An extremely rare and ingenious product line craved by sneaker buffs “KICKS LAB.” is a multi-brand store specializing in sneakers.
Watches, denim, T-shirts, vinyl records, wine, etc… In various areas, there are collectors and enthusiasts that pursue their profound world. Naturally, sneakers are one of those items that have many hardcore fans. Here, we will look into the fascination of “KICKS LAB.,” a concept shop specializing in sneakers, which is unparalleled in Japan.
The history of sneakers: work shoes-turned-fashion item
The history of sneakers is longer than most would expect. It is said that rubber-soled shoes called plimsolls were already being distributed in the latter half of the 18th century. At the time, they were crudely made, with no distinction between those for the right foot and left foot. So, an American rubber company made improvements and created shoes that were more comfortable using canvas fabric, named them Keds, and started to sell them. Since they were made with high precision, footsteps were barely heard from feet wearing them, hence they got their nickname “sneaker,” and it gradually became the synonym for sports shoes. Keds were the very first sneakers that were mass produced, and with that, the company Keds was founded in 1916.
In 1917, Converse, a company manufacturing rubber shoes that were resistant to rain and snow, introduced “Converse All Star,” which were shoes especially for basketball. Their high cut design that supported the ankles was very novel, and to this day, that design hasn’t changed much, which goes to show how innovative and functional they already were at the time.
In 1924, Adidas was established by Germany’s Adolf Dassler. Their shoes gathered attention when an athlete wearing their shoes won four gold medals in the Berlin Olympics in 1936, and Adidas established themselves as a shoe brand of competitive sports. Also, Adolf’s brother Rudolf founded Puma.
Until the mid-20th century, the majority of the demand for these shoes were for wearing them when engaging in sports, but since the 1950’s, more and more young people began wearing them as part of their fashion. In 1984, Michael Jordan signed up with Nike, and introduced the “Air Jordan,” which later became basketball shoes that made history for sneakers. They rose to the status of an important fashion item, and it still has its effect to this day.
“KICKS LAB.” is a “concept boutique” where rare items are gathered
In September of 2007, after 200 and some tens of years after the birth of the sneaker, the first domestic trade show specifically for sneakers called “KICKS LAB.” was held. The unprecedented show’s starting point was the desire to “provide a place where sneaker buffs can gather” attracted the attention of sneaker fans.
A year later, in October of 2008, the long-awaited shop “KICKS LAB.” opened in Harajuku, Tokyo. Under the concept of “a kind of sneaker shop that hadn’t existed before in Japan,” the shop boasted an unoriginal product line, drew the attention of sneaker buffs all over the world as well as in Japan. The shop has the number one domestic performance in supplying models not sold in Japan and selling exclusive models. “KICKS LAB.” has the unwavering trust of many fans as the “refuge for sneaker buffs” because of its line-up of rare items you cannot see anywhere else such as when introducing many collaboration projects offered by the shop.
We have interviewed KICKS LAB. about trends and popular items!
The trend for both men and women is “Dad shoes (lame but cool shoes that dads would wear),” which have characteristics of having thick soles with a chunky silhouette. Each brand has reproduced designs and items from the 90’s, and there is much excitement.
The shop has substantial limited collaborative products with each brand!
●KICKS LAB.× adidas
It is a popular model distinctive of a collaborative product with specifications such as excellent stretchability that make them comfortable to wear, and the logo of “adidas Originals,” the Trefoil, made of reflective material.https://store.kickslab.com/item/f97486.html
Substantial limited models rarely sold in Japan which are craved by fans
Their characteristics are the voluminous uppers and silhouette of the thick soles. It is a retro girl’s model.https://store.kickslab.com/item/f0215-0516.html
Celebrating its 50th anniversary of its birth, the timeless masterpiece “SUEDE” is a limited model only sold in Japan. The entire surfaces of the uppers are embossed, making them fit for a dressy fashion as well. It is a special model with insoles that have Japanese patterns of waves, and on the right shoe are the words “MADE IN JAPAN” printed in English and on the left shoe are the words “MADE IN JAPAN” printed in Japanese.https://store.kickslab.com/item/366609-01.html
It is their first signature model released in 1985. It is a split upper model using the two original color ways in the same pair.https://store.kickslab.com/item/861428-061.html
They also have the masterpiece that was used by Michael Jordan during the 1987-1988 season!https://store.kickslab.com/item/398614-116.html
「KICKS LAB. 」https://store.kickslab.com/
*The above information was last updated December 3, 2018. For further details, please contact the facilities directly.
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