With a mission to educate, inspire, and leave a legacy, the InHerSoles collective aims to significantly impact the ecosystem of both the sneaker and sportswear industry.
We recently talked to Yaya and Jas of InHerSoles about SneakHER culture, their mission, earliest sneaker memories, future plans for the collective, and more.
WHAT IS INHERSOLES COLLECTIVE?
InHersoles is a collective with a mission to impact the ecosystem of the sneaker and sportswear industry. We aim to educate, inspire and leave a legacy for future sneaker and streetwear aficionados by creating transcending spaces, both physical and digital.
INHERSOLES RECENTLY PARTNERED WITH ATMOS TO CURATE THE ROYAL GARDEN, AN EVENT CREATED TO HONOR THE LAUNCH OF THE WOMEN'S AIR JORDAN 11 LOW 'PURE VIOLET'. WHY IS CREATING SPACES IN THIS MANNER SO IMPORTANT?
Being able to collaboratively bring our professional skills to serve the women who have the same passions as us is a dream! Creating spaces within the culture to unite our community in unique ways where we can push boundaries is necessary to continue evolving the sneaker culture and the spaces we inhabit.
WHAT INITIALLY STARTED YOUR (JAS AND YAYA) LOVE FOR SNEAKERS?
JAS: “I am a second-generation sneakerhead. My parents were young Hip-Hop lovers that raised me in two developing cultures: Hip-Hop and Sneakers.”
YAYA: “Growing up in Uptown, NYC everyone makes “shoe contact” before eye contact. It was instilled in me at a young age that streetwear and footwear were important and a must-have.”
WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST SNEAKER MEMORY?
JAS: “When I was 5, I saw a pair of sneakers on a friend in 1st grade. Her name was Silmarie Nieves, and she wore a pair of white sneakers with what looked like a sun on the upper panel. I asked my mother for the sneakers with the sun on them, and she immediately knew which sneakers I was referring to. The next day she bought me a pair of black Ellesse’s. I wanted white, but she taught me a sneaker rule that I still abide by today- that black sneakers are worn in the winter.
YAYA: “I arrived in the U.S. when I was 8-9 years old, from the Dominican Republic. I enrolled in a public elementary school in the ESL program and had no friends. One day during recess, I was adjusting my twist and pull shoelaces on my payless sneakers, and just like out of a movie, my bully came up to me and said, “oh, cool laces, what are those sneakers?” I innocently replied, “they’re my new shoes from Payless,” what followed was uncontrollable laughter from her. From that moment on, I started nagging my mom for name-brand shoes, and there’s been no turning back since.”
MANY PEOPLE ENJOY AND ADMIRE SNEAKERS, BUT NOT MANY KNOW THE HISTORY OF KICKS THEY WEAR. WHY IS EDUCATING WITHIN THIS SPACE SO IMPORTANT TO YOU ALL?
Through educating women and preserving sneaker history, we're making space for future women interested in the subject. Women sneaker collectors hold as much power and skin in the game as men and must be equally represented. By existing and activating, we're slowly but surely bringing attention to the actual needs of women in the space.
WHAT TYPE OF LEGACY DO YOU HOPE TO LEAVE FOR OTHER WOMEN CURRENTLY TRYING TO ENTER THE SPACE?
JAS: I want the legacy of my actions to live in the raw sneaker collecting culture. I want my work to be remembered for the passion I put into curating a 30-year collection and how I choose to share my knowledge. I want the legacy to highlight that sneakers have led me to friends worldwide, with ageless drip, and building bonds over the business. I made a commitment to serve women in my community and lead through action.
YAYA: In everything I do, I want other women from places I'm from to know that they can do it too. That they can choose at any moment to create platforms for others to shine and chase careers in an industry that for a long time didn't address women correctly. I hope people keep dreaming and doing.
WHO ARE SOME WOMEN WHO YOU THINK ARE MAKING MOVES IN THE SNEAKER INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW?
- Elizabeth Semmelhack - Author, Director, and Senior of the Bata Shoe Museum.
- Vanessa Wallace - Head of Brand Marketing,Jordan Brand North America
- Sarah Sukumaran- Lilith Founder.
WHAT DOES SNEAKERHER CULTURE MEAN TO YOU?
JAS & YAYA: We like to view ourselves as part of sneaker culture, period. Although we focus on women and femmes, we don’t want the segmenting of conversations and products to continue. The long-standing narrative that women and men are divided in the sneaker conversation is a part of the overall issue. Our goal is to bridge the conversation gap and bring the two closer together by creating more safe spaces to connect, align, and find commonalities.
JAS & YAYA: Sneaker culture is just as crucial to the overall conversations in the world, like music and sports. It’s essential to keep our culture alive and continue telling stories to keep carrying on the traditions and creating new norms.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PAIR OF SNEAKERS IN YOUR COLLECTION?
JAS: Always a tricky question to answer. I don’t think I can narrow favorites to any one pair. I create memories that I can pull back up when I look at each pair. I’d have to say some Nike Air Max 95s and Nike Shox that belonged to my late mother, Reebok Freestyle Hi for the memories of my youth, Jordan 2s for being my first Js to make me fresh in the streets, and a pair of some sneakers bought for me by family members as gifts hold special places in my collection.
YAYA: I could never pick just one pair! I would have to include my two pairs of Air Force 1 De Lo Mio’s + my two pairs of Air Max 95 De Lo Mio’s (one to rock and one to stock on these always, lol). I know Ceze, the designer, personally and can say those pairs came from his heart and are tied to mine and his heritage. I had the opportunity to reveal the 95s to the world for the first time and was part of the sneaker’s inspiration, so they mean the world to me. I’d also have to say my Melody Ehsani Jordan 1 mids for sure; they were the first pair of Jordans I was ever directly gifted from the brand that I now call family, and as an avid sneaker fan, it just felt like a dream come true to get such a pair.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR INHERSOLES?
JAS & YAYA: We’re constantly working towards a more rounded platform that offers more than IRL and digital experiences, so we’re building different ways to share our platform with more people across the globe beyond just the moment.
JAS & YAYA: We always want to strive to change the space and impact the trajectory of things in sneakers and sportswear through more profound and meaningful conversations, so we will be seeing more of the spaces we’ve always created.
JAS: As authentic and proven leaders in the physical and digital ecosystem of sportswear and sneaker collecting, we want to stick to our mission of creating what is missing in sneakers and sportswear for the community of women and women-identifying people that many of the brands have forgotten. Building for your everyday woman that walks into your local store on payday to buy sneakers for herself and her family and the typical student that works part-time for that sneaker. We are creating new spaces and opportunities for these women to be seen, heard, and celebrated.
YAYA: Everything Jas just said.