Though I have never personally owned a pair of Air Jordan shoes, I once scoured all of the MAC Cosmetic stores in New York City for a limited edition Rihanna lipstick; so I understand the obsession with wanting a special product. Everyone has their vices and though sneakers aren’t mine, I appreciate the motivation that drives sneaker enthusiasts and collectors. “Sneakerheadz” is a film about desire, consumption, style and nostalgia. The documentary is a sneaker novice’s introduction into the world of sneaker culture that simultaneously pays homage to the sneakerheads of the world.
The film opens with the history of sneakers, which coincided with the growth of hip-hop, as well as a fascination with popular athletes. From RUN-DMC’s historic Adidas contract, to the debut of the first Air Jordans in 1984, sneakers have been a significant component of popular culture for quite some time. In order to give the audience a chronological timeline, “Sneaekerheadz” makes use of old commercials starring huge sports figures like Magic Johnson, as well as childhood photographs from street cultural figures, like Mike Epps and Frank the Butcher. The set up was reminiscent of Rick Famuyiwa’s opening sequence from 2002’s “Brown Sugar”, where hip-hop artists recounted how they fell in love with hip-hop.
Despite the numerous historical facts in the film, “Sneakerheadz” doesn’t get bogged down in the past; it stretches and expands (literally) across the globe. From California to Tokyo, the film gives its audience a glimpse into how urban street wear and sneaker culture has influenced many facets of the world. The film boats snippets of vast personal collections that number into the thousands, a glossary breakdown of words like “colorway” and “deadstock”, and it carefully immerses its viewers into an environment that can feel very perplexing to those of us who don’t have the same passion for sneakers.
Continue Reading at Shadow and Act.
Image: Sneakerheadz Film Poster