The Shoebox Museum Celebrates Sneakerhead Packaging

by evelio mattos on 09/12/2019 | 3 Minute Read

The Shoebox Museum was the first exhibition of its kind, displaying sneakerhead culture’s most iconic sneaker packaging complete with panel discussions and hands-on exhibits. 

Held in New York’s Lower East Side last August, the museum was a partnership between How Life Unfolds, the Paper and Packaging Board and Matt Halfhill, founder and publisher of Nice Kicks

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In sneakerhead culture, besides the buying, trading, and collecting hard to find limited edition sneakers for love of sneakers or as long term investments, you can still find many collections kept in their original shoe boxes.

“The box has really become as much a collector's item as the shoes. You look at some cats’ closets, and you don’t even see the shoes - you just see a wall of boxes”

- Jeff Staple

Staple Pigeon Menswear, Founder & Creative Director

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Complete with a hands-on station that allowed visitors to assemble their own shoeboxes and learning the history and process of packaging design, this was an event for both sneakerheads and packaging enthusiasts. 

Curated by Matt Halfhill, founder of Nice Kicks, the museum looks at the sneaker box through three separate lenses: design, brand experience and uncommon concepts. To create the exhibit, Matt carefully sourced a unique collection of boxes that have created memorable journeys for consumers and cult-like followings for brands.

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 “Sneaker brands know they need to innovate to stand out from the crowd. For special releases, and luxury items especially, brands put an immense amount of design effort into the box to create an unforgettable consumer journey,” says Matt. Canvas shoe fans rejoiced at the original Converse All Star boxes as well as the Vans Off The Wall checkered boxes. Nike Air Jordan sneaker boxes from several years were displayed, including the first Air Jordans to diverge from Nike’s standard packaging. Also on display were more recent boxes including the 2002 Nike SB line of boxes that later went on to become the inspiration for the actual shoes. 

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“The sneaker industry is projected to reach over $95 billion in value by 2025 – the safe passage and consumer experience for nearly all of those goods are powered by paper-based packaging,” says Mary Anne Hansan, president of the Paper and Packaging Board who helped bring the project to life. 

“Beyond the safety and security they provide, shoeboxes help brands set the tone for the product inside through graphic art, interesting textures and innovative construction,” she adds. 

“The impact of the shoebox should not be overlooked.” 

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