The footwear industry has always been an integral part of shaping culture across channels such as sportswear, music, social media and fashion. Just in time for gift-giving season, “She Kicks,” priced at $95, thank cutting-edge innovators, designers, executives, athletes, entrepreneurs, and influencers who are changing the world of footwear.
Written by former Hypebae editor Nav Gill and Dutch influencer and sneaker collector Sanne Poeze, the book is published by independent New York studio Studio 96. Scanning technology has been incorporated into this work through an app that allows users to expand content, access giveaways and shop styles.
The enactment of Title IX in 1972 changed the game for women’s athletic footwear by ensuring that sports were played in public schools. Previously, fashion brands largely sold sneakers exclusively to men. The book commemorates this journey with photographs from the Lady Waffle ad, nike Introduced in 1977, the Lady Vans line was launched in 1984.
This book was created to celebrate women engineering creative sneaker design and to foster the space in which all these images and stories coexist. The publication includes photos, design and profile information, collaborations, win milestones, women-owned stores, and future endeavors like Web3.
Celebrity collaborations, on the other hand, aren’t hard to come by. It wasn’t until 1995, when basketball player Sheryle Swoopes signed with Nike, that a female athlete owned an iconic pair of sneakers. Still, nearly 30 years later, men’s partnerships with athletic brands have largely replaced alliances with women in numerous sports.
As one of the greatest pillars of influence, if not the greatest, collaboration often represents professional importance. “People are always going to be inspired by celebrities, and they have such huge sales potential,” Gill says. Examples of Kanye, Beyoncé’s Ivy Park and Rihanna’s Fenty, when these partnerships are at their biggest, they’re at the height of their careers. Peak, sells anything. But look at the celebrities and the endorsements. Sneaker consumers can see through BS, and it has to be meaningful.” “She Kicks” represents the artistry of women in the sneaker industry and aims to transcend celebrity culture, Focus more on the next generation of thriving creators. Sneaker culture is a homogenized creativity that outstrips the shoemaker.
In the ’90s, opportunities for women to break into sneaker design became easier as the industry exploded. While some design houses still skew toward the male gaze, strides are being made to make the sneaker industry more inclusive. Sharing the stories of women who have defied all odds to create true to their work can increase the visibility of designers whose contributions might otherwise go unnoticed. “You can’t be someone you can’t see,” Gill said of the designers who paved the way.