It might be strange to consider that one of the only things that can transcend the boundaries of gender, age, and race is a pair of shoes. But there is something about the sneaker that has allowed it to infiltrate the wardrobes of billions of people across the globe, solidifying its status as an icon across different forms of culture, like music, sports, and fashion.
The Brooklyn Museum's latest exhibit, The Rise of Sneaker Culture, celebrates the lengthy history of cool kicks, with nearly 150 pairs of sneakers across a variety of styles and time periods on display: There are old-school rubber-soled tennis shoes, worn when the court was made of grass. There are Adidas signed by Rev Run, who said in the exhibit, "Truth be told...the sneaker game was and STILL is deep." There are even New York Fashion Week street-style faves, like Raf Simons- and Louis Vuitton-designed sneaks.
In other words, the exhibit is not just a sneaker-head paradise but a destination for cultural connoisseurs of all kinds, from those who would envy the multiple walls of Air Jordans to those who waited in line all night to score a pair of Yeezys to proponents of wearable art like the Nike collaboration with modernist Tom Sachs. Should you fall into any of the above categories (or are simply looking to, well, get your kicks), we pulled together 27 seriously awesome pairs of sneakers we've spotted on the streets of New York City. Consider these to be definitely museum-worthy.