Sneaker Envy: Female Fans Launch Campaign to Turn Nike on to Women’s Trainers


Dear Nike: “Somewhere in Swoosh Central, there’s been an oversight.”

At least that’s what sneaker enthusiasts Emily Hodgson and Emilie Riis, founders of Purple Unicorn Planet, think. The pair started the website to showcase all of the cool, “men’s only” style sneakers on the market with the hope of influencing companies like Nike to make them in women’s sizes. Many shoe companies neglect to create styles that use custom colors, materials or patterns in women’s sizes, forcing some to wear sneakers designed for men and others to just lose out.[more]

Hodgson and Riis, who worked on the site after-hours at their London ad agency, are targeting the Nike Lunar Force 1 Fuse Premium and the Nike Air Force lines. “Our campaign grew out of the search for the perfect pair of trainers,” Hodgson told Fast Company. “We were largely drawn to the darker colourways using patent leather, suede and different patterns. We’d eagerly check out trainer and fashion blogs, however, were always disappointed as most of the trainers were only made in men’s sizes.”

Riis describes her favorite men’s trainers in the Nike Air Force line as “the perfect mix of Lunar Force minimalism and Air Max street cred.”

“Trainers are unisex shoes and have been for awhile. But it seems we are still stuck in an outdated view on what kinds girls and boys, respectively, should wear,” Riis added. “Girls don’t just want pink, purple, or banana yellow trainers.”

The site includes samples of correspondence with Nike customer service, in which the inquiries were repeatedly met with disappointments or incorrect information. The women have created a social campaign using the hashtag #PleaseJustDoIt, encouraging fans to share their favorite trainer from the PUP site on social media and demand they be made in women’s sizes. 

“It’s important to state that this is by no means an attack on Nike,” Riis stresses. “Quite the opposite. It’s our call to feet. A shout-out to change it up for the girls—make it easier for us to buy cool trainers.”