Located on the second floor of the brand new hard-to-miss HHLA shopping center right off of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, Sneakertopia is a pop-up museum that mixes displays of expensive and unique collector shoes with colorful and funky photo op areas. Priced at $29 for adults and $15 for children between the ages of 4 and 12, the museum is a place that your entire family will enjoy. While interacting with the displays, you will learn about sneakers’ impact on sports, film, music, and streetwear.
At the start of our exploration of the large warehouse-type building we were surprised to learn that the sneaker fad had begun with a classic shoe: Converse. Converse became a big part of athletics in 1922, when basketball player Chuck Taylor collaborated with the brand. They had proven to be comfortable and sturdy, so they began to be worn by basketball players in the NBA. The famous shoe started off as a high-top, and has since evolved into a multitude of styles such as low top, chunky basketball, boots, and even high heels.
As the walk-through tour continued, we found ourselves surrounded by shoes in glass cases that played a role in the music industry. The shoes included brands such as Nike, Air Jordan, Adidas, and many more. Some of the shoes on display were a part of monumental moments in music history such as the release of Eminem’s album Encore, Travis Scott’s performance at the grammys, and Kanye West and Keri Hilson’s music video for “Knock You Down”.
“If I can pick one shoe out of my collection to be my top favorite it would have to be my Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG,” Self-proclaimed sneakerhead Angel Contreras said. “These are my favorite pair because the Jordan 1 is a classic sneaker with history and collaborating with one of the biggest rapper names in the music industry is insane.”
The next room in the museum included shoes that collaborated with a movie or television show. You can find many Nike collaborations such as their partnership with Spongebob, Rick and Morty, and Back to the Future. Along with the shoes, backdrops with shoe-based renditions of movie posters are available to take pictures in front of.
One of the last rooms in the tour is meant to pay homage to sneakerheads and the street culture, which contains a “dream” closet display along with different sets to take photos in front of. Another room of the museum is the art room, which showcases an impressive large sneaker made out of boxes and wrappers of popular food, drinks, and candy.
“My interest in the sneaker culture was the fact that I can now fulfill those times when I was younger and couldn’t obtain the sneakers I wanted at the time,” Contreras said “Now, at the age of 24, I still want every single shoe that is released and I want to wear it to feel good about myself. Sneakers have become part of my life which has defined who I am as a person.”
Whether you are a sneakerhead or just fascinated with pop culture, the museum is definitely a place you will want to check out.