Female sneakerheads aren't exactly common. You might even be reading this and feel a bit confused about what the term "sneakerhead" even means. Well, allow us to explain. The word is a way to describe people who are obsessed with trainers. But it's more than that, as they're also collectors. While it's not exclusive to men, for some time it's been a more male-dominated area. However, things are changing. Along with the increase in popularity of streetwear in women's fashion, major sportswear brands are also targeting women, so it makes sense that this pastime is also becoming an area women are interested in too. There are, of course, female pioneers who have been using Instagram to showcase their sneaker obsessions. We spoke to three of them to find out what makes a sneakerhead, why they started, and what they see for the future of trainers. Keep scrolling for our guide to female sneakerheads.
Courtesy of Aleali May
"Ever since I was a young girl, my uncle would always buy me the latest sneakers, particularly Air Jordans. Before I could even understand it, it was always incorporated into my daily routine, and with so many different variations of sneakers, I gained a strong love for them.
"With collecting sneakers, it was one of those things where I bought so many shoes that I realized I was basically collecting them. I was into what was limited but also what coordinated with my personal style. I now own roughly around 300 pairs
"Collecting sneakers is really based on your own lifestyle. There are so many types of sneakers that exist that I would say the best start would be to what you would wear the most/what represents your style best. I personally love high-top sneakers and Air Jordan 1s, so I started buying them as soon as a new Air Jordan Retro Model was released.
"My current favourites are from my personal collaboration with Air Jordan, my Aleali May Air Jordan 1. Unfortunately, I'm biased, but as a young girl who never thought I'd be designing shoes, let alone with a brand I've always supported, is a dream come true!
I think more unique collaborations will happen in 2018. The playing field for entering the design world is expanding, and it's always exciting to see different twists on classic silhouettes."
Alas, all of Aleali's sneakers are sold out, but you can buy these, which are similar.
"I got into sneakers through my ex-boyfriend/best friend/now business partner. He had an amazing collection of kicks from the age of 16 when I met him. At that time I was going through my 'emo/DIY/Converse-only' phase. He had an OG pair of Air Max '90 Infrared from 2005 that really caught my eye, as well as the Air Max 97 True from 2004, which still to this day are one of my all-time faves. He keep trying to push me into kicks, and it wasn't till about a year later I thought, fuck it!I haven't looked back ever since, and he now hates the fact I've got way more kicks than him.
"When I just started, I was weeding through the internet trying to find cheap deals because I'm a bargain hunter at heart, and I came across some sick kicks. At the time, girls weren't into trainers, so it was better for me. I managed to grab some Nike Air Jordan 8 Aqua brand-new in box for 99p. When I found out what they were like, I was like, 'yo! lemme find some more' … so my passion and obsession grew from there. I now own over 350 pairs of sneakers, but I'm not counting.
"Do your research if you want to start collecting. It's always good to know what you're getting into, and learn the history! Don't copy others. Just buy and rep what you actually like. Be the best representation of you.
"Right now I'm really into Asics Gel Quantum 360 knit. I wear them everyday! But as for 2018, I reckon there'll be a continuation of chunky art 'dad' trainers Balenciaga, new Yeezy, Sketchers vibe. But the sneaker scene is constantly evolving, so who knows what's next."
"I'm a huge brand advocate for Nike for a plethora of reasons: Their positive and encouraging attitude towards achieving your goals (whether they be sport-related or not), their inspiring approach to advertising, their function-based design ethos and not to mention their iconic logo.
"I'm not sure that I would describe myself as a 'collector' just yet–I only have about 50 pairs of Nikes. It all kind of started when I was in university because I used to work part-time at a Nike Factory Outlet. I think when you work for a brand, you naturally start buying more of their products.
"I think the key areas to focus on are originality and authenticity. The streetwear genre is quite ambiguous and vast, so there's actually so much space available for women to create their own take on it. Streetwear isn't just about Supreme–it's a defining way of dress for so many different subcultures globally.
"I'm into quite garish sneakers–they are always the statement piece, so they need to have a defining characteristic, for instance, a new technology, logo or construction technique. A swoosh is definitely a compulsory attribute. My favourites right now are Nike Lunar Force Acronym 17."