Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's hit movie Air is officially available to stream at home on Prime Video, but Canada has gotten a particularly special way to celebrate this online release with the first-of-its-kind, free Sneakertopia exhibit at Toronto's STACKT Market (May 12 and May 13).
Co-founded by filmmaker Steve Harris, Sneakertopia is truly an immersive experience that allows sneaker-lovers and sneaker newbies alike to learn about sneaker culture through athletes, musicians and artists. It includes limited edition sneakers, like the Nike Air Presto Off-Whites, signed by the late Virgil Abloh.
"What the film established is that he, [Michael] Jordan, was such was such a phenomenal player and athlete, and his impact on basketball, it just permeated throughout the culture and pretty much kickstarted what it was to be an iconic athlete," Harris told Yahoo Canada. "That translates from fashion, film, music, television."
"He's the king of sneakers. He's the king of basketball and this exhibit, and what Prime has done with the film, is a huge representation of that."
The idea for Sneakertopia actually began when Harris was working with his producing partner, Marlon Wayans, on developing an idea for a sneaker documentary series. At that point, Harris teamed up with now Sneakertopia co-founder, Steve Brown, to create this experience. In originally launched in Los Angeles in 2019, expanding to Singapore earlier this year, before launching the weekend event in Toronto.
"As a professional working in film, I wanted to do something that was a brick and mortar, experiential version of what a film would look like if you were able to walk through it and experience it, take selfies, and use the AR technology to see the short stories about everybody here, and how we're all connected," Harris said.
"When you walk through Sneakertopia, you'll be able to see where the interconnection is for everyone and how we all come together, regardless of age, race, sex. It's just one big melting pot. Sneaker culture unites all culture."
What people outside of Toronto may not know is that the city is home to a notable sneaker shop, Makeway, which is Canada’s first stand-alone "for women, by women" sneaker and streetwear store. The exhibit, in conjunction with Makeway, celebrates the influence Jordan's mother, Doloris Jordan, had on the famed athlete's life. Something we also see play out in Air.
"It's significant that we're doing it on Mother's Day weekend," Harris highlighted. "We have Toronto-based sneaker designers ... designing for females by females."
"Michael's mom was significant in getting that deal made for Michael, which still resonates now as how important she was, not only in raising him, but in guiding his career once he was professional. This is not only Prime and Amazon's homage to Michael Jordan and the sneakers, but even more to the powerful women behind everything."
If anyone is looking to Harris for some guidance on a great looking sneaker to buy, he said he's a fan of the recently released reimagined Chicago Jordan 1.
Ultimately, no matter your style, one thing sneaker culture has been able to do is really bring together different generations with a common interest.
"I experienced that when we started our L.A. location. Families have come through, with the kids who are like 11 years-old, the parents and sometimes they'll have the grandparents with them, and all of them have a connection, not only with each other, but with the experience of the [exhibit,]" Harris explained.
"Everybody has experiences of sneakers, from their viewpoint. ... Sixty and under is the only generation that wears the same shoes on their feet as a teenager does. We grew up wearing sneakers. ... It's that same connection when you walk through Sneakertopia."