By Womxn, For Womxn: This year in womxn’s sneakers

Sarah Johnson
November 17, 2020
6 minutes

In 2010, Vashtie Kola became the first female to collab with Jordan Brand. Her spin on the Air Jordan II Retro brought feminine flair to a masculine silhouette and effectively changed the game for womxn’s sneakers.

Air Jordan II Retro
"Air Jordan II Retro"

Brands paid more attention to their female consumers after that, with pretty colourways and girls-only designs. But for those who weren’t into pink, there wasn’t much on the market - except for men’s shoes, of course. 

Enter: Aleali May, the second woman to partner with Jordan and the first to design her own unisex sneaker. Her 2017 AJ1 Shadow was a testament to how versatile womxn’s sneakers could be (and wanted to be).

AJ1 Shadow
"AJ1 Shadow". Image Via Hypebeast.

That same year, Nike’s The 1 Reimagined project mobilized a team of 14 womxn from all different areas of sneaker expertise to rethink the design of the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 for the very first time. Creatives like Louisa Page, Shamees Aden, Reba Brammer, Marie Crow, and Jin Hong came together to produce a fresh take on old silhouettes, proving that womxn belong behind the scenes of sneaker production, too. 

Fast forward to 2020. More and more brands are releasing inventive colourways, textiles, and silhouettes designed with womxn in mind. Trendsetters like Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris are keeping womxn’s sneakers at the forefront of culture. Meanwhile, female-identifying sneakerheads are doing their part to bring the retail experience up to speed. 

This month, Canada is getting its first sneaker and streetwear boutique by womxn, for womxn. Makeway, opening in Toronto’s stackt market on November 21st, is the lovechild of entrepreneurs Abby Albino and Shelby Weaver. Their mission is to build a place for womxn to come together, celebrate each other, and feel included in sneaker culture. They may be the first to do this, but their goal is to not be the last. (Psst. You might even spot our sustainable shoe cleaning kit on their shelves).

To celebrate the come up and keep the conversation constant, we rounded up our favourite womxn’s sneakers of the year. 

Air Jordan IV x Off-White

Air Jordan IV X Off-White
"Air Jordan IV X Off-White". Image Via Sneaker News.

Dropped in July, Virgil Abloh’s female-first spin on the AJ IV silhouette is a Shoe Laundry favourite this year. Featuring his patented text imprints on the laces and Air cushioning, a yellow tinted outsole, and the signature zip tie to top ‘em off. 

IVY PARK x Adidas Forum Mid

Beyoncé Ivy Park
"Beyoncé Ivy Park". Image Via Highsnobiety.
Ivy Park
"Ivy Park". Image Via Highsnobiety.

By Bey, for the hive. This IVY PARK and Adidas collab brings a classic silhouette back to the forefront. The Forum debuted in 1984 in Low, Mid and High trims and was immediately adopted on the courts. Beyonce’s take on the Mid boasts a clean minty blue colourway, leather and suede mixed textiles, and gum bottoms. Nothing flashy - just a breath of fresh air for a three stripes staple.

Nike Waffle Racer Crater “Photo Blue"

Nike Waffle Racer Crater Photo Blue
"Waffle Racer Crater". Image Via Sneakernews.

Fresh off Nike’s Space Hippie collection (one of our favourite sustainable sneaker trends of 2020) is the coveted “Photo Blue” colourway for womxn. Sitting on eco-friendly Crater Foam tooling, this Waffle Racer has smooth suede panelling on the heel and toe and exposed stitching along the swoosh.

Nike Air Max 270 XX

Nike Air Max 270 XX
"Air Max 270 XX". Image Via Sneakernews.

They may be modelled after the Air Max 270, but these womxn-only exclusives are in a league of their own. Featuring the signature Air unit at the heel, the lifted silhouette blends sharp angles with smooth curves for an effortless fit. Launched in simple white and black colourways, the XX is proof that a shoe doesn’t have to be pink, pastel, or baby blue to be designed with womxn in mind.

Air Jordan 1 Mid "Dark Beetroot"

Air Jordan 1 Mid Dark Beetroot
"Dark Beetroot". Image Via Sneakershouts.

Jordan Brand released a fleet of womxn-only colourways this year, but “Dark Beetroot” has to be our number one. The all-leather is brought to life through black, white, and deep maroon colour blocking, while the laces are decked out with gold dubraes. Best of all? The bold bar that reads “WOMEN” at the base of the tongue. 

Nike Air Force 1 Low “P(HER)SPECTIVE”

Nike Air Force 1 Low “P(HER)SPECTIVE”
"P(HER)SPECTIVE”. Image Via Sneakernews.

Just ‘cause we don’t need pink doesn’t mean we don’t want it. The “Violet Star” suede uppers on these Air Force 1 Low’s are soft, subtle, and just plain pretty. Lined with a semi-translucent outsole and “Chrome” multi-layered swooshes, this shoe drips feminine right down to the name: “P(HER)SPECTIVE”.

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