Welcome to #MFTW sneaker feature, where we introduce you to women who collect sneakers, work in the footwear industry, and/or impacting the sneaker culture. This week, we present to you a woman who is not afraid to voice her opinions about the lack of visibility and acknowledgment of Black women in the footwear industry.
My name is Taylor Walker and I’m from the 757 (Virginia Beach). What made me start collecting is Air Force 1’s. When I saw them for the first time, it was something about the pair that stood out to me! I was also playing basketball at the time, so I was already trying to get the best shoe for basketball as well, but those Air Force 1’s started it all for me.
DeeDee: What was the first sneaker you purchased?
Taylor: It would be my first pair of all white and all black Air Force 1’s in middle school! Back then, that was the pair to have. I begged my parents to buy them for me. One of the first pairs I purchased with my own money was a pair of Nike Blazers I bought in high school, when I got my first job working at the mall.
DeeDee: What was the earliest you remember about collecting sneakers?
Taylor: The earliest I remember was middle school. When you started school and could barely sleep before the first day because you could not wait to show up with your fly new outfit and fresh pair of kicks! I truly miss those times! Those also were the times I did everything I could to keep my sneakers clean. My parents weren’t buying me new pairs all the time – only when school started.
DeeDee: What’s your favorite sneaker in your collection?
Taylor: It’s hard to choose just one. I love my FILA Ray Tracers, I love Jordan 1’s, Jordan 6’s, Jordan 11’s, Air Force 1’s, and Yeezys because the comfort is amazing. I can say one pair that has become a favorite for me is the Aleali May Jordan 1 Zoom CMFT. I love that pair so much that I haven’t even worn it yet, because I have to have the perfect outfit first!
DeeDee: What sneaker is missing from your collection?
Taylor: The Banned 1’s, Aleali May 6’s, Jazerai’s Reebok collab (Club C), Melody Ehsani Air Jordan 1 Mid, and Joefreshgoods New Balance collabs. All these pairs are grail pairs for me!
DeeDee: Any sneaker stories you wanna share?
Taylor: I had the pleasure of being featured on Sneaker Sunday with ImSimplyB. ImsimplyB asked me which brand would I want to collab with. Without hesitation, I said FILA! I truly love the FILA Ray Tracers. Because of the live, FILA brand ended up sending me a free pair of Ray Tracers. The pair they sent me, I had been eyeing for a while. It was a pretty cool experience, that I will never forget!
Deedee: Which sneaker in the future are you looking forward to cop?
Taylor: I would say the Playoff 12’s, UNC 6’s, Union 2’s, anything that Joefreshgoods releases, as well as any Melody Ehsani and Aleali May drops, which I automatically want.
DeeDee: Which brand in your opinion is killing it?
Taylor: New Balance. They have been killing it lately. The comfort on the majority of their sneakers is amazing! I feel like a brand being able to achieve good comfort and style, makes them stand out. I have also been enjoying a lot of the collaborations. They have been doing great, so shoutout to them. I can’t wait to see what else they have coming out!
DeeDee: Which women women exclusive released was your favorite?
Taylor: There are so many to choose from but I would have to say three pairs that I was able to add to my collection would be:
Teyana Taylor’s Reebok Question Mid
Melody Ehsani’s Air Jordan 1 Mid Fearless
Aleali May’s Jordan 1 High Zoom CMFT Califia
DeeDee: If you had the chance to address these footwear brands, what would you want them to know?
Taylor: I would want them to know that there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to including Black women in the rooms where a lot of decisions are made. We can tell when brands drop things but it only speaks to a certain audience and/or it was done without the input of Black women. I would also like brands to know that VA has a lot of great people doing amazing things when it comes to sneakers. I feel like the 757 area and the Richmond, VA area doesn’t get a lot of love and I would love to see the brands do more when it comes to being more involved in these areas.