Toronto’s own Bata Shoe Museum has just launched its newest exhibition, FUTURE NOW: Virtual Sneakers to Cutting-Edge Kicks on Thursday, May 26. The exhibit explores the future of sneaker culture with a heavy emphasis on futuristic, digital, environmentally conscious footwear, and more. The collection consists of an array of pieces that lead the visitor up a compelling timeline with a glimpse into the future, both considered and out there. Featuring the Back to the Future inspired auto-lacing Nike MAG to the virtual NFT brands RTFKT x Staple Meta-Pigeon, digitally designed and 3D printed shoes, sneakers made from mushroom leather and reclaimed ocean plastics and of course footwear created specifically for the metaverse. In addition to the future of materials and design, FUTURE NOW also celebrates the new wave of designers and brands who are looking towards the future including Salehe Bembury, Steven Smith, RTFKT, Mr. Bailey, Zaha Hadid, Nike ISPA, Safa Şahin, Tom Sachs, EKTO VR, Saysh, Benoit Méléard, SCRY, Yeezy, and many more.
The exhibition is divided into the four areas, innovation, sustainability, transformation and the virtual world. Highlights in each catagory include the self-lacing Nike MAG, the first shoe to ever be made using rotation moulding, created by Rem D. Koolhaas and renowned architect Zaha Hadid, under the INNOVATION catagory. For SUSTAINABLE, Streetwear brand FW_D XP4_Mavy created a sneaker made of recyclable materials and is PETA approved, and a digitally designed and printed biomorphic boot by SCRY designer Zixiong Wei. With the TRANSFORMATIVE we have hot new footwear designer and collaborator dejur Salehe Bembury who created the first pair of Crocs to break the mould, literally creating a new mold inspired by his own finger print; independent designer Daniel Bailey, aka Mr. Bailey’s super over the top yet totally apprpioated Octopus shoe, created for artist Takashi Murakami’s ComplexCon exhibition “Sneakers for Breakfast,” Finally under VIRTUAL there is EKTO VR’s motorized boots for wear by VR users in virtual spaces; there is RTFKT’s IRL version of their Jeff Staple NFT RTFKT x Staple Meta-Pigeon. All in all it’s a well curated exhibtion.
FUTURE NOW: Virtual Sneakers to Cutting-Edge Kicks is open now and runs until October 2023.