Past Exhibition

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street

Step up and discover the footwear phenomenon that has challenged performance design, inspired subcultures and shaken the world of fashion.

'This fun show has all the answers – including how to get really fat laces.'

★★★★ The Guardian

'A technicolour medley of shapes and styles' ★★★★ Evening Standard

'A post-lockdown must-see.' Vogue


Jordan x Colette Jordan I Retro High (F&F)

Installation view from within the Style section

adidas NMD HU Pharrell Human Race

The Design Museum's Young Creatives exploring the exhibition


Edmond Looi customised adidas IKEA Ultraboost

PUMA x MIT Design Lab x Biorealize Breathing Shoe

Installation view from Sustainability section, featuring Nike Cosmic Unity

Helen Kirkum x Casely-Hayford, CH TX65 White

Helen Kirkum Sneaker Archaeology

Reebok InstaPump Fury

VEJA component materials

Installation view into Tipping Point section, featuring runway looks from A-COLD-WALL*, CRAIG GREEN, and Versace.

What to expect

Know your Air Jordans from your Air Force 1s?

From trainers originally designed for specific athletic activities like the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, the Puma Disc, and Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, discover how sneakers such as the Reebok InstaPump Fury, the Vans Half Cab and the Asics Gel Lyte III have become cultural symbols of our times.

Take a journey through the design process behind some of the most technically inventive shoes of today with the Adidas FutureCraft.Strung shoe-making robot designed by Kram/Weisshaar, Satoshi, a brand using blockchain certification and the world’s first biologically active shoes developed by MIT Design Lab and Biorealize for Puma.

Then delve into the lucrative resale market that is currently valued at $10 billion in data visualisations from Stock X, before reliving the streetwear staple's high-fashion reinvention including sneakers by Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons and Y-3 and runway looks from A-COLD-WALL* and CRAIG GREEN.

Uncover the icons and collaborations that have shaped the sneaker scene over the years from Michael Jordan and Run-DMC to Kanye West, experience visuals and graphic work from Jamel Shabazz, Amanda Watkins, Grace Ladoja, Simon Wheatley and Reuben Dangoor, and meet the designers working to make the industry more sustainable, Stella McCartney, Helen Kirkum and Alexander Taylor.

StockX is a Detroit-based technology leader focused on the large and growing online resale marketplace for sneakers, apparel, accessories, collectables, and electronics. The platform connects buyers and sellers using the dynamic pricing mechanics of the world’s stock markets.

The virtual tour

Sneakers Unboxed: The Virtual Tour

Can't visit the museum in person? Enjoy a specially curated tour of Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street from wherever you are.

Sneakers Sweepstake

Sneakers Sweepstake

The Design Museum launches a campaign for a cause, in partnership with StockX.

Skate X Sneakers

Skate X Sneakers

The Design Museum and StockX have teamed up once again as part of the Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street exhibition to bring to life a comprehensive timeline of skate shoe design.

Try Sneaker 0

Sneaker 0 by Snap

At the Design Museum, we’re always looking for innovative ways to reshape the museum experience. In partnering with Snapchat we’ve been able to re-imagine that whole process by extending the Sneakers exhibition into people's phones and even onto their feet. Sneaker 0 is not only made by machine learning using curatorial research and imagination, it’s an entirely new way for people to engage with a complex design story.”
Tim Marlow, Design Museum CEO

Design your own sneakers

Pensole Interactive: Create Your Design

Try your hand at sneaker design when you visit the museum with the Pensole Interactive Competition. Sneakers Unboxed visitors can virtually design their own sneaker and three lucky winners will be chosen to receive a real pair of their creation. Competition entry is only available for exhibition visitors. Please note: when onsite at the museum, you must be connected to the Design Museum Guest Wi-fi to create an account.

Shop online

Exhibition Poster artwork by Jack Harper

Exhibition Photography by Ed Reeve and Felix Speller

Exhibition Trailer Credits:
Creative Direction: @playniceldn
Words & Concept: @ayomkn
Director & Collage: @georgewilliamvicary
Collage Assistant: @a.lexbk
Art Direction & Design: @aaron _ skipper
Motion: @ma _ rk _ g
Producers: @curtisjohncyrus | Ayo Fagbemi @playniceldn
Run DMC & Posse: Hollis, Queens, 1984 photography by Janette Beckmann @janettephoto