Trainer loving women of the world unite! You have a new point of pilgrimage courtesy of Nike and their brilliant new trainer concept. And yes, that’s my British priggishness that forbids me from using the word ‘sneaker’. In the UK, one might slip into some ‘trainers’ when taking the ‘rubbish’ to the ‘dustbin’, but never sneakers. Anyway, the good folk of Nike have done something rather special here, devising an entirely new retail concept specifically catered to the needs of women. Opening in Paris during Fashion Week, the Unlaced space will provide the blue-print for subsequent launches in New York this summer, followed by other major cities including London, Paris, Berlin, Milan and several others.
But what’s all the fuss about? Headed by Julia Sarr Jamois, Senior Editor of i-D Magazine, Unlaced offers expanded sizing, not only to broaden women’s participation in sport by offering plus-sizing for athletic apparel, but also by introducing unisex shoe sizes on select styles to curb the agony of the, “sorry, we’ve just run out in that size” moment. Elsewhere, there’s an opportunity for a spot of one-on-one personalised styling available by appointment, while curator-led partnerships that engender new female voices in an area previously dominated by men, will give rise to more trainers designed by women for women. Just look at The 1 Reimagined project, Nike’s first collection of footwear designed entirely by a 14-strong female design collective – a new precedent set by Nike that only looks to become increasingly standard as Unlaced open the door to greater female representation and participation. Amen to that.