Our data doesn’t lie yet no matter how many times we’ve pointed out the sneaker market potential of females in youth culture, more than once we’ve heard brand managers and marketing execs state they’re “just not targeting there.”
“There” being females into sneaks. Even brands that rank higher among females as a preferred footwear brand (see our Youth Culture Studies for details, size of market, top brands) often state their lack of wanting to publicly illustrate this fact. Ironically, especially among skate-inspired sneaker brands, being more popular with females than males doesn’t always equal cred. Of course there are exceptions, but it’s not the general rule.
Which is why so many brands still don’t fulfill their potential marketshare, and why women like Lori Lobenstine launched Femalesneakerfiend.com in 2005, and eventually, the colorfully illustrated book “Girls Got Kicks” in 2011—a book, it should be noted, that is still on an in-demand book tour into 2012.
Interestingly, the press around Girls Got Kicks has been incredibly positive, but mostly within the niche of sneaker-circles, streetwear blogs, and some progressive newspapers, when in reality, financial advisors and footwear industry brand managers should have this title on the top of their in-box, especially in this economy.
According to Lobenstine in one of many inspired interviews in Slam, the inspiration for her website and book came from the legendary “Where’d You Get Those?” by Bobbito Garcia. Garcia is well-known in sneaker circles, especially in NYC, for his knowledge about sneaker culture, the key players, brands breaking, and more. But even this King of Sneaks missed the Queen.
“As much as I love Where’d You Get Those?, Bobbito managed to include hundreds of photos without a single female. He said he didn’t know any female sneaker fiends. It made me swear that never again would someone not know how to find us. The website has done that, and now a book will make our presence more permanent,” stated Lobenstine about her inspiration.
There are a handful of brands targeting girls in the sneaker freaker scene such as Keep, Milkshake Kicks, Booji, and of course mainstreamers now such as Vans, Nike, Adidas, and even Tom’s, but this took ages (not Tom’s). Even though Converse is hugely popular with females, Nike (owners of Converse) is slowly taking steps to meet the demands of this scene. Adidas has moved into the picture especially with their recent launch (January 18, 2012) of newsfororiginalgirls.com headed up by Palina Rojinski.
The site posts updates about music, fashion, and lifestyle but it isn‘t actually about girl sneaker culture per se. However the people in it do wear adidas originals. It’s also important to note that Palina Rojinski, the main blogger and editor of the site, is a model and DJ, not necessarily your typical sneaker freaker girl.
Girls Got Kicks—the book and site–on the other hand, illustrate an amazing array of real women stoked on their sneaks,who come in all shapes and sizes, ethnicties, and locations. That’s what gives the book and site their gritty street cred and authenticity. It’s truly the first ever documentary of female sneaker fiends, which indicates how late to the game the sneaker industry is as a whole.
The goal of Girls Got Kicks other than to make a great book is to point out the passion of this subculture, which as Lobenstine states with great accuracy (and which we can quantify), is far larger than most people know. Hearing and seeing the stories of girls and their kicks will give inspiration across the board—from the girl with a collection in her closet, to the guy curious about cool kicks, to brands looking for the next big marketplace– which ironically has always been right in front of their face.