Since the middle of the nineteenth century, women have been encouraged to participate in certain recreational sports, such as tennis, but historically, professional athleticism for women was frowned upon as “unfeminine.”
The expressly masculine focus of sneaker culture is reflected in the fact that footwear endorsed by female athletes have historically had little to no impact on sneaker culture, and that many of the most coveted sneakers are not made in women’s sizes, to the frustration of female aficionados. There are also few women working in the field of sneaker design today.
Female interest in sneaker culture has largely been redirected to shoes that refer to sneakers and yet aren’t the real thing, such as the wedge sneaker. This shoe is a part of a larger continuum of footwear made for women, dating back to the 1920s, that flirts with, but doesn’t admit, women into the sneaker game.