Soul 2 Sole from David Park on Vimeo.

The SLAM Dome wouldn’t be same without the sneakers. Every month the office is washed with the latest joints (to be featured later as Kick of the Day or in the magazine). The sneaks eventually ebb back to where they came from, but more often than not, a jewel shores up that we keep for the collection. After 15 years, the Dome transformed into a sneaker treasure trove, with shoes everywhere — hanging between ceiling tiles, hidden in huge plastic containers, drawers, shelves… even INSIDE Shaq’s size 22 boats!

Sneaker culture is unfathomably deep and the Dome houses but a tiny fraction of its rare treasures. The rest is out there on the streets, everywhere and anywhere. We’re swimming in it all the time, wherever we go. David Park created this digital tour of some of the brightest treasures over the years. It’s not easy to single-out the most important joints through sneaker history, but David deftly sweeps us through time without missing a single corner. So without any more blabbering, David now has the floor.–Ed.

by David Park

There are over 30 years of sneaker history and I knew that’s a lot to cover. That’s why I choose only the most iconic ones for my piece. I know everybody has their favorites and some people may not agree with everything I picked, but this is just my personal take. 

I wanted to make sure I made a full, thorough piece about the history of sneakers, but, at the same time, capture the fashion and people attached to them (adidas jackets, gold chains, NBA jerseys, etc.). Sneakers have become a part of our everyday lives. There are a lot of magazines and documentaries out there about sneakers. I majored in motion graphics, so I wanted to take that approach to it. As a sneakerhead, I basically wanted to cover the history of sneakers with a unique visual twist.

Picking the shoes to feature in the video wasn’t easy. But in the end, I relied mostly on personal experience. I’m in my 20s so my experience with sneakers only goes so far back, but I have an advantage in that I’ve lived in and traveled to a lot of places around the world. Trust me, this sneaker “fetish” is universal.

It’s very interesting to me that the appeal and popularity of certain sneakers is global — what’s hot in the U.S. is also hot in Japan. I just had to pick which shoes had the biggest impact across borders. As far as the sneakers before my time, I relied on magazines and videos.  

I fought with friends about about using phrase “sneaker culture.” Many people think of sneakers as just products, commodities, and just plain “shoes.” I respect sneaker designers because I look at sneakers like a piece of design, a work of art. If you’re into fashion, nice sneakers will complete your look. If you’re into basketball, a pair of Jordans is like having a piece of memorabilia. To sneakerheads it’s not only about being flashy or being a baller — it’s a hunting game of who can get their hands on these rare hidden prizes and afford them.

Compared to other sports, basketball and fashion are by far the most infused. When I go shopping for sneakers, I find basketball sneakers are usually the best designed. Even if you have the most comfortable sneaker that gives you Iverson’s speed and Kobe’s hops, it won’t sell if it doesn’t look good. Sneaker designers know this and they pay attention to the appearance too. I love watching the All-Stars because that’s when everybody gets really flashy and comes with their craziest kicks! 

I have a sneaker collection myself, but I’m not at Fat Joe’s status yet. Be assured I’m working on it! My collection consists of Jordans, Dunks, Air Maxes, Foamposites, Blazers and Supras.

SLAM wanted to know what hoops sneaker I thought was the most influential in the past 25 years. This is really hard. I definitely cannot pick one, so I’m just going to say Air Jordans as a whole. No doubt. Specifically, I think the IIIs and the XIs. Hope you enjoyed my rendition of sneaker culture!