Get Your Kicks on Down to the Phoenix Sneaker Ball

Whatever kind of shoe floats your boat.
Whatever kind of shoe floats your boat. lamrich

Getting dressed to the nines doesn’t have to involve uncomfortable shoes. The Phoenix Sneaker Ball, which celebrates art, fashion, and sneakers, lets attendees wear tennis shoes with their formal wear.

The ball, put on by FAB Weekend and Grit Steel Marketing Firm,  will take place on Saturday, April 13, at The Palace.

The Sneaker Ball highlights shoes in different ways, including artistically designed sneakers.

Throughout the night, artists will create intricate designs on tennis shoes, and two pairs will be auctioned during the event.

Guests can also bring shoes to be customized by local artists.

A fashion show will showcase varsity jackets by Chicago Playground, a design company created by Rodnell “Kid” Harris.

DJs will spin high-energy music, including shoe-themed songs such as Nelly’s “Air Force Ones” and Run DMC’s “My Adidas.” Sneaker vendors will offer vintage and custom-designed sneakers.

Events founders Bob Dixon and Terrance Hudson have been working to bring creative events such as the Sneaker Ball to the Valley.

The two men developed the idea of a sneaker-focused event from their adult proms, which they put on throughout the country.

Dixon says women who came to the proms would often want to wear more comfortable shoes with their dresses.

“It is giving into the demand of the women, but adding that fashion appeal and that personal expression with that formal wear and street wear,” he says.

The events spotlights how sneakers are becoming more fashionable, especially through the custom-designed tennis shoes.

“It’s sneakers within itself becoming nostalgic as well as this art piece …You can have a pair of sneakers that are one of a kind, that no one has,” Dixon says.

Patrons are encouraged to exercise their creativity and come dressed in fashionable attire that fits their personalities. Two individuals with innovative looks will win the titles of Sneaker Queen and Sneaker King.

Shoes have certainly been a big part of both Hudson and Dixon’s lives since they were children.

They both have extensive collections of tennis shoes, and Hudson often incorporates sneakers into his casual and formal looks.

“Anytime I've had a suit on, I’ve always had on sneakers. It’s a big spinoff of what I like to wear and how I like to look and feel that night,” Hudson says.

Dixon and Hudson always try to give back in some way during their events. They also run an anti-bullying program geared toward bringing awareness through fashion, art and music.

During the Sneaker Ball, attendees can bring new and gently used sneakers to be donated to organizations serving youth in need, including Zuri’s Circle and You Matter Too.

Sneakers can be anywhere from children’s size 11 to adult size 13.

During the event, art will be incorporated in different ways, including the shoe donation boxes.

Dixon’s brother Segrid Dixon, a.k.a. Gritz Lion, will be one of the artists designing the donation boxes. He will also be doing live art during the event.

Segrid, the more outdoorsy brother, grew up wearing boots. He plans to draw from a childhood experience of getting his first combination tennis shoes/boots when creating a shoebox-inspired donation box.

“With the box that I’m working on, I would like to capture that feeling of when you’re a kid and you get your first pair of shoes that you really want … that pair that you want that doesn’t fit with anything else in your home, but you love them,” Segrid says.

In his abstract, mixed-media artwork, Segrid often uses unconventional items such as computer parts. He has also dabbled in printing graphic designs on T-shirts.

Segrid has been drawing and painting since he was a child. From a young age, art has allowed him to express himself in a way that he isn’t able to vocally.

“That’s the part of it that I really enjoy, being able to take a feeling that at the time that I had a hard time putting into words and putting it on canvas, being able to say, ‘In this moment when I was going through this, this was what I was feeling,’” Segrid says.

Phoenix Sneaker Ball. 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13 at The Palace, 8035 North 43rd Avenue; Tickets are $20 for general admission, $50 for individual VIP tickets and $350 for a VIP table for eight people via
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Laura Latzko