Sneaker Pimps, in collaboration with Puma, is in India for its maiden tour. After last weekend’s show at blueFROG, Pune, featuring more than 500 pairs of vintage and limited-edition sneakers, sneaker-inspired artwork, sneaker fashion and customization booths, the exhibit is coming to Delhi on Sunday.

More than 500 “sneaker heads" attended the show in Pune that brought together hip hop and graffiti artists, pop art and EDM. The event also featured Sneaker Pimps founder Peter Fahey, DJ Neil Armstrong, DJ Uri and graffiti artist Futura. Founded by Fahey in Sydney in 2002, Sneaker Pimps has been to more than 63 cities across the world and held more than 500 shows.

“An India tour is something that has been on my mind for a while now," said Fahey after the Pune exhibit. “This edition is very special as it commences the celebrations for 50 years of the legendary Puma Suede. The sneaker culture in India is on the rise and I am very excited to be displaying this unique collection of kicks on this special occasion.

“It was a good experience to meet a bunch of sneakerheads in India. The one thing that stands out is the enthusiasm and conversation around sneakers. Because the sneaker culture is so new here, there is more excitement among the people."

The Urban Dictionary defines a sneakerhead as “one who is in love with but not limited to Jordans, Forces, Dunks, Maxes, etc". Sneaker collectors range from casual fans to those worshippers who buy and sell shoes like boxed commodities. Then there are fanatics who own hundreds of pairs.

Carnegie Mellon seniors Jesse Chorng and Elliott Curtis even started an official Carnegie Mellon course in 2008 called Sneakerology 101, which explores sneaker culture from its 1970s roots in New York City streetball to shoe design, manufacturing, child labour issues, and marketing.

At the Paris Fashion Week last month, Nike unveiled a female-focused global digital and retail concept called Unlaced, which will debut later this month as a primary online destination for Nike sneakers for women.

The global athletic footwear market is expected to reach $114.8 billion (around Rs7.4 trillion) by 2022, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 2.1% during 2016-22, according to research firm Allied Market Research. The firm attributes the growth to three reasons: obesity and related health issues, rapid urbanization, and the expansion of e-commerce.

Sneaker Pimps’ Delhi exhibit is being held at the Dhan Mill Compound near Chhattarpur on Sunday, starting at noon. Tickets, Rs1,200. For more details, visit http://insider.in/delhi

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