This is the first academic study of sneakers and the subculture that surrounds them. Since the 1980s, American sneaker enthusiasts, popularly known as “sneakerheads” or “sneakerholics”, have created a distinctive identity for themselves, while sneaker manufacturers such as Reebok, Puma and Nike have become global fashion brands.
How have sneakers come to gain this status and what makes them fashionable? In what ways are sneaker subcultures bound up with gender identity and why are sneakerholics mostly young men? Based on the author's own ethnographic fieldwork in New York, where sneaker subculture is said to have originated, this unique study traces the transformation of sneakers from sportswear to fashion symbol.
Sneakers explores the obsessions and idiosyncrasies surrounding the sneaker phenomenon, from competitive subcultures to sneaker painting and artwork. It is a valuable contribution to the growing study of footwear in fashion studies and will appeal to students of fashion theory, gender studies, sociology, and popular culture.
About the Author
Yuniya Kawamura is Professor of Sociology at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, USA. She is the author of The Japanese Revolution in Paris Fashion (Berg, 2004), Fashion-ology (Berg, 2005), Doing Research in Fashion and Dress (Berg, 2011), and Fashioning Japanese Subcultures (Berg, 2012).
Table of Contents
Introduction: Placing Sneakers within Sociology
Chapter 1: Academic Research on Footwear
Chapter 2: Sneakers as a Subculture: From Underground to Upperground
Chapter 3: Sneakers as a Symbol of Manhood: Wearing Masculinity on Their Feet
Chapter 4: Sneakers as Fashion: Reclaiming Masculine Adornment
Chapter 5: The Sneaker Subculture from Durkheimian Perspectives
Conclusion: Future Directions and Possibilities in Footwear Studies