If current times has taught us anything it would be the need to switch things up to adapt.

So this month we’ve decided to embrace OUR SOLE WOMEN.

With a number of women spearheading the  movement of sneaker culture, we reached out to a few influential sole women to discuss thier viewpoints on how their sneaker journey began to how diverse the movement has become.

There is only one product in the world that integrates three completely different industries, sports, entertainment, and fashion, and continues to do so even during these uncommon times. The advancements of technology have granted us all the opportunity to purchase it at the tip of our fingers. This product is none other than the sneaker.

As the sneaker circle continues to expand in numbers and purchasing power, styles made just for women were evidently absent. Until the 1980’s when a significant amount of women athletes came into the space looking for sneakers that were at par with the mens sneakers in terms of design and accomplishment. 

Reebok was one of the first brands to create a ladies trainer style which was only introduced in 1982. Following from them was, Nike which launched Nike Women, taking up two two decades for the brand to sign on a female athlete, basketball player Sheryl Swoopes , with the aims to endorse their signature line in the year 1995. Fifteen years later Nike has pushed even further and challenged the status quo by collaborating with music video director Vashtie Kola to create the very first female designed Jordans. Following with many more such as Aleali May , Melody Ehsani, Sheila Rashid etc. 

We got closer to the movement back home and spoke to a few female South African sneakerheads to hear how their sneaker journey began  –

Tell us about your sneaker journey history and how it all began.

My sneaker journey has been a gradual one. It’s tied up with my need to be free in terms of my shoes or what adorns my feet. The restrictions in terms of comfort and freedom to move as I pleased when wearing high heels became too tiresome and I really just switched to my brogues. It also meant that I wanted to pursue other looks; sneakers were the automatic default. My son was also a huge influence on how important it actually became in my wardrobe and he still is. Sneakers are fully part of my wardrobe now and will no doubt stay that way.

What are the most expensive pair of sneakers you own? Where did you get them and how much did they cost?

My Giuseppe Zanotti’s are my most expensive. I don’t like speaking about the price of sneakers and I bought them on my travels. Everyone is gravitating to ways of shopping that work for them.

What has worked for you? Do you prefer shopping online or going in-store?

I love going in-store. But once I know how a particular brand fits, it’s easier online of course. I’m also very lucky to be gifted with quite a few pairs of Puma sneakers which I absolutely love.

 

Do you feel like the sneaker culture in South Africa is becoming less male-dominated?

Sneaker culture is still heavily male-dominated. One just has to look at sneaker drops and the demographic is obvious. Of course, more women are getting to understand the culture and let’s not forget that more older women are too ? but honestly it’s still men dominating.

Who are your favourite South African female sneakerheads at the moment?

I love @boogymaboi

Checks / Stripes or Puma?

Right now I’d have to say Puma. I’ve been living in them.

Lastly, how many pairs of sneaker do you own?

Hahaha, I own lots, let’s just leave it at that.

 

Tell us about your sneaker journey history and how it all began.

I have always loved sneakers at a young age. Especially basketball sneakers as I am inspired by Micheal Jordan. I, however, could not afford them due to the lack of income and my dad not seeing the value in investing in them. When I was 12 years old I had a toe injury and operation and thereafter I felt more comfortable in sneakers. I grew up saving and laybying sneakers but my official first pair of sneakers I bought with my own money after getting paid at my first part-time job where the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “A Star is Born”. My father told me he’ll never buy me sneakers with his own money so I spent the rest of December hustling so I could buy them myself. These sneakers serve as my first because they are a limited edition which draws its inspiration from the Jumpman’s first appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated – an issue which included MJ transcending over a trio of hapless Milwaukee Bucks defenders, as they watched him rise most noteworthy to secure a simple bucket during the first round of the renowned NBA end of the season games

What are the most expensive pair of sneakers you own. Where did you get them and how much did they cost?

The most expensive sneakers I own are the React Element 55 which costs me R2000. I bought them in Archive Braamfontein. I have to say they are the most expensive and most comfortable pair of kicks I own.

Everyone is gravitating to ways of shopping that work for them. What has worked for you? Do you prefer shopping online or going in-store?

When buying sneakers I prefer going to the store and just getting a feel of being there to choose the ones I truly love. I leave the store knowing what I’m dealing with, knowing the comfortability and the balance that comes with the sneaker.

 

Do you feel like the sneaker culture in South Africa is becoming less male-dominated?

I personally feel that we are thriving towards a more equal share in dominance when it comes to the sneaker world. Women are becoming more and more unapologetic with what they want to wear, you know. I know I am not afraid to walk into spaces of power and educate while wearing my Jordan 1s and a nice suit.

Who are your favourite South African female sneakerheads at the moment?

I really love Lethabo Maboi, Nomzamo Mbatha and Kim Jayde (just to name a few). I love how they are going about the sneaker game and how they are inspiring young girls to wear sneakers and not feel like they are just for men or boys.

Checks / Stripes or Puma?

Checks over stripes any day, that’s what I like. I personally love the Swoosh brand because it carries so much intention and it’s aligned with my values, beliefs, and brand.

Lastly, how many pairs of sneakers do you own?

I own about 7 pairs of sneakers and in the process of collecting more.

 

Tlotlang Pako

 

Tell us about your sneaker journey history and how it all began.

It started when I got my first pair of sneakers the adidas superstar and it was comfort at its best. From then on all I wore were sneakers.

What are the most expensive pair of sneakers you own. Where did you get them and how much did they cost?

I usually get discounts off of shoes as a result of working with brands, but the most I’ve paid in full is R2,200 for the Nike Shox.

Everyone is gravitating to ways of shopping that work for them. What has worked for you? Do you prefer shopping online or going in-store?

A little bit of both. I browse online for items I want then go in-store to purchase.

Do you feel like the sneaker culture in South Africa is becoming less male dominated?

I think there’s a lot more females that are into comfort over anything else. Sneaker culture for women is also a ‘symbol of equality’ which is why I think females are dominating right now.

Who are your favourite South African female sneakerheads at the moment?

Lethabo Maboi (@boogymaboi) & Yasmin Furmie (@yasminfurmie)

Checks / Stripes or Puma?

All three for different reasons haha. But sneaker wise, Checks.

Lastly, how many pairs of sneakers do you own?

I stopped counting after ten haha but if I had to estimate I’d say 14 pairs now.

Reneilloe Madida

Tell us about your sneaker journey history and how it all began.

My sneaker journey began when my mom bought me my first pair of high top Air Force 1s. The moment I realized how in love I was with sneakers was when I realized that the only pair of branded sneakers I had was the Nike AF1 …Reason: my mom always bought me girly clothing when she knew very well that I hated pink. Anyway… I realized that I only had one pair of Actually branded sneakers and I so needed to get more.

What are the most expensive pair of sneakers you own? Where did you get them and how much did they cost?

My Off-White/Nike vaporstreets are my most expensive shoes. I got them at the Off-White pop-up in Sandton city for R3,600.

Everyone is gravitating to ways of shopping that work for them. What has worked for you? Do you prefer shopping online or going in-store?

I prefer going in store as I can actually fit the item then and there, although online shopping is more convenient because you find that there are way more options, also it’s easier to get limited edition items online. Another good thing about online shopping is that I get to digitally step into any store in the world which is super awesome.

 

Do you feel like the sneaker culture in South Africa is becoming less male-dominated?

Females are definitely taking over the sneaker game. I think it’s the greatest thing ever, my girls need to secure the bag as well, you know? The boys should be very scared.

Who are your favourite South African female sneakerheads at the moment?

@AlutaMaqoko @speelvrou__ @karabo_poppy @thembelihlee_p @the.moly.p @katlego.gordana @oratile_moh … just to name a few

Checks / Stripes or Puma?

I personally support all of them as I’ve worked with Nike, adidas and Puma.. but right now I have to say Puma is my favorite because of how many collaborations they’ve been doing with luxury designer brands lately, it’s exquisite.

Lastly, how many pairs of sneakers do you own?

I own 42 pairs of sneakers.