Women and the Sneaker Industry

Being a born-and-raised New Yorker, sneaker culture has always been a huge part of my youth and upbringing. As a teenager, having the freshest kicks was definitely a daily priority. You chose your sneakers first before you chose the rest of your outfit. Everything from the lace color to the type of lacing style had to match your outfit. It sounds like a silly priority for a teenager, but that was definitely something my community would value.

To this day, I often find myself walking into a sneaker store and spotting a pair of sneakers I like. Later I find that they are not available in my size simply because the manufacturer didn’t produce it in my size.

It’s easy to see that there is a lack of attention to the female market in the sneaker industry. However, with online platforms such as social media and sneaker forums, it’s an exciting time for women all around the world to now connect and be able to share our interests in sneakers. It wasn’t until I joined social media that there were other females out there that shared my same taste and style in fashion.

I believe that the future is bright and as long as women continue to speak and interact with the big brands and voice our opinions, we will see change. It won’t happen overnight. In fact it’ll likely take a few years. However, I’m excited to see where this goes—I believe it’s only upward from where we are now.

One of Chang’s designs, the Puma x Sophia Chang Basket (2014) is now on view in the traveling exhibition Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture.

Sophia Chang

Creative designer Sophia Chang has collaborated with brands including Nike, PUMA, and Undefeated to create footwear and apparel reflective of her hometown, New York City.

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