I love rocking high heels and wedges and especially love kickin up snow in my pumpkin orange platform boots, but really I’m a sneaker freak at heart. Living in NYC I’ve been blessed to have access to some of the best sneaker spots in the world. Not like I’ve ever paid more than $100 for a pair of kicks, but it’s so nice to try on the classic, crazy expensive limited edition joints every now and then. And wow, when they opened this spot just for us grrrls I was in 7th Heaven.
But lately, like in the last few years I’ve noticed an awful trend that’s got me pulling my laces out in frustration. I don’t know if it started with Sex & The City and Carrie’s addiction to Manolos, Choos and all manner of 4-inch heeled footwear, but now it seems that wearing sneakers is deemed so unsexy, so uncool and so unfemme by men and by society at large. It’s like when I wear my Pumas or my newest purchase– the Nike Court Force Lows-Copper Pack from their Limited Edition 2008 Olympic series (that’s a mouthful), I get dudes saying, “Yo ma why you being such a hard rock today, what happened to the sexy lady I saw yesterday?” I’m like, ‘she’s right here baby!’ Dang, when did wearing sneakers render us grrrls frumpy, hard (read masculine) and asexual? Even when I reflect on today’s pop music scene, it’s like the only chicks that rock sneakers are the ones that people allege are gay or are considered Tom-boys (i.e. Teyana Taylor, Lil Mama, Missy Elliott, Da Brat).
Then there’s those paparazzi pics like this one of Alexis in her stilettos and beautiful designer dress lounging on the arm of her former significant other who’s dressed in jeans, t-shirts and Air Force Ones, err I mean Bapes. I guess this is the double standard whereby industry jiggas get off wearing rubber-soled kicks and its considered appropriate formal attire. Beyonce was even spotted leaving a Rite-Aid in these and don’t let Janet Jackson get caught out at a party in a pair of Adidas. It would be considered another wardrobe malfunction, no doubt.
I remember when hip-hop first emerged. Grrrls weren’t considered funky fresh unless we were rocking a pair of Nike Pegasus or suede Pumas with big fat pink laces. That was instant hotness back then that kept the boys coming to the yard. Now I go out for a drink at The Mandarin Oriental and I’m rockin’ my red Nike Sprint Sisters and they tell me I can’t sit in the main lounge cause my kicks are not suitable. Whut da? Now I must say, for a while there was another double standard (and there still is to a large extent) where a woman (read non-celebrity) can wear sneakers to clubs and lounges and be allowed in, but men cannot. I guess those days are fleeting. And it’s funny because down South “tennis shoes” are relegated to the kiddies and sporting activities only. Believe me you will be hard pressed to spot a woman over the age of 22 in Atlanta wearing sneakers in a mall or even at Whole Foods. I guess BBQ isn’t the only thing we’re assuming from Southerners.
Living in Harlem, which is the sneaker capital of NYC, gives me firsthand, up-close, intimate moments with some of the hottest kicks out there and so that makes the double-standardized backlash tolerable and well worth it. I love ATMOS, the Japanese-based, 125th St. sneakeria and also Training Camp Store on 116th where I copped those copper Court Force joints. This summer I’m feeling like something customized so I plan to get a pair of Nike Air Rifts and in the back the label will read: theHotness… but of course! It’s so on and I’m so glad to see fellow scribe, friend and VIBE EIC, Danyel Smith, put her sneaker love on Front Street too. And even though the sneaker freaker bias pisses me off, mostly I try not to give a swoosh. I’m going to keep on being the sneaker fiend that I am and rock my sneakers with pride. I’m a B-Girl at heart and everyone knows that a woman who knows her heart and loves herself in Louboutins as much as she loves herself in New Balance is the sexiest kind of grrrl there is!
Check-out other Sneaker-Freakers.