Today’s Leading Women Sneakerheads Talk Best Places to Shop and Who Deserves a Signature Shoe

Wendy Lam
Wendy Lam, founder and editor-in-chief of Nitrolicious.com.
Courtesy image

Four of the most influential women sneaker collectors spoke with Footwear News for the annual sneaker issue (which debuted Nov. 6), discussing a variety of topics including the best places to shop, brands with promising futures, who they believe deserves a signature sneaker and more. Check out what they had to say.

Jennifer Villamia
Store Manager, Sneaker Room

Jennifer Villamia Jennifer Villamia Instagram: @jentwice143

Best Place to Buy Kicks:
“Sneaker Room, but I’m biased because I work there. [And] Shoe Gallery is one of my favorite stores; I’ve been buying shoes since I was a kid. I love that store. It has always been a pinnacle-account store, so they had all the best products, and they’ve always been so nice and so welcoming ever since I was a kid. They have everything — all types of brands, all types of things for everyone.”

Brands With Surprising Quality Drops:
Puma is really surprising me. They have broken out of their shell — especially with all the Rihanna stuff.”

Brand With the Most Promising Future:
Nike. Their longevity and their archives — they haven’t even touched half of it. Whenever they want, they can go into their archives and pull something out that will make the marketplace go crazy. Their vintage basketball would be like a dream come true for some of those shoes to come out. The Air Money is their best vintage basketball shoe.”

Who Deserves a Signature Sneaker:
“Aleali May right now, the stylist. Her style is dope, she just [dropped a collab] a couple weeks ago. Another person would be Melanie Sanchez; she worked with Kith for a while, and she is also a stylist. She has great taste, and she knows the culture. She could design something really nice. She did some styling for [Ronnie Fieg] and for the brand.”

Victoria Chiang
Sneaker Influencer

Victoria Chiang Victoria Chiang Courtesy image

Best Place to Buy Kicks:
“I like buying from Grailed, StockX or Goat. I’m really into hype, and I really like the hottest sneakers, which sometimes are not attainable, so I have to turn to a consignment store. I love how on StockX and all the sites, you can haggle and sometimes find the best deals. As far as the classics, I prefer a Foot Locker of Footaction or a Champs [Sports] because they are the most reliable; they never disappoint, and they have the greatest inventory of classics if I want a pair of running shoes or Vans.”

Brands With Surprising Quality Drops:
“I am pretty impressed with Adidas’ quality because I feel like they produce so many colors of [Ultra] Boosts and NMDs. They managed to have very good quality even though they produce so many pairs, which is impressive. And of course Boost technology is always impressive; it’s the most comfortable in the marketplace right now. I am also impressed with how they are applying Boost because I like to have different silhouettes.”

Brand With the Most Promising Future:
“I think Nike will make a comeback. They’re still doing well, but in terms of awareness and influence and popularity, Nike will start turning it around. I feel like Adidas has to create something new and innovative and different, I feel like people are getting tired of talking about [Ultra] Boosts. They have such a great lineup of influencers like Pusha T, Kanye [West] and Dame [Lillard]. I feel like Nike does well with collaborations like with Off-White and Supreme. Nike is more aware of the evolving culture, so they will step it up early next year. They have a good pulse on evolving sneaker and streetwear culture, they know what’s hot across sports, music, entertainment and art, and are more connected to their core customer. [But] Adidas has the more technological advantage over Nike.”

Who Deserves a Signature Sneaker:
“My first thought is Travis Scott, he just had that Jordan runner that didn’t release to the public, but I feel like Nike should continue to work with him because he is so influential right now. I was also thinking A$AP Rocky, but he is working with Under Armour. [And] Lil Wayne, I feel like people still consider Lil Wayne one of the best rappers of our generation. He hasn’t played in the sneaker or fashion space, and I feel like even though he is a little eccentric, people still consider him one of the greatest rappers of all time. He is someone who is a little disruptive, different and also well-respected. I think he should only work with Jordan; it would only make sense. Otherwise it would be little unrealistic. Jordan would be really cool.”

Wendy Lam
Founder & Editor-in-Chief, 
Nitrolicious.com

Wendy Lam Wendy Lam Courtesy image

2017’s Most Overhyped Release:
“This is contradicting since I own a pair, but I think the Balenciaga Triple S since it’s a play on Skechers, which I would not see myself wearing. The ugly-dad-shoe situation should be banned from closets, but Balenciaga made it too good to resist.”

Brands With Surprising Quality Drops:
“All the major brands have a promising future as long as they play their cards right. Right now the major players have great collabs in line and dope products. I’m not particular to one brand only.”

Who Deserves a Signature Sneaker:
“My favorite artist, Rihanna, already has one with Puma, so it’s been covered.”

Jazerai Allen-Lord
Business Development & Partnership, Crush & Lovely

Jazerai Allen-Lord Jazerai Allen-Lord Courtesy image

Best Place to Buy Kicks:
“I shop at Rime because it is a female-owned unisex store, and it’s in Brooklyn, and they have been there forever. I appreciate [Susan Boyle’s] aesthetic and the way she speaks to young girls. I also go to Six:02, but for past releases or hyped stuff, I shop at McLaren Kick Shop.”

Brands With Surprising Quality Drops:
“I love what New Balance does as far as construction, materials and fit. I think that they are super-on-the-mark. They can’t play the retro game, but they don’t need to because you’ll still have the same pair 10 years later. They just give you a sleek, standard shoe and it feels good. I’m on foot a lot, and 90 percent of the time, I wear New Balance because wear and tear of the shoe and comfort are super-important.”

Brand With the Most Promising Future:
“Adidas, because they know how to speak to that millennial young kid. Adidas has a strong hip-hop relationship, and I feel like they have a strong presence. I think they have a great way of speaking to that demo, and they’re so connected and ahead. They are dominating and monopolizing that messaging, [and] their influencers right now are the people kids want to be.”

Who Deserves a Signature Sneaker:
“Childish Gambino. He is a representation of, like, 78 percent of young brown kids and who they are and who they want to be. I would love to see him with a shoe, a very streamlined silhouette. I think people would want him to be with Puma; Adidas is too edgy for him.”