Exhibition

Sneakers at the museum !

13 October 2021 - 25 July 2022

Comfortable in your sneakers ? These wardrobe essentials are now on display at the Musée de l’Homme: in this unique exhibition, learn about the history of sneakers, from their origins to the present day !

© MNHN - 2021. Réalisation : F. Dubos

The exhibition

“Sneakers”, “sports shoes”, “plimsolls”... Whatever they’re called—they are revolutionary ! Following their creation, various innovations have defined the sneaker market. The cultivation of rubber—a plant material whose properties were already known to the Aztecs—allowed for their mass production.

Initially associated only with sporting activities, the hip-hop movement soon put them on everyone's feet. Born in the U.S.A, hip-hop made its way to Europe by way of TV, cinema, music, and video games, and it is linked with the emergence of counter-cultures. Sneakers therefore became symbols of the social and cultural expression of certain minorities.

In addition to being synonymous with freedom and emancipation, they are also generally considered to be provocative and transgressive. They have become a true fashion accessory and play an essential role for brands.

Today everyone wears them: they transcend gender, age, and socio-cultural backgrounds. This exhibition puts them in the spotlight and will immerse you in this colourful world, from its origins to the present day !

But are they actually well-suited to our physical features ? To find out, stop by the experimental area to examine your foot, compare it, and learn about one of the major issues in footwear research and development: how to reconcile mass production with fitting every individual’s foot.

The commission

Franz Manni, scientific manager of the Balcon des sciences

Gilles Bérillon, paleoanthropologist specialising in bipedal locomotion

Jean Leclercq, sport industry expert

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