Sneakers and streetwear have predominately been male centric. However, over the last 10 years or so, brands are increasingly starting to take notice of the buying power that comes from the women of the sneaker community. Although the notion of “shrink it and pink it” still rings true in some cases, here’s a list of 5 women sneaker designers that we believe have changed the sneaker game. Of course this list isn’t exhaustive of all the great women in kicks because so many lady run this!
Number 5: Rihanna
Rihanna has inspired woman across the world in both the music, beauty and fashion industries. From 2014 – 2018 Rihanna collaborated with Puma, as the Creative Director of the brand’s women collections, in order assist Puma with establishing a better connection to their female audience. Rihanna was able to make impact on Puma’s revenue quarter after quarter during the duration of the partnership. And in 2016, the Fenty x Puma Creeper was named Shoe of the Year by Footwear News, jumping over Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 sneakers. With things going this well for he in other ventures, we may never get another album from sis.
Number 4: Vashtie Kola
In 2010, Vashtie Kola became the first woman and non athlete to design a shoe for Jordan. Prior to adding this iconic accomplishment to her resume, Vashtie, a well known fashion designer, video director and artist, could only dream of owning a pair of Jordans growing up poor in the hood. Her love for sneakers became mainstream knowledge when a photo of her Jordan 3 birthday cake went viral. Shortly there after, Vashtie was approached by a friend that worked at Jordan Brand, Astor Chambers, to design her own shoe and the rest is history.
Number 3: Chitose Abe
Chitose Abe is a Japanese fashion designer, creative director and founder of the high fashion Japanese brand Sacai. Chitose’s designs are know for being playful, urban and sporty and edgy, which made for a great partnership with NikeLab. The first partnership with Nike was in 2014 with a second in 2019. Abe designed an 11-piece collection along with the Sacai X LDWaffle and Blazer trainers proving that streetwear can be turned into high fashion that is unique and extraordinary.
You can get the Nike LDWaffle Sacai available on Another Lane.
Number 2: Melody Ehsani
L.A. based jewelry designer Melody Ehsani \designed the highly coveted women’s Jordan 1 Mid “Fearless”. The shoe was designed exclusively with women sneakerheads in mind. Several messages about female empowerment and self expression are intertwined in the design including the quote on the sole of the shoe ““If you knew what you had was rare, you would never waste it.” Originally retailing for $130, once released in 2019, this shoe became and instant grail reselling now for over $1,400. Talk about woman power!
Number 1: Aleali May
Last but certainly not least on our list is Aleali May. Aleali is the second woman designer Jordan brand collaborated with. Her Air Jordan 1 Shadow, released in 2017, was the first unisex Jordan to be designed by a woman. Since then, Aleali has continued to releasing fire with Jordan Brand including the Women’s Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan 10 “Court Lux” (pictured above), the Women’s Air Jordan 6 Retro “Millennial Pink”, and the upcoming Air Jordan 1 High Zoom CMFT. With such success under her belt with Jordan brand, we only have high hopes for future Aleali May X Jordan kicks.
These are just a few of the woman sneaker designers thar have made a lasting impact on the sneaker game. Our honorable mentions also go to Georgian James for the 2018 Nike 1 Reimagined Collection, Tiffany Beers for helping Tink make the famed Hyper Adapt 1.0 a reality, Yoon Ahn x AMBUSH and many more. Who are some of your favorite woman sneaker designers?