The long, winding line outside the Javits Center on a cold and wet day in New York is almost all dudes. They’re waiting to get into the seventh annual SneakerCon, a hub where people come to buy, sell, and trade sneakers as well as hawk $40 slippers modeled after Kanye West’s mega-hyped Yeezys, shoe cleaners, and even plastic baggies to zip your shoes into so that they’re protected from rain, snow, and sludge. Anyone involved in the industry is here—it’s more male than a Congressional committee. There were 600 attendees at the first incarnation of the event, in 2009, but this weekend saw over 20,000 people come to the event.
We set out to find the women who were giving the boys a run for their, well, running shoes. The ones dealing with practical hurdles like sizing issues—the hottest sneakers come almost exclusively in men’s sizes—on top of disrespect. “People don’t expect you to know your stuff,” said Amber Jackson, owner of Connecticut-based sneaker shop Flight Vintage. “Once you start talking people are like ‘Whoa, she knows her shit.’”
What brings you to SneakerCon?
My fiancé really does all the Supreme and Off-White stuff and we live in Memphis where a lot of the shoes come through, so we are just a part of this world. We have a lot of connections and we just got back from Atlanta, we went to Vegas, we do all the SneakerCons.
Tell me about your sneaker collection.
I do a lot of [Jordan] 1s, a lot of Off-White. I try to stay away from Jordans because a lot of girls have Jordans. It’s really hard to get Yeezys, but I’m doing it. I’ve got three!
Which Yeezys do you have?
I got the Zebras, the reverse Belugas, and the Olives.
What do you love about sneakers?
It’s all about expressing my style. It’s a statement for me. When I walk up I don’t have to say much. I really like that.
How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
Right now: 90.
What’s the one sneaker you want to cop more than anything?
The 700s. Oh my, God, I was just talking about that. If I can find them, whatever I can drop, I will get them. Anything in size 7 is so hard to find because with that market, they eat that size up first. I always struggle to get it. My collection is really diverse.
What’s it like to be a woman in the sneaker world?
It’s different. Most of the time they look at my fiancé and expect him to have all the heat and everything. When I come and bring it too they’re like, “Well, what does she do?” I’m normal and I just like shoes like you. It’s good you’re doing this because you know we can do it too. Better actually. [My fiancé’s] collection is a little bigger than mine, but I’m getting there.