Sneakers Unboxed

Sneakers since the 00’s

16 June 2022

Still the sneaker’s popularity remains undiminished, especially among young people. Worldwide subcultures keep adding specific models to their daily uniform. In the meantime, the styles vary enormously, but after 50 years exclusivity remains one of the most important values among sneakerheads.

At the turn of the millennium, the music genre of grime emerged in the UK. Both musically and sartorially, it was a rejection of the flamboyance of the jungle and garage music scenes that preceded it. Hooded tracksuits were paired with Nike Air Max models, dubbed ‘one-tens’ for their £110 price tag (around € 130). This look evolved into a monochrome uniform of black tracksuits worn with matching all-black Nike Air Huaraches, Prada Linea Rossa America’s Cups or Air Max BWs, as immortalised on the cover of grime artist Dizzee Rascal’s album Boy in da Corner (2003).

Photo Peter Tijhuis
Photo Peter Tijhuis

‘Cholombianos’ refers to a unique youth culture in Monterrey, Mexico, named after a slowed-down version of Colombian cumbia and vallenato music. Teenage fans have developed a distinctive form of sartorial expression. They favour shirts and t-shirts with overt religious iconography, hand-woven necklaces emblazoned with names, and dramatically gelled hairstyles, paired with customised or colour-matched Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars.

Bubble Koppe
Certain sneakers continue to find resonance with youth cultures around the world, who create local identities despite limited access to the latest models. Forgotten and obscure Nike silhouettes with the design feature known as ‘visible air’ or ‘bubbles’ has found a following since the 2010s in the Cape Flats suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. Devotees, now known as Bubble Koppe (‘Bubble Heads’), started a Facebook group that has grown into a scene with regular events and meetups between collectors.

Photo Peter Tijhuis