The Sports Shoe – from Field to Fashion

Thursday 11 April | 6-8pm

Join author Thomas Turner as he discusses the history of the sports shoe, with a particular focus on the 1960s. The ‘60s were a period of transformation in the sports footwear industry. The physical form of sport shoes was radically changed by new materials and methods of production, while television brought images of branded sportswear into millions of homes around the globe. This talk will explore manufacturers’ actions and experiences during the period 1952-1977, looking at how they harnessed the power of the media to promote innovative products. It will also consider how shifting sartorial boundaries and the flamboyant fashions of the period led to sports shoes becoming associated with celebrities and embraced more widely as comfortable, stylish everyday wear.

The Sports Shoe – a History from Field to Fashion, (£30.00, Bloomsbury, released February 2019) charts the journey from the Victorian tennis shoe all the way to the Nike Air Max by way of the Chuck Taylor All Stars. It discusses how changes in society, fashion and technology contributed to the evolution what is now a ubiquitous item of clothing. Covering over 100 years of the history of the sneaker, it is authoritative and insightful.

Thomas Turner is a historian and writer working in London. He has published several scholarly articles on the histories of sports shoes and popular culture, and has worked as a historical advisor with footwear brands, museums, and television production companies. He currently teaches History and Cultural Studies at Kingston University and London College of Fashion, and has worked previously at Birkbeck, University of London, Huddersfield University, and University for the Creative Arts. He was educated at the University of Oxford and at Birkbeck, University of London, where he received his MA and PhD. Thomas has worn, bought, and sold trainers for over thirty years.

Pre-order your copy of The Sports Shoe – a History from Field to Fashion with your event ticket to collect on the night of the talk, through the link below


Talk: £15 | £12 Students

Talk plus book: £45 | £42 Students

All tickets include a complimentary drink and exhibition entry.

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Numbers are limited for this event, please book early to avoid disappointment. If you have any questions about this event please complete our enquiry form.

The event starts at 6pm with a glass of wine in the Museum foyer and opportunity to view the current exhibition. The talk follows at 6.15pm for 6.20pm in the Fashion Studio and lasts for approximately one hour including an opportunity to ask questions, followed by a book signing in the foyer. Ticket includes admission to the exhibition and guests are welcome to view this before or after the talk.

The Sports Shoe – a History from Field to Fashion will be available for sale in the shop.

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