There are books that your coffee table needs, there are books that the world needs, and then there are books that exist at the intersection of all these spaces. That is where you’ll find She Kicks, the first-ever title that’s solely dedicated to championing women in the sneakerspace. Authored by Nav Gill, in partnership with Sanne Poeze, aka @girlonkicks and published by Studio 96, She Kicks shines a light on women at all levels and in all facets of sneakers, from household names to those you need to know! We had a chat with Gill, who took SF through what she hopes the book will achieve and much more.
Congratulations on She Kicks! What are you most excited about in being able to bring the book to the world?
Thank you! I’m most excited to be able to share the stories of so many amazing women working in the industry and the breadth of their contribution to sneakers. It was also really important for us to highlight the experiences and perspectives of people who don’t only work as ‘sneaker designers’ to show the variety of roles available in this sphere and just how many people it takes to bring your favourite sneakers to life.
How long was She Kicks in the works?
We first had the idea and worked on the initial outline for what would become this book around four years ago, but we actually began the full process of developing this particular title with our publisher at the end of 2019.
The publishing of She Kicks, by women and for women, is huge enough as it is. In addition, what are you hoping She Kicks can achieve?
I really hope it shows women that, although the numbers are far from equal, there absolutely is space for them to be part of the sneaker industry and, more than that, that the sneaker world needs their expertise and insight in order to evolve and grow.
What do you think has been the most positive change regarding representation and inclusivity for women in the modern sneakerspace?
I think one of the most positive things to arise from the modern sneakerspace is the ever-growing community that surrounds it. Particularly across social media, there are several platforms, communities, and individuals that advocate for equality in sneakers, showcase female-led products and stories and simply trade tips on where to find the latest drops in more inclusive sizes. Seeing the women’s sneaker community grow both locally and internationally over the past few years has been so cool.
What is something you think still needs to be improved?
Products, without a doubt. More inclusive size runs across the board, more boundary-breaking women’s exclusives, and, importantly, more performance footwear designed specifically for female athletes.
It would be so difficult not to have the book be a million pages long! How did you decide what people or moments needed to be included in the book and which wouldn’t make the cut?
This was one of the most challenging things throughout the process, and honestly, if I had it my way, the book would have gone on forever. To ensure that we could cover as much ground as possible without compromising on the narrative, we split it into sections that covered design, collaboration, history, and the future. Interestingly, the sneaker industry has only really caught up with archiving its products, campaigns, and marketing materials recently. So, unfortunately, some stories we’d like to have shared from the past few decades just didn’t have imagery or information available at the quality we would need for print. But those stories that didn’t quite make it into the final edit this time are definitely banked for the future 👀
A more personal question: What’s your relationship with sneakers?
I’ve worn sneakers for as long as I can remember. At first for practicality and comfort, but then as a form of self-expression as I grew older. There’s no other piece of footwear that allows you to share your identity and personality in the way that sneakers do. No matter what else you’re wearing, sneakers have the ability to show off a bit of what you’re about to the world.
What are some ways that people can support women in the sneaker industry?
Hire more women in the sneaker industry at every level :)
To purchase your copy of She Kicks, visit Studio 96 Publishing at the link below.
This feature was first published on December 20, 2022.