Welcome to #MadeForTheW’s sneaker appreciation segment, where we introduce you to women who collect sneakers, work in the footwear industry, and/or impacting the sneaker culture. This week, we shed light on one woman, Nichole, who is the first female to own a sneaker laundry, known as Sole Wash. Also, Nichole co-owns a sneaker boutique, known as Footage Society. She hopes to continue to pave the way for other minorities in the sneaker industry.
DD: What’s your name, where you from, and what made you start collecting sneakers?
Nichole: My name is Nichole, I’m an Afro-Latina from Puerto Rico that moved to Spanish Harlem at the age of 8 and now live in Maryland. Growing up in Spanish Harlem during the 90s Hip-Hop era sparked my love for streetwear and sneakers. Although I was rocking sneakers for comfort and fashion since elementary, I began collecting and preserving them about 12 years ago, when my son showed interest in the sneaker culture which spiraled me into a reminiscing phase.
What was the first sneaker you purchased?
Sadly, I don’t remember the 1st sneaker I purchased for myself, but I do remember purchasing both the Raptor and Bordeaux 7s at Marshall in 2011/12 below retail.
What was the earliest you remember about collecting sneakers?
Growing up in NYC, with a mother that was a fashion designer, most of the time my footwear was the only thing I wore with a brand because my mother designed and sewed most of our clothing from dresses to winter coats. So, footwear, specifically sneakers were one only way to relate to the rich cultures around me. Being the youngest of 4, I grew up with a lot of hand-me-downs and taking my siblings sneakers without their permission. My first new pair of an athletic sneaker was the Nike Air Trainer Huarache in 1992. I was hyped to move on to Nike from the K-Swiss and Rebook Freestyle.
What’s your favorite sneaker in your collection?
This is always a very tough question for me, because I have some many personal attachments and great memories with so many sneakers in my collection. I can name a few though. I love DBs – not just because of its cause, but because for many years, GS sizes didn’t get the special boxes that men sizes received, such as Jordan 11s. Sounds small but it did give me a sense of inequality. I also love my AF1 Puerto Rico released in 2003, it was a perfect blend of me. I do own multiple pairs Black Cement 3s and Carmines 6s. I also love the Melony Ehsani 1s Mid SE Fearless that are a whole size bigger, and I don’t care.
What sneaker is missing from your collection?
I’m missing so many sneakers in my collection. Honestly, I’m not looking into new releases because I still have a long list of older releases that I still haven’t found in the price range and/or condition. But of course, I would love to get my hands on a pair of Chicago Hi 1s and Jordan 2 Vashtie Kola Lavender.
Any sneaker stories you want to share?
When I transitioned from being solely a consumer to a collector and then later invested in a small resell sneaker boutique 6 years ago with my son, that’s what made it all so real. Now continuing to create my own lane, I have expanded the boutique “Footage Society” to include “Sole Wash” a sneaker laundry service to its 2nd location in Washington, D.C. But the best and greatest memories are surrounded by being able to work with my son, in something we both love and respect
Which sneaker in the future are you looking forward to cop?
I’m looking to closeout my Doernbecher Jordan collection and still hunting for Jordan 2 Vashtie. But OMG to the Jordan 1 Zoom CMFT Aleali May, I totally need!
Which brand in your opinion is killing it?
Any brand that collaborates with women and represents different cultures consistently is killing it. Nevertheless, I own more Nikes and within that, Jordan is leading.
Which women in the industry do you recognize?
Of course, I follow the Vashtie, Aleali May, Melody Ehsani as non-athletic females that collab across multiple sneaker brands… but honestly, I mostly follow females that are on the ground creating sneaker related products of their own, empowering other females in the culture, and those creating their own spaces in an educational, creative, effective, and positive manner.
If you had the chance to address these footwear brands, what would you want them to know?
As sneakers are being rapidly released nowadays, I’m refocusing my future purchases to women designed/collaborated sneakers, as well as minorities that look like me, but rich in culture and storytelling.