Don’t Sleep on the Ladies: 1 on 1 with Lori Lobenstine

Women have made some serious noise in the sneaker game as of late. The female influence has even gone as far as collaboration on popular sneakers. However, female sneaker fans are not a new phenomenon. Lori Lobenstine is the founder of, and has had a passion for the culture for decades. She is well respected in the game, and we had the opportunity to sit down with her to discuss her love for shoes, her thoughts on the female influence in the sneaker community, and Girls Got Kicks.

Nice Kicks: Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up?

Lori Lobenstine: I was born in New York City, but I moved to Berkley, CA when I was 2. So, all my elementary school years were in California, and I moved to Massachusetts during my middle school years. But I became a little sneakerhead tomboy out in Berkley in the ‘70s. I was the first girl in my school to rock high top Nikes. All the kids at the kickball games were sweating my sneakers. That was really were it all started.

Young Lori in happily rocking sneakers

Young Lori happily rocking sneakers

Nice Kicks: Would you say your sneaker inspiration stems from sports?

Lori Lobenstine: It does. I think that was it for a lot people, getting into sneakers through sports. I was a big basketball player in high school and college so that kept me connected to sneakers. It was definitely about playing sports, and just about some of the ways that girls in a variety of male dominated cultures, like sports, cars, or hip-hop, kinda show how they belong by rocking sneakers. When you got those good sneakers on your feet and the guys are like, “oh s***,” it gives you that extra swagger.

Nice Kicks: Since you have been into sneakers for the majority of your life, what was the one sneaker that ignited your passion?

Lori Lobenstine: My passion got started in the mid-70s when I got my first pair of Nike High Tops. If you think back, it wasn’t just that I was getting my first pair. The world was getting their first pair of Nike High Tops. Nike was fresh. I had to bargain with my mom so she wouldn’t buy me Pro Keds. I ended up having to pay the extra. They have released them in a number of colors and materials lately.

Nice Kicks: Did you always search the internet for the latest in sneaker news, updates, etc.?

Lori Lobenstine: It really wasn’t until 5 or 6 years ago that I was really hooked into….I actually reached out to Bobbito Garcia with his beautiful book, “Where’d You Get Those?”. He pointed me to some sneaker sites, and I was like ‘these are my people.’ But at the same time, I looked at the sites and there were not a lot of females on there. There was a lot of sexism on there. So I thought, well let me start a site for females. Then, people will recognize how many females there are that love sneakers.

Lori in Nike All Court Canvas Hi in the '70s

Lori in Nike All Court Canvas Hi in the ’70s

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