The offering of women’s sneakers has improved dramatically over the past 18 months. Thankfully, brands have left the outdated “Pink it and Shrink it” method behind in favor of a more creative approach to designing for female sneakerheads.
In addition to designing women-exclusive models and colorways (that don’t feature pink predominantly), brands have started to work with female designers and creators, developing a “by women, for women” ethos. Additionally, apart from sizing, there’s not a huge difference between men’s and women’s sneakers when it comes to design.
Men are entering raffles for women’s sneakers (Aleali May and Satin Jordan 1s, anyone?), while women are putting their own spin on how to style what would technically be considered “men’s sneakers.”
To celebrate this shift and to encourage female sneakerheads to continue to experiment and embed themselves in sneaker culture, Highsnobiety curator Yulia Pankova has rounded up some of her favorite sneakers styled by women on Instagram.
Curator’s Notes: Some might say wearing matching graphic-printed pieces can be a bit much and, while we tend to agree, when it’s done right (as Killa Kate has done above) it can be the perfect statement piece. Add a pair of retro Jordans and this fit just jumps to a whole new level.
Kate has chosen a less-hyped colorway of the Air Jordan 4, a model that celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and was collaborated on by none other than Travis Scott. This “Alternate 89” Air Jordan 4 was part of a pack that aimed to re-imagine what Michael Jordan’s PEs could have looked like back in the day. It dropped in January 2016 alongside an Air Jordan 2 and an Air Jordan 5.
Curator’s Notes: While everyone is still obsessed with bringing back the ’90s, Aleali May has given us a lesson in how to pull off a ’00s-inspired fit. Please note how nicely her burgundy jacket matches the “Barn Red” on the recently-released Nike Dunk Low “Plum.” Loves it.
The Nike Dunk Low “Plum” recently dropped worldwide to much fanfare. It was one of the more celebrated Dunks of the 2000s and part of 2001’s “Ugly Duckling” pack. This year’s release was the colorway’s first retro and comes at a time when Nike Dunk Lows are highly popular once again.
Curator’s Notes: When what are normally considered statement sneakers are seamlessly incorporated into an outfit, something is very right. The bright statement coats result in the sneakers — a look in their own right — not being the centerpiece of the outfit. Still, wearing Prada Cloudbust Thunder sneakers is a subtle flex, because they go really well together with loud pieces.
The Prada Cloudbust Thunder is the trail and hiking-inspired version of the Italian fashion house’s highly-popular Cloudbust sneaker. It features a more robust tooling, with a technical knitted upper. In a time where chunky “ugly” sneakers are waning in popularity, the Cloudbust Thunder is equal parts technical sportswear and equal parts ‘absolute unit.’
Curator’s Notes: Danie has a real knack for building an outfit with any kind of sneaker (especially retro Air Jordans). To the ladies with an affinity for retro Air Jordans: take notes. A large coat, baggy jeans, an oversized sweater, and chunky Air Jordans. Everything works, mainly because of the way Danie has played with proportions and colors.
The women’s-exclusive Nike Air Jordan 8 “White Aqua” dropped in July of 2019 after originally being released in 2007. It features a super colorful upper with the model’s signature strap closure across the forefoot. The Air Jordan 8 isn’t the most popular retro Jordan, making it a pleasant surprise when it’s successfully incorporated into a fit.
Curator’s Notes: It’s not easy to style a colorful sneaker, especially when you don’t want to end up wearing all black to compensate for what’s on your feet. Instead of taking the easy route, get some inspiration from this look. I love how the grey pants match the upper of the sneakers and balance out the bold sweater and accessories.
Ronnie Fieg’s latest New Balance collaboration, the 1700 “Colorist,” features ten different suede panels on the sneaker’s upper. Incorporating so many colors is usually a stylist’s worst nightmare but Fieg somehow makes it work — as he always does.
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