Meet the female 'sneakerheads' of Toronto and see why they are calling for shoe companies to step up
Many companies don't make popular sneakers in women's sizes, forcing some to wear kid's or men's shoes
Jamila Husbands's black and copper Nike Foamposite sneakers embody exactly why she and her friend Kiah Welsh started their blog, she.lace.
She's been forced to wear kids' sizes because the shoes "don't come in women sizes," she said, pointing them out to Matt Galloway in an interview on CBC's Metro Morning. "These are mainly catered towards men."
Welsh was amped for the Puma Coogi sneaker launch back in May — but as always, knew she would have to settle for a child-sized pair too.
"I had to settle for a [men's] size 9 and the guy at the store told me I had to double sole my shoes," said Welsh. Even after spending $180 on the pair, she had to stuff the sneakers to make them fit, she remarks.
"I just don't feel represented," added Husbands.
Their blog she.lace is their answer to the female sneaker struggle.
"It's not just about sneaker collectors or 'sneakerheads,'" explained Husbands, it's more about women's equality.
"We just want women to feel comfortable going into sneaker stores and boutiques and see themselves reflected on the shelves," she said.
Part of their push is to get more women designing sneakers. Welsh credits Nike and Puma's "Careaux" line designed by Dutch illustrator Caroll Lynn but, "there needs to be more."
Both women call themselves "sneakerheads" — they keep some pairs of their shoes pristine in boxes, only to crack them open for a blog or a brag.
"I'm going on 40-plus pairs," said Welsh.
For Husbands, the love affair with sneakers started in Grade 2.
"I had my pair of Ken Griffey Jr.'s and I loved them," she said.
The fashions have evolved over the years, but their love for laces has always been driven by comfort and style.
"I love how you can express yourself with them. You can wear a very basic outfit and the sneakers speak for themselves," said Husbands.
Their Instagram page is peppered with stylish photos featuring sneakers in front of cityscapes.
Husbands and Welsh point out that shoe lines tend to be dedicated to male athletes, which often bleeds into the sneaker industry as a whole.
She.lace operates in anticipation of a feminist shoe revolution — it's set up like a forum for women to share stories about their sneakers.
The idea is to shake up the industry and show that women love and wear sneakers just as much as men.
With files from Metro Morning