Ae with most markets, the world of sneakers has long been dominated by white men. Nike, Puma, Adidas, Reebok – big brands like these are a staple for sportswear and performance footwear – however, they have long eclipsed most smaller players, especially those founded by the BIPOC.
The next time you’re in the market for new shoes, go for something more inclusive from a sneaker brand owned by BIPOC. No, we’re not talking about a celebrity collaboration, like Rihanna’s limited edition Fenty Pumas or Sydney McLaughlin’s recent New Balance collaboration – we’re talking BIPOC-possesses brands, entrepreneurs and designers that you’ve probably never heard of, but absolutely need to know. Below are seven of our favorite BIPOC-owned sneaker brands that should be on your radar.
7 brands of sneakers belonging to BIPOC to discover as soon as possible
Founded by Brittney Perry, Perry Co. was launched in 2018 with the goal of creating more inclusive unisex sneakers. The brand aims to break down gender barriers with its line of high-end, versatile sneakers that can be worn at work, with friends, on a date, just about anywhere. They’re simple yet chic, with clean lines, trendy colors, and premium materials that’s built to last.
Brazilian shoe brand Cariuma is a gold mine for stylish and durable sneakers. All shoes are consciously made using the finest natural materials which are good for Mother Earth and reduce waste. Additionally, Cariuma has launched its own reforestation program that supports tropical forests, so with every pair you purchase two trees will be planted in the brand’s homeland.
3. Ninety-nine products
After working for over 15 years at Nike and From leading brands like Yeezy and Everlane to sneaker success, Jeffrey Alan Henderson has launched his own brand of sneakers, NinetyNine Products. These shoes are cool, designed for runners, and inspired by the technology used today by some of the best sneaker brands in the world. Think: ultralight design, support in the right places, and super responsive cushioning.
LØCI manufactures sustainable footwear and aims to divert ocean plastics into usable materials. The sneakers themselves are super stylish, made from eco-friendly materials like vegan leather, cork, and bamboo. But the brand’s ethics are arguably more impressive: 10% of every purchase goes to conservation programs that protect our seas, like Mission Blue and Sea Shepherd.
Tired of the white sneaker? Simisienna is your one stop shop for colorful, bold and downright funky shoes. The athleisure brand was founded by Kelechi Uju, entrepreneur and founder of Uju Media. And the brand doesn’t just sell sneakers. Here you can find everything from swimwear to resistance bands, all in fun colors and stylish designs you won’t find anywhere else.
Enda launched Kenya’s first running sneaker, Iten, in 2016. Since then, the brand has grown into a leader in running essentials, manufacturing all of its athletic shoes and clothing in Africa while supporting local Kenyan communities, by guaranteeing fair work for its workers, and reducing the brand’s carbon footprint. As well as being a certified B-Corp company, it is certified climate neutral and a predominantly black-owned business with Kenyans making up the majority of the company’s shares.
7. The right label
Attention minimalists, this brand only sells plain cotton t-shirts and chic tops and bottoms. Both are made with sustainability in mind, using materials like recycled leather, wild rubber, and organic cotton on synthetics and other tough fabrics for the planet.
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