SneakerWeek PDX

Celebrate your sneaker obsession at this event featuring Portland’s iconic shoe brands.

Herb-06SneakerWeek founder Herbert Smith works on a new shoe design.
Ashley Anderson

Get your soles ready, Portland — the second annual SneakerWeek PDX kicks off on Sept. 26, 2018! A full roster of events and educational opportunities will cater to sneaker addicts or and footwear newbies alike. Read on for answers to all of your questions about this shoe-centric celebration.

What is SneakerWeek PDX?

SneakerWeek PDX is a celebration of all things sneakers in the footwear capital of North America. Curators, fans and collectors will gather to experience music, design, art and education at locations around Portland. Past festival partners have included hip local businesses, like PENSOLE Academy, Deadstock Coffee and Index PDX, so expect lots of good stuff.

What is PENSOLE Academy?

PENSOLE Academy is a footwear design school in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown neighborhood. The school was founded in 2010 by D’Wayne Edwards, a former designer who has worked for Nike and Jordan Brand. Pensole’s curriculum has changed the lives of hundreds of sneakerheads, propelling many into careers with giants like Nike and adidas.

What’s the connection between Portland and the footwear industry?

Portland is kind of a big deal in sneaker culture — in fact, it’s sometimes called the sneaker capital of America. The Portland area is home to industry heavyweights like Nike’s world HQ, the adidas U.S. headquarters and a new Under Armour campus. Other footwear companies based here include Keen, Mizuno, Columbia Sportswear, Hi-Tec, Bogs and OluKai.

What is the mission of SneakerWeek?

Pensole Academy Marketing Director Herbert Smith created SneakerWeek to educate and connect. Worn and loved by many, sneakers do more than just protect your feet — they hold origin stories and deep memories. Enthusiasts have their own “holy grails” and love to swap tales about how they got their most coveted pairs. SneakerWeek offers ample opportunities for sneakerheads and industry professionals to collaborate, grow the culture and share stories.

What kind of events will there be?

There will be several “Sole Sessions,” which introduce the audience to footwear industry legends. Each session will focus on a career sector, ranging from marketing to color design to shoe making. For example, in 2017 the famed Ground Kontrol “bar-cade” hosted “Geeks in Sneaks,” a sneaker-themed trivia night. The Aesthete Society hosted a “Material Experience Gallery,” which emphasized sneaker colors and materials. There was also “Kick Flicks,” an open film festival and contest. And, of course there’s was a basketball event: “Kick & Roll Classic” combined the worlds of footwear, hoops and charity. Additional events included live music, a block party and a “Sneaker Social” at Index PDX.

How can I learn more about SneakerWeek?

Check out and their Twitter page for more information about the upcoming 2018 festivities.

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