Three Sneaker Identity Stories We Love
We go our whole lives amassing experiences. From these we choose the best stories to tell others. These stories become our identity— who we are and who we hope to become.
People express their respective identities in different ways— music, painting, sports, rad instagram feeds; this expression is our story. This are the expected ways of telling it; yet, for some of us, the silhouette of a sneaker is an artform; its construction a story. For some of us, a sneaker says a lot more than meets the eye.
You probably choose your sneaker based on comfort and style. Most people do. But behind the very best sneakers, is usually a really great story.
Here are three sneaker stories that inspire me most.
The Women’s Lebron James 16 ‘HFR’
This shoe was a game changer for women, especially African American women. Commissioned by Lebron James, this shoe tells a story of people not always heard.
Kimberly Goldson, Undra Duncan, Brandice Henderson, and Felisha Noel, four of the most talented women of Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR), collaborated on this design honoring the strength, loyalty, dignity and courage of African American women. Those words became part of the design and are on the insole of the shoe. In and through this design, a new narrative for black women was written and a new voice heard.
The Sean Wotherspoon Air Max 1/97
A modern classic; this sneaker has only been around a little over two years, but, believe me, will live on to be one of the greats. It all started with a man by the name of Sean Wotherspoon. Wotherspoon is a reseller of sneakers and vintage clothing who started his first store, Round Two, in Virginia Beach. He now has stores in major cities across the country, including LA.
Wotherspoon, when given an opportunity to design his own sneaker, gathered his buddies together and collaborated on ideas for this shoe. Paying homage to his home in Virginia, he put VA → LA on the back. As he said, “He wouldn’t be here without Virginia’s support.”
The story behind this shoe, and the way Nike used ‘Vote Forward’, brought people together in a way the sneaker culture had never seen before. That’s what makes this shoe so special— and it has a pretty dope colorway and is made with crazy good quality. This silhouette, and the story behind it, are already iconic in the sneaker community— and for Wotherspoon community is what it’s all about.
The Aleali May Air Jordan 1 and Maya Moore Air Jordan 10 ‘Viotech’ Pack
This is another example of the empowered storytelling of women in sneakers. These two, icons in their own games, came together to create something that would change the female sneaker game for years to come.
Aleali May is a streetwear fashion icon who grew up in LA. She was the second woman to collaborate with Michael Jordan on a sneaker, Vashtie Kola being the first. May brought her South Central street vibe to this collaboration and, drawing inspiration from the Viotech Dunk Low, paid homage to great sneakers created before hers.
Maya Moore is a WNBA superstar with a heart to inspire. She knows what it means to break down barriers and fight to tell your story. These sneakers, Moore said, “represent the walls we are breaking down so the next generation can go even further.”
This shoe is actually the story of two incredible women and their inspiring journeys told in the unlikely art of sneaker design.
Maybe you’re wondering what this has to do with your brand. What people don’t realize is a sneaker is more than just something you put on your foot. Just like a brand identity is so much more than a logo.
Each sneaker has a story, unique to its person. Much like your brand, your story— from beginning to end— is what makes you totally and appreciatively different. The key is to find a way to express your story in a definitively individual way.
Why not put it in a shoe? If you had the chance, what would your sneaker look like?