Art & Sole

21 04 2010

I would like to somewhat digress from my previous sneaker background posts and provide you all with the creative side of sneakers.  I recently purchased a book called, Art & Sole:  Contemporary Sneaker Art & Design, that is written and designed by Intercity.  It served as an inspiration for my topic of sneakers and helped me discover another side of the culture I would have otherwise not known.

Art & Sole Cover

It is a book that focuses exclusively on contemporary, cutting-edge sneaker design.  Further, it seeks out to explore and celebrate the creative side of sneaker culture.  One half of the book documents the burgeoning art scene connected with the sneaker phenomenon.  It showcases artist and designer collaborations, and emphasizes the iconic nature of the sneaker.  These artists and designers go as far as actually influencing the design of sneakers themselves.

Here are some of the interesting findings in the book in which artists base their work on sneakers:

In 2007, the collaboration between Tanaka and sports fashion brand Onitsuka Tiger celebrates Japanese creativity and innovation.  They created a unique design that allows sneaker enthusiasts to create their own customized origami sneakers.

Example of origami sneakers

To create your own design, download the origami template.

For a tutorial on how to create the paper art, visit the project website.


I Have Pop was a concept conceived in 2003 by a graffiti artist who went by the name JUSE.  His idea was to create a different perspective on particular elements of pop culture through street art projects.

“The items themselves and the location create the context.  Not everyone will be able to understand what is being communicated, but the people who it is intended for will get it.”

Think Outside The Box Project

The featured project was produced in collaboration with Solebox, and the idea was to create sneakers from the boxes they are packaged in.

“Because most of my projects have a critical note, I dubbed the project Think Outside The Box, hoping to spur people on to think a little further than the next cool pair of sneakers.”


The Electric Light Shoe is a homage to the ambiance and energy of Japan.  It was the focal point in the Electric Tiger Land campaign.  It was designed by Dutch agency Freedom of Creation, and measures one meter long.  The sculpture features a city within a shoe and incorporates many elements from Tokyo’s skyline including neon signage.  Many of the features are individually lit by one of the 300 LED lights and there is also an iPod dock which plays ambient sounds.

Electric Light Shoe created by FOC designers


There are many other featured sneaker art and designs, and I intend to explore them in future posts.