Sneakerology: A History of Sneakers, From Chucks to Cha-Ching

, Founder, Sneakerology and vitaminTHICK

To many, footwear is purely of utilitarian value, forming a sliver of comfort and protection between body and terrain.  To an increasing number of collectors and consumers, however, sneakers warrant week long camp-outs for limited edition releases, exorbitant secondary market values, and entire online communities dedicated solely to, well, soles.

Regardless of where one falls on this spectrum, the shoes we lace up display narratives of our past and present, interests and allegiances, personalities and preferences.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, sneakers have become artifacts of societal shifts, reflecting social revolution in the 60s, punk rock rebellion of the 70s, and hip hop identity of the 80s, to name a few.

Sneakers are a consumable aesthetic representation of culture, and their value as a medium for communication transcends the leather, mesh, and rubber of which they are comprised.

Over the span of several Skillshare sessions, Sneakerology will examine sneaker culture and the footwear industry from a variety of lenses, including the historical roots of brands, the ties between hip hop, basketball, and kicks, sneakers’ involvement in social movements, impact and legacy of Air Jordan, iconic and effective marketing campaigns, footwear design and production, innovative technology and engineering, and much more.
Up first, Session I, A History of Sneakers: From Chucks to Cha-Ching
Join us as we delve into a timeline of the sneaker industry and highlight incidents of resourcefulness, entrepreneurial ingenuity, innovation, and the perfect storm known as Air.

  • Sneakerology: A History of Sneakers, From Chucks to Cha-Ching


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Elliott Curtis

Founder, Sneakerology and vitaminTHICK
Elliott Curtis is a cultural entrepreneur with a passion for discovering the interlacing nuances of sport, fashion, music, and art.  Born and raised just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Curtis traveled to Pittsburgh for college, where he graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Decision Science and was a four year player on the school's basketball team.

While attending Carnegie Mellon, Curtis co-founded Sneakerology, the worlds first college accredited course dedicated purely to sneaker culture.  The class explored the cultural and chronological history of kicks, as well as emphasized the connection between personal identity and footwear choices. As a way to engage the surrounding Pittsburgh community with the class, Curtis and company put on Kicksburgh, a first of its kind footwear festival which brought together local street fashion retailers, sneaker collectors, DJs, artists, and breakdancers.  Curtis also collaborated with Reebok on a limited edition Sneakerology Reverse Jam sneaker, with all of the proceeds from it's sale benefiting The Hill House Organization, a local community center.
Sneakerology is still offered at CMU, and Curtis has converted the curriculum into a University Lecture Series, which launched in the Spring of  2011.  Curtis' expertise on the subject has been featured in many major media outlets, including and Sneakerpedia.
Along with the class, Curtis has several years of experience within the footwear industry, lending his talents and knowledge to industry heavyweights Reebok and BBC International.

In addition to creating Sneakerology during his time in college, Curtis co-founded his current proressive street fashion company, vitaminTHICK, as a dedication to the positive and unwavering energy of childhood.  What began as a bespoke sneaker customization service has now grown into a multi-tiered clothing brand distributed in premier shops across the country. Along with an original and directional product offering, vitaminTHICK is a platform for well aligned collaborations, exposing unsigned musical talents, and exploring the boundaries of street fashion.
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