In August, Reebok announced a reboot of “It’s A Woman’s World,” a 2001 campaign that worked to combat gender and cultural stereotypes by featuring the likes of Missy Elliott and Venus Williams. Now renamed “It’s A Man’s World,” Reebok handpicked five women of color who defy convention and are carving their own paths in predominantly male fields.
Streetwear designer Jazerai Allen-Lord, producer Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde, artist Anhia Zaira Santana, sneaker blogger Sanne Poeze, and writer and activist Kimberly Drew each collaborated on an individual, unique shoe design.
Following the release of Allen-Lord's collaboration Club C that launched on September 1st, Drew’s sneaker will be released on Thanksgiving Day. “The Freestyle-Hi has always been my favorite Reebok silhouette and so it was an easy pick when granted a choice for the collaboration,” Drew tells Refinery29. “In my mind, it’s the quintessential New York shoe and it’s always been such an iconically Black and femme shoe.”
Drew says when she started the design process with Reebok, she learned it was the first athletic shoe made for women. “It was a thrill to pair this life-long love with this powerful historical context,” she explains.
It took “hours of deliberation,” but she finally landed on the color red because she has a pair of classic red Freestyle-Hi sneakers that she wears almost every day. “I was able to take this shoe that I know and love and elevate all of the elements with rich textures and patterns,” said Drew.
The inside of the shoe features a pattern from the 1890s — way before Reebok was even Reebok. As an art curator, Drew liked the idea of pairing something archival with the concept of making a shoe for the femmes of the future.
“Nothing felt real until we got the samples,” Drew says. “I love sneakers. I have a really unwieldy collection of sneakers that I have collected for nearly half my life. The idea that now I’ll have a pair that I designed still blows my mind. There was a collective moment on set where all the women in the collab got to hold their shoes for the first time — some tears were shed.”
Drew’s Reebok Classic Freestyle Hi, will be available on Thanksgiving Day at Reebok.com.