Sole Sista: Camille, founder of Style Your Life, XO and #ShesGotSoleXO
Sneaker(s): Nike Air Max 1 OG & Jordan 4 “Pure Money”
Sole Purpose: Lace up and be the best version of myself without conforming to society’s standards of femininity and to let my sole shine with every challenge that I am faced with as a young female.
Photography: Angelo Gabe
They say you don’t know someone until you walk in their shoes. Being an athlete growing up, sneakers were always around. From wearing Adidas cleats to soccer practice, to my parents blessing me with a pair of Nike spikes to run the 100 m relay. It wasn’t until Junior High where I really got exposed to the culture. I loved sneaker so much that I would hip up Foot Locker, Champs and Athletes World just to admire the array of sneakers on the wall. From Air Force 1’s, Nike Dunk SB series and Air Max’s, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I eventually saved up my allowance and copped the all white Nike Air Force 1 hi-tops. Comfort has always been key! I remember walking the school in my fresh kicks with not a scuff or crease to be seen. I find that the most freshest kicks have endured the most distress thanks to multiple scuffs, torn laces and a tampered sole. Yeah they’re crisp on the outside, but what some don’t know is that they have been ripped, torn, and broken. What makes sneakers so special is their ability to walk through different types of terrain and can still be worn with great confidence. Now apply that notion to women. We have endured a lot of emotional pain, our souls have been tampered with and we are the most vulnerable gender. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t strong!
I decided to start a campaign called #ShesGotSoleXO with the intent to shine light on women who love sneakers while creating a platform for them to let readers know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. We are constantly being put down for being unfeminine whether its how we dress, the activities we engage in, right down to our shoe choices. We are either looked upon as sexless tomboy’s or sexualized accessories in the sneaker community. Do you think for one second that I am going to rock my Air Max 1 2.0 LE’s with the intent to get validation from the opposite sex? Hell no! I rock sneakers because 1.) They’re cozy, and 2.) Women who wear sneakers are just as special and beautiful as a women in high heels and that our femininity should never be devalued.
The footwear industry is notorious for catering to men before women since there is a bigger market for sneakers and sportswear. Brands have launched female sneakers with what they think is suitable for women and have very little insight in terms of what we want to actually wear. What I have noticed upon entering sneaker shops is the difference in variety amongst genders. The males seem to have a larger selection of brands, colorways and styles, whereas the women’s selection takes up half a wall with only pink, purple and teal blue sneakers. It suddenly made me question our purpose in sneaker culture: Do women not matter? Why are we being misrepresented in a male-dominated community? Are we just a fantasy? Newslfash, women got sole! Yes, sole as in the undersurface of a woman’s foot that 1.) provides support, 2.) gives us the confidence to stand stand on our own two feet and 3.) gives us the confidence to stand up for ourselves. I launched #ShesGotSoleXO to give women a platform where they can let their soles shine and to create a safe space for them to express themselves and what they believe needs to change in the sneaker community. Each month, I will feature one to two local women who have an undying love for sneakers plus ask them questions related to how women are treated in a male-dominated community. Be on the lookout for these sole sistas!
If you are a lady who loves sneakers, be sure to use the hashtag #ShesGotSoleXO in your sneaker photos. Let’s continue to stick together, empower one another and to let our soles shine when we make our voices heard!