Although historically a male dominated industry, 2017 saw the rise of the female-led sneaker collaboration. Traditionally rooted in sports, the past few years have seen a growing acceptance – and demand – by women for brands to develop new models, sizing options, and colorways that move beyond the realm of running and training in the sneaker world. Streetwear continues to adorn the closets of women around the world and the shift of some of the world’s leading athletic brands towards working with high-profile females shows that their voices are being heard – loud and clear.
We’ve broken down some of this years most successful female-led campaigns that focused on everything from girl power, edgy style choices and branding women in a way that speaks to their inner tomboy.
PUMA x Kylie Jenner
After announcing their partnership in 2016, Kylie Jenner worked alongside PUMA to introduce a new sneaker to the marketplace, the Fierce Core training shoe, while also creating a collection of athletic attire that includes everything from sweatpants, jackets and complimenting socks. Despite receiving backlash from the professional running community, the youngest Jenner of the Kardashian clan came out on top by reinforcing the notion that sneakers are not only for athletic purposes and represent an element of street style.
Nike x Bella Hadid
After a successful year celebrating everything Air, Nike signed a deal with top model Bella Hadid to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Cortez sneaker. The first of many collaborations that are rumored to be dropping between the two influential partners, the successful Cortez campaign recreated some of the original elements from a photo of Farrah Fawcett wearing the classic sneaker in the early 1970s.
PUMA x Selena Gomez
After joining her boyfriend-at-the-time The Weeknd as a PUMA partner and ambassador, Selena Gomez took the world by storm this year by releasing new music, undergoing a kidney transplant and working with the athletic brand to celebrate the launch of a unique and feminine line of sportswear. Complete with a velvet leotard and baggy white shorts, Gomez styles the new Phenom collection and sneaker by bringing a playful approach to the idea of pushing yourself at the gym – or strutting your stuff on the way there.
Nike x Aleali May
One of the biggest female-led sneaker collaborations this year comes in the form of a Black/Shadow Grey-White Air Jordan 1 that marks the first woman in history to collaborate with the Jordan brand on an original sneaker. In a world where female style influencers play as much of a role in the development of models and consumer choices as their male counterparts, this unique and highly sought after sneaker was released on a global scale and would be an asset to any sneakerhead’s closet.
Reebok x Local Heroes
In an ode to all things girly, Reebok Classic teamed up with Local Heroes earlier this year for a limited edition pack that comes in the form of pink and purple interpretations of the NPC ll sneaker. The streetwear brand, founded by two friends, Areta Szpura and Karolina Slota, gained notoriety after being endorsed by Rita Ora, Gigi Hadid and Miley Cyrus, which also led to a collaboration with Disney. In a statement made on their website, “ARETA AND KAROLINA BELIEVE IN GIRL POWER AND SUPPORTING OTHER BABES WHICH IS WHERE THE BRAND’S MOTTO ‘FROM ONE BABE TO ANOTHER’ COMES FROM.”
PUMA x FENTY Rihanna
The ongoing collaboration between Rihanna and PUMA shows that not only are the new and unique sneakers well received by women, but the recent release of athletic wear, backpacks and other accessories welcomes a growing demand for consumers who are looking to associate with all things FENTY. From classic leather and edgy velvet Creepers, Fur Slides to clearly labeled Ankle Straps, Rihanna continues to influence the world of streetwear by incorporating her own dark and risky style into the elements of her designs. Psst – many of the styles are also available in men’s sizing.
Adidas x Refinery 29
In one of the most interesting and widespread collaborations this year, Adidas worked alongside Refinery 29 to enlist 50 female artists across the United States to design one of a kind UltraBOOST X sneakers. The BOOST the Nation project allowed the artists to represent their home state by incorporating landmark elements and personal touches and the shoes were auctioned to raise money for charity. While Refinery 29 narrowed down the artists, the funds from the sneaker sales were donated to Women Win, an organization that empowers girls to build leadership skills and address gender equity through sport. You can check out the rest of the sneakers here.