The 5 Sneaker Documentaries You Need to See
Honestly, there’s no better time to level up your sneaker knowledge.
Starring the likes of sneaker royalty Michael Jordan, Spike Lee, DJ Khaled, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, these five documentaries will have you stunting an encyclopedic knowledge of shoe catalogues across the globe.
From the mythological story behind the banned Air Jordan 1 to RUN DMC’s game-changing ‘My adidas’ track, these documentaries reveal some of the watershed moments for sneaker culture, and the players inextricably tied to them.
So, sit back, unlace those Jays, and heat-up your leftovers, these are some of our favourite sneaker documentaries of all time!
Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1
Tracing the sneaker DNA of arguably the greatest silhouette in the Jumpman hangar, Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1 examines the Air Jordan 1’s renegade status in the NBA during the 1980s, and its crucial role in the genesis of contemporary sneaker culture.
Featuring Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, Spike Lee, DJ Khaled and Anthony Anderson, Unbanned explores how the Air Jordan 1 redefined a whole generation of ballers, producers and skaters, and why its explosive cultural legacy continues to be felt today.
If you haven’t seen this one yet, put it on top of your list.
Check it out on Hulu.
The directorial debut by Sacha Jenkins, Fresh Dressed chronicles the rich sartorial lineage of hip hop.
Originally presented at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015, the documentary was co-produced by Nasir Jones, and is absolutely loaded with talent like Pharrell Williams, Damon Dash, Karl Kani, Kanye West, and André Leon Talley.
Presented with a silky soundtrack and in-depth interviews with rappers, industry insiders, and designers, Fresh Dressed presents hip hop’s journey from Orchard Street to high-fashion’s catwalks.
Want to know where you developed your insatiable appetite for swag? Look no further.
Just for Kicks
Starring sneakerhead royalty Grandmaster Caz, Reverend Run, Bobbito Garcia and Missy Elliott, filmmakers Thibaut de Longeville and Lisa Leone’s Just for Kicks documentary first aired back in 2005.
Exploring the lauded ancestry of Air Force 1 ‘Uptowns’, the Air Jordan, and Run DMC’s ‘My adidas’ track, Just For Kicks reveals some of the watershed sneaker moments of the late 20th century.
A snapshot that’ll have you feeling deeply nostalgic, the documentary runs at just over an hour, and can be viewed in whole via YouTube.
Directed by Jon Weinbach and Dan Marks, Sole Man tells the story of Sonny Vaccaro. One of the godfathers of contemporary footwear, Vaccaro has worked with Nike, Reebok and adidas, and was the central architect behind Michael Jordan’s notorious first shoe deal.
Detailing his route from steel town Pennsylvania to Santa Monica, Sole Man shows that Vaccaro is still one of the sports world's most enduring figures, his nose for numbers and basketball talent irrevocably changing the sneaker game forever.
There’s no Air Jordan empire without Sonny Vaccaro! Check out Chapter 1 on Facebook.
From the crowded streets of Tokyo to California, filmmakers David T. Friendly and Mick Partridge go deep behind sneaker addiction in their documentary, Sneakerheadz.
Examining the extreme lengths we go to in order to acquire hard-to-find Grails, Sneakerheadz features talking heads Frank Rivera, Russ Bengtson and Hommyo Hidefumi, who all wax lyrical over an age of collecting pre-Internet.
First aired in 2015, Sneakerheadz helps us all examine our own heads when it comes to our sneaker dependencies!
Keen for some more ways to level up your sneaker knowledge at home? Here’s five ways to stay occupied.