I enjoy a good documentary. I like learning or discovering something new while being entertained somewhat. It is all there in Sneaker Confidential airing March 13th, 2008 at 8:00 on CBC TV. This is a very entertaining, lightweight, and interesting exploration of the running shoe covering all aspects of the topic from its history to its social implications.
No story of the sneaker would be complete without going back to its roots in Germany and the brothers who, because of a family feud, started both Adidas and the lesser known in North America Puma. You also discover Jesse Owens ended up being the first sports celebrity tied to a shoe brand, Adidas. Sneaker Confidential quickly moves past the fifties and sixties, basically skipping over Keds and Converse the basic sneakers of all time, to Nike and Michael Jordan. The segment closes with a too short nod to Stephon Marbury and his campaign to put out a basketball shoe everybody could afford.
A very interesting segment in this documentary is on the relationship between running shoes and pop culture since the days of hip hop. The things you learn in this section alone make this worth watching if knowledge is your documentary yardstick. This is also a whimsical tale so you will meet people who have more sneakers than Imelda Marcos had high heels, people who pimp their shoes -no kidding!, and shoes worth, believe it or not, nine thousand dollars.
If Sneaker Confidential has a weakness is it tries to fit everyone at the same time and doesn't delve into any one aspect in particular though it hints some would be worth exploring more.It is also not above a godwaful pun or two such as "a good shoe can give top athletes a leg up" but I enjoyed those.
Even after watching this running shoe documentary I am still totally convinced the waffle sole did not exist before Phil Nike created it with his wife's waffle maker. If you are to learn something here it is do not wear out your shoes and do not throw them away as they are today and tomorrow's baseball cards.