.

On display are shoes from the archives of Adidas, Converse, Nike and Puma, as well as private collectors such as legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia (Kool Bob Love) and Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder. Also featured are sneaker collaborations between celebrities, artists and high-end fashion houses, including Kanye West, Damien Hirst, Prada, and Lanvin.

Among the shoes on display are an 1860s spiked running shoe, an original 1923 Converse All Star/Non Skid, a pair of 1936 track shoes, the original Air Force 1, and early Adidas Superstars. Also featured is a complete presentation of Air Jordans I–XX3 on loan from the Kosow Sneaker Museum.

Heath Ledger: A Life in Pictures opens 14 October 2017

Film footage, interactive media, photographic images, and design drawings contextualise the sneakers and explore the social history, technical innovations, fashion trends, and marketing campaigns that have shaped sneaker culture over the past two centuries.



in the show

Images and content thanks to the American Federation of Arts and Bata Shoe Museum.

For more on The Rise of Sneaker Culture head to  


guru Guided TOURS | FREE

2pm, Wednesday Sunday

Just for kicks, join one of our fab Guru Guides for a short introduction to the world of sneakers.

book your place

Bookings not essential, but priority is given to those who have reserved their place.



5 April – 29 May: Lee Ingram

31 May – 17 July: Highs and Lows | HAL - Collaborative Collection A Decade of Design

19 July – 4 September: WA Collective

Kat Murphy is a life-time sneaker fan whose tastes include a love for velcro straps and sneaker bling (not always mutually exclusive). LEARN MORE


Highs and Lows pop up Shop

10am-5pm, 13 May – 4 September 2017

Celebrated sneaker retailer, Highs and Lows, has set up shop at AGWA in an exciting retail collaboration.

Check out their pop-up store for the latest kicks and limited edition merchandise. READ MORE


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The winner of the AGWA Shop competition - Purchase any SNEAKERHEADS key ring or pin at the AGWA Shop and enter the draw to win a signed set of six sneaker mugs - is Emma Tierney.



Organised by                                                                                                    Major Partner for presentation at AGWA

American Federation of Arts logo     Bata Shoe Museum logo                              Act Belong Commit logo      Healthway logo


The Rise of Sneaker Culture is organised by the American Federation of Arts and the Bata Shoe Museum.
The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum.

Coordinating Curator, Robert Cook, AGWA Curator of Contemporary Design and International Art.



Curtin University logo      Department of Sport & Recreation        Fashion Council logo        Hights and Lows logo        West Australian Music logo


media partners

NOVA logo  APN Outdoor logo


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