The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 42 — We have no choice but to stan Melody Ehsani

Her work is so important

Happy Friday, y’all! I hope you’re having an excellent morning. Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thank you for spending a bit of time with me on this glorious day before you head into your weekend.

It’s women’s history month, so today our shoutout goes to Aleali May who is the first woman to design a unisex sneaker for Jordan Brand. Big shouts to the GOAT — read more about her here in this LA Times piece.

With that out the way, let’s dig in.

Melody Ehsani is so important

(Photo by Zidonito McBrain on Unsplash)

Melody Ehsani had a moment last year. She created one of the hottest Jordan shoes of 2019 as part of the brand’s Fearless Jordan 1 collection.

The creativity behind the shoe was pretty much unmatched in last year’s Jordan catalog. I’d put it up against pretty much anything.

  • My opinion: This shoe was better, aesthetically, than the Travis Scott 1. People just didn’t talk about it as much. In hindsight, it deserved way more love.

  • I’m probably part of that problem. Even looking back on it now, it doesn’t feel like I wrote about it enough.

Ehsani is back now, though. She teased us a little bit last week before hitting us with a banger. She showed off her Air Jordan Women’s OG silhouette in cherry flavors.

I absolutely love this shoe. Here’s a look from her Instagram.

In 1991 - eleven year old Melody wrote Magic Johnson a letter protesting the fact that girls werent allowed in his summer basketball camp.
In 1996 -womens basketball became official with the inception of the WNBA
In 1998- Jordan put out its first shoe actually designed for a woman.
In 2000 - exactly 20 years ago, Sanaa Lathan became the first cultural icon of a woman portraying a basketball star in the movie Love & Basketball.
In 2020 - Melody is bringing back the womens Jordan basketball shoe in honor of women's history month, the ladies of the WNBA and the anniversary of Love & Basketball. This commemoration of the shoe comes with the emblem of a cherry, which throughout time has been associated with symbols of abundance, fertility & protection. I pass these on to you 🍒
March 2, 2020

It was extremely exciting to see this shoe pop up on my timeline, but what was cooler was the anticipation in waiting for the joint to drop. I posted a picture of it on Instagram myself and got a few responses.

  • One person said “I need these let me know when they drop.”

  • Another person asked what model of Jordan it was.

  • And another person told me they were actually hot garbage (which I vehemently disagreed with.)

After having those conversations, I was struck. A question came to me: Have I ever talked about a women’s shoe this way? Have I ever really gotten into actual debates over one? The answer I landed at was nah. Not like this.

  • Of course, there have been women’s exclusives that have dropped before and they’ve been dope. But my reaction, and other men’s reactions, are almost always either “MAN I want those” or some sort of indifference on them. Not a debate about whether they’re good or not.

Those debates are what make sneaker culture great. What you like your friend might hate, but either way you know about the shoe and the culture and conversation is spread.

And that’s why Melody Ehsani’s work is so important. No one looks at her sneaker as “oh, that’s a women’s model.” Instead, it’s “wow this is hot” or “wow this is trash” and that’s completely normal. But, for so long, women’s sneakers haven’t been talked about like they’re completely normal. No one really cared about them.

We’d have the same debates about a Virgil drop or a Yeezy sneaker. That’s how you know Ehsani has made her mark. And that’s amazing because it opens up room for other women to do the same.

You shouldn’t have to always hit a home run as a woman to be noticed in this industry. Your singles and even your strikeouts should count, too. You should have room to be mediocre — room to be critiqued. People should still care about your work, even if they don’t like it.

That’s why her success is so important. Whether you like the shoe or not, talk about it. Critique it. Normalize it. The levels she’ll reach because of that are going to be insane.

I can’t wait to see the next thing she hits us with. I’m confident it’ll be dope as hell.

The coronavirus is getting worse

(Photo by CDC on Unsplash)

We live in scary times, man. There are already more than 95,000 cases of the coronavirus out there with the virus having landed on every continent in the world with the exception of Antarctica.

Most of the cases are in China where the outbreak has reached about 80,000, according data from World Health Organization. This ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Global industries are crumbling all around because of it and the fashion industry is one of them, Tara Law of Time Magazine writes.

The coronavirus has exposed a big problem — fashion’s dependence on China.

That dependency is now proving disastrous. As workers in China are being kept home amid fears of spreading the coronavirus, it’s causing delays in the manufacturing supply chain. Those delays are particularly problematic in the fashion business because clothes are sold in seasons, experts say.

What’s happening to the fashion industry is going to happen to pretty much every industry that has some sort of dependence on China — that includes the sneaker industry.

From a consumer standpoint, we’ve already seen the impacts. Stores across the country from major brands are being shut down left and right. That’s not a small deal — China has billions of consumers who generate billions of dollars every year.

But the bigger impact might come from what we see on the manufacturing side. And we haven’t necessarily seen the effects from that standpoint just yet.

Like other industries, most of the sneaker world keeps their manufacturing operations in China.

  • Nike, for example, a cool 18% (nearly a fifth) of Nike’s 523 factories are in China, which is more than any other country in the world, according to the company’s manufacturing map. Viet nam is an extremely close second at 17%.

  • They do it because labor is cheap (and, a lot of times, unethical). The productivity is high and the wages are low. The workforce is large.

As workers (rightfully) remain home we could start seeing delays in product development. A lack of workers means a lack of production and a lack of production means product delays.

That could translate into some delays for drops you’ve been looking forward to for a while. It hasn’t quite happened yet, but it’s definitely a possibility if things hold up this way.

That sucks, but look — everyone is shook by this. There are sporting events being held without an actual audience in Italy right now. The Olympics might get cancelled (which would be another enormous blow). Not being able to buy a shoe in time should be the least of our worries.

We’re not at that point yet so there’s still time for things to turn around. And all of your favorite companies will be fine as soon as things get squared away with this. But that might take a while.

Until then be safe out here. Wash your hands. Limit touching. And watch the news. Let’s be the healthiest community of folks we can be.

Olympic stuff

Speaking of the Olympics, we better figure all of this out because I absolutely need the games to happen.

The summer Olympics are always generally great, yes, but we absolutely need to see Nike’s skater gear in action. It looks phenomenal.

I’m not French — not at all. But, listen, for these Olympics? If I can get literally any of that gear in my size I’ll be French for a couple weeks.

Just let me know what I need to do. Rosetta Stone ain’t nothing but a word — well, two words, I guess. Whatever, you get the point.

Sensationnel. See what I did there?

Take all this back, Kanye

Look. I know that Ye is y’all mans most of the time. But I’m going to have to ask you to get y’all mans.

Why does he have his Yeezy Season 8 models walking around in Ugg boots that look like they’ve getting crushed by boxes in the attic for 4 years? Like, the boots literally look like they’re melting. How are boots melting, y’all?

Also, is that a crop top…puffer vest? Them seasons must hit different in Wyoming, dog.

Maybe your boy just had bad taste. Maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about. But I cannot remember the last time I saw something from one of Kanye West’s collections and was like “yeah, that’s good.” And my bar is low!

Like I said, somebody get they mans.


Y’all know the vibes. And y’all came with the heat — yet again. I’m going to stop posting my shoes if y’all keep killing me like this.

The homie Sumeet came through with the Pine Greens AJ1’s looking like they came fresh off the shelf.

I pulled the Pigeon Dunks out! Running out of time to wear these — our cold days are numbers. (Who am I kidding I’m definitely wearing these in the summer).

The homie Greer hit us with some absolutely glowing Air Max 97’s.

Our man Josh came through with the Mauve Yeezy 700’s. You gotta love th eearthy tones.

Then the homie Vivid Dope stepped out in the beater AJ3’s. Ain’t nothing better than a beat up 3, man.

Then our man Justin hit us with the Cortez Kenny’s that came with an absolutely dope story.

Then the homie Dandin came out and really shut it down with the Flu Games. Shut it down, fam.

And I honestly don’t know what the hell Draymond Green and Converse are doing. But we not wearing this lol.

Yikes, Dray.

That’s all for Friday, folks! Thank you so much for spending a bit of time with your boy, again. I truly, truly, truly appreciate it.

Until Monday, y’all! Have a great, great weekend. Have fun and be safe.

As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯

(CORRECTION: This previously said May was the first woman to design a sneaker for Jordan Brand. That was incorrect — it was Vashtie Kola. What this should've said was May was the first to design a unisex sneaker for JB)