How Waffle Irons And Awkward Rivalries Created 6 Iconic Kicks

For sneakerheads — that especially otaku form of fashion fan who lines up for limited-edition drops, and then flies to New York just to fondle the Saran-wrapped shoes at Flight Club — the sneaker is more than a humble piece of sports apparel. It's an object of cultlike devotion, the canvas on which minute design details are dissected; pieces of wearable art that, even at their most outrageously high-priced, are still more tantalizingly accessible than a Kusama or Koons.

For those devotees, the forthcoming Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture will be something akin to a holy text. The book tracks the rise of sneakers from athletic necessity to icon of American casual wear, and features interviews with designers, curators, and collectors, plus hundreds of photos of the most grail-status kicks of all time.

Think you know your sneaks? Not if you don't know the tales of waffle irons, NBA outlaws, and thoroughly awkward sports rivalries ahead. Click on for the thoroughly entertaining origin stories behind some of the most coveted athletic footwear of all time.

Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture,
by Elizabeth Semmelhack, is available for pre-order at Rizzoli.

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