So excited to bring you this interview, let me introduce pioneer and Ma’dukes of the female sneaker world, Lori Lobenstine!
Founder of Female Sneaker Fiend, her sneaker insights have been published in magazines and books in the United Statres, Europe, and Australia, including Sneaker Freaker, Sole Collector, WAH, Bitch, Lace, and more… but now it’s our turn. After FSF interviewed me back in 2009, I couldn’t wait to get my chance to get a few moments with Lori to switch roles and put the spotlight on her! So here it is…
Lori Lobenstine, Founder, femalesneakerfiend.com
Author, Girls Got Kicks
Youth worker, basketball coach
First sneakers you ever bought?
I had to haggle with my mom to buy me the new high top Nikes (canvas All Courts) when they came out in the mid-70s! I had to pay her the difference over the Chucks and Keds she usually got me, out of my tiny allowance. I think it took over a month, but it was totally worth it! I LOVED those kicks and having all the boys looking at my fancy footwear on the playground. Remember, that was when Nike was brand new!
Do you have a pair of kicks that you don’t wear very often and why?
I have a beautiful pair of adidas from their Materials of the World Pack, with Indonesian fabric on a Metro Attitude Hi. I call them my “wedding sneakers” because I only wear them when I go to weddings!
Staple everyday pair in your collection and why?
I wear most of my collection, but my “everyday pairs” have to be able to handle New England weather and all the adventures that come with having a dog. Right now that includes my Converse Chucks with the padded ankle and tongue that came out a couple years back, my grey suede Puma Californias and my Supra Skytop Tufs for the winter. All durable and comfortable! Funny how for us sneaker fiends, we keep our most beloved kicks in their boxes and give so much more shine to the pairs we’re not as nervous to wear. It doesn’t make a lot of sense when I think about it. On those days I pull out something more eye-catching and say to hell with it.
Is there a particular style that you keep re-buying?
I’m always buying 80s basketball high tops. I love the chunky silhouettes. And of course, they remind me of my heyday of balling in high school and college! Ebay is my spot for all that.
Beaters or best for going out to a party?
Bests if it’s a sneaker party, and mainly those are the only parties I go to.
KangaROOS Walter Paytons and New Balance James Worthy’s. And I know a woman who wears my size and has both!
Furthest you’ve ever gone to get a pair?
Well, I can’t say I’ve travelled overseas explicitly to get sneakers, but I do love the ones I pick up when I’m travelling! I went to Toronto and Holland on FSF biz, and I love my kicks from those trips…
Grey nubuck Adidas Forum lo’s from Crooked Tongues. Arriving any day now!
Best sneaker experience?
Starting femalesneakerfiend.com has been my best sneaker experience ever. I’ve met so many amazing females from around the globe, and the community vibe and support has been amazing. Much as I love my kicks, I love people even more.
Worst sneaker experience?
Getting caught in the rain in brand new suede Dunks at a sneaker event in NYC. I ended up going home on the subway after the event with bags on my feet! And they still got pretty ruined.
Favourite sneaker stores?
Harputs in San Fran, RIP. Bodega in Boston. Ebay. Crooked Tongues. Goliath in NYC, but they don’t have enough small sizes…
Tell us a bit about your Girls Got Kicks project, we’ve seen a lot of coverage over the internet and would like to hear it from the Lady herself, what influenced you to do it?
I wanted a permanent way to honour the females in sneaker culture. There are amazing books about sneaker culture and sneakers, but none featured women. To me, that is a BIG oversight! I wanted a beautiful coffee table book like “Where’d You Get Those?” (my personal favourite), that would make sure female sneaker fiends could stand up and be counted. I felt like with this kind of documentation of our community and our movement, no one could deny our existence! And crazy as that sounds, it still happens all the time. I still hear guys saying dumb stuff like, “oh, I just don’t know any girls into sneakers” or “do you know what you’re wearing?” or “did your boyfriend get you those?” It’s insulting.
Since finding Female Sneaker Fiend about 5 years ago, I feel that for me, it has opened my eyes to a whole world of chicks in kicks, and even though we are all different and live on other sides of the globe, I feel we can all share our similarities and love. Was this what you pictured for FSF when starting out?
I felt there needed to be a site dedicated to real female sneaker fiends, a space for us to come together and see each other and be recognized. What creating the site and writing Girls Got Kicks did was connect and bring out 1000’s of women around the world who love kicks. I hear about women traveling to other continents to meet friends they first “met” on FSF, or even meeting folks they never knew who are right in their own city. So yeah, hearing about you connecting with chicks in kicks all over—that’s exactly what I had in mind. I love it. And I can’t wait to bring a Girls Got Kicks party to the UK!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Don’t Sleep on the Ladies! Big ups to bigeyeslilsoles!
It’s an absolute pleasure to be acquainted with such a talented, devoted & inspiring woman. Thanks for all your inspiration and hard work for all the Female Sneaker Fiends Lori!
If your’re a chick with a love for kicks and not already a member of Female Sneaker Fiend, go get involved! Don’t forget to check out the Girls Got Kicks website, and buy the book! It’s so awesome, and not to mention Big Eyes family members Amara, Ugly Mely and Myself (Lemon) are in it ;)
Peace & Love!