Have you ever seen sneakers hanging on power lines and wondered “hey, what’s up with that?” I’m sure you have seen this urban legend somewhere before since a bit of research on the internet reveals that it is a global phenomenon. What the internet doesn’t provide though, is a clear explanation of what it is. From drug dealing, gang activities, and bullying – to a form of art, a celebration of life, or a rite of passage – people don’t seem to agree on the meaning of sneaker tossing. The mystery surrounding sneakers hanging from a wire (or shoe tossing, sneaker tossing, shoefiti) is the inspiration for our latest work ‘Urban Legend’.
The more you dive into the shoe tossing phenomenon, the weirder the stories become – leaving you with more questions, rather than answers. We couldn’t find an all-encompassing answer to the question what it means. Maybe the best answer is, even though it’s dissatisfying, that there’s not a single explanation. But isn’t that the beauty of a mystery? Where’s the fun in having all the answers, not leaving any room for your own imagination? Nonetheless, a common thread we discovered, is that each explanation includes one or a combination of the following ideas:
1. Leaving a mark
Just like people do with graffiti and other forms of art, shoe tossing is about leaving your mark. It proves that you exist and that you hold a physical space in this world. You left something for yourself, and others, to see and remember you by.
2. Telling a tale
Each pair of sneakers tell a different story. A pair flung on power lines might be a tribute to a person, a life event, or place – or as a rite of passage. Whatever the story is, we think that “shoe tossing signify that someone left for bigger and better things” is a beautiful way to put it.
3. Spreading an idea
Sneaker tossing spreads amongst people, without a real understanding of what it signifies, just like a meme. A meme is an idea or behavior that spreads by imitation. People tend to copy behavior and toss shoes because they’ve seen it before. By doing so, they help spread the idea for more people to see (and copy as well).
With ‘Urban Legend’ we tried to include these themes, as they resonate with Hyprints as well. We literally leave our mark by sharing our designs; expressions of identity to both the maker and the viewer. The print also symbolizes recent events happening at Hyprints. Switching from a ‘side hustle’ to a ‘full-time job’, certainly feels like an end of an era (and the beginning of a new one). On top of that, we want to spread creativity, and we hope that seeing this print will spark the brightest of ideas!
‘Urban Legend’ is a limited-edition sneaker art print displaying a pair of Nike Air Max 1’s hanging from a wire. The print is finished with reflective foil and comes in two colors; a golden and rose gold colorway. The ‘Urban Legend’ print is the second Hyprint that is equipped with reflective foil and follows after the success of the first one, who sold out in less than 24 hours. The design is printed on A3 sized, 380 g/m² heavyweight white matte art paper and is limited to 100 copies (50 in gold, 50 in rose gold), all prints are authenticated and hand-numbered on the back. Order yours now to make sure you get one!