Women & Sneakers have certainly come a long way from when they were first worn, primarily in tennis during the 19th century. Since then, the purpose and meaning of sneakers has transformed and is ever-evolving into a concept much greater than the actual objects themselves.
Today, sneakers have become more than just a pair of shoes worn for athletics and comfort. In fact, these rubber soled accessories have become tools of expression, status symbols, and define a new kind of culture.
Behind each sneaker comes a unique story driven by inspiration. Today, major powerhouses such as Nike, Jordan, Adidas, New Balance, and Converse produce sneakers desired by both men and women alike.
Although the significance and rich history of sneakers cannot be minimized. We should not ignore the truth that sneaker culture has never reallyprioritized their female audience. In fact, it wasn’t until 1982 that the Reebok Freestyle sneaker was first released and advertised to women as a result of labor activism.
Furthermore, according to the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition, “The Rise of Sneaker Culture”, “footwear endorsed [and worn] by female athletes has had little to no impact on sneaker culture . . . the majority of the most coveted sneakers are not made in women’s sizes, to the frustration of female aficionados…”
To put it simply, sneaker culture has never really catered to us women. And despite the fact that we have never been fully represented in the past. The future looks bright for all the women who want to have sneakers that are just as fresh as the boys.
Sneaker Game Redefined
Today, we are seeing more bad-ass women in the game. All being recruited to design and customize their own retroed Jordans and other iconic sneakers.
Multi-faceted women including Aleali May and Melody Ehsani have both collaborated with Jordan. Each to create their own unique sneakers and both have helped represent us women in the vast sneaker world.
Aleali May has done a few different Jordan collabs, one of which also happened to be the first unisex Jordans in history. May’s first collaboration was in 2017, and was inspired by the “Shadow” Jordan 1 colorway. May added her own taste with a sophisticated metallic/silver twist to the OG grey and black shoe.
She also did another Jordan 1 collaboration with basketball champion Maya Moore. Dropping a two-pair pack with both May’s collaboration as well as the Maya Moore x Air Jordan 10. Both sneakers flaunted the same beautiful colorblock which included pink, red, royal blue, and purple tones. Oh, and let’s not forget the fur detailing on the tongue of the Aleali’s 1’s.
In 2019, Aleali dropped a 3rd style. A version of the Jordan 6 in “Millennial Pink,” which was more simplistic but still chic and statement.
On the other hand, Melody Ehsani, an accessory designer, also did her own collaboration with Jordan in 2019.
The Jordan 1 Mid SE “Fearless” with vivid multi-colored leather included M.E (Melody Ehsani). Watches along with a quote by Julie Burns-Walker, a healer and medical intuitive. Which reads “If you knew what you had was rare, you would never waste it.”
The sneakers themselves were meant to represent female empowerment and self-expression.
Ehsani’s second collaboration this year took advantage of Jordan’s first women’s silhouette created in 98’–– the Air Jordan OG. The Air Jordan OG SP x Melody Ehsani also conveyed a powerful message of women’s excellence while using a more classic approach with a black and infrared colorway along with cherry detailing.
For a while, many of us have scavenged for a good sneaker made for us, that represents us. Until now, many have failed to create a sneaker that didn’t include girly and frilly designs which ultimately failed to embody women at large. Most of us simply want an understated, classic, and timeless sneaker. Perhaps Jordan should put out more sneakers like the ‘Blue Chill’ Retro 1’s or the ‘Mushroom’ Retro 4’s which include simple colors and are perfect for everyday wear.
With this said, us women are grateful for the work of people like Aleali and Melody. As well as other women in the fashion streetwear industry, for putting their foot (in this case sneaker) in the door.