“There needs to be representation everywhere, sneaker culture is something that bleeds into a lot of other areas, it is like the intersection between music, sports, and art.” – Cassidy Edwards, Managing editor, CNK Daily
When people talk about sneaker culture, oftentimes those conversations are on male sneakerheads and the history men have played in sneaker and streetwear culture. What seems to be missing from those conversations are Herstories of several women who have also helped to ignite sneaker culture while adding to it.
Cassidy Edwards is one of the several women who is changing the narrative when it comes to sneaker culture. She is the Managing Editor for CNK Daily, a media platform that is dedicated to servicing women in sneakers and streetwear.
She is also the Director of Member Experience and Human Resources at Tradeblock, the #1 sneaker trading app. Above everything, her favourite role is being a ‘cool’ mom to three children who also love sneakers.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Edwards has been a sneakerhead since she was in middle school. “I fell in love with sneakers in high school, but was rocking them in middle school too,” she said. She used sneakers as an outlet for meeting people. “I let my shoes do all the talking,” said Edwards, “it was a great conversation starter because people would always ask me about my shoes!”
“I was a shy kid growing up, but when I had fresh kicks, I didn’t have to say anything, they were the conversation starters and it really made me confident.”
Sneakers are more than just ordinary shoes according to Edwards. When asked why sneakers are so important she responded, “with my kicks, it empowers me, the creative expression is a manifestation of our individuality so kicks for me is a badge of confidence.”
Edwards has been a sneakerhead since she was in Middle School. Growing up she was not the most outgoing person. Her shoes became the conversation starters that elevated and gave her confidence. To some people, it is just shoes, but for Edwards, shoes are so much more than just something we wear on our feet. “Sneakers grounded me, she said. “Different shoes tell different stories.”
Edwards discovered CNK Daily in 2017, after scrolling on Instagram and decided to message them. “Shoot your shot because you never know what might come from it,” she said.
CNK Daily is a media platform that focuses on elevating, and empowering women in what the team refers to as “SneakHER Culture”.
Relating to some of the stories and ideas behind the publication, she took a risk and messaged them to see how she can support the platform and elevate it.
Next thing she had an interview and then was welcomed to the team. Inspiring women through a common thread, sharing stories of women in sneaker culture and amplifying different voices. Her contributions to CNK have led to more empowerment, representation, and elevation for the female voice in a historically male-dominated industry. Recognizing women in every industry is important so it’s no different than we should be highlighting and creating opportunities for women within the sneaker industry. “I know it is important to recognize women in every industry, every niche, specifically in sneaker culture, who were trailblazers along the way,” said Edwards.
“There needs to be representation everywhere, sneaker culture is something that bleeds into a lot of other areas, it is like the intersection between music, sports, and art.”
“As a mom I want my kids to see black and brown women everywhere so they can relate and see that the space is designed for them because growing up I didn’t feel that way.” She continued to say, “Black people drove sneaker culture to where it is and women need to be involved, producing shoes and designing, not just as props but also part of boardroom discussion on ideas.”
Being a female comes with its challenges and for Edwards that included not being taken seriously, “parents saw me as more of a kid because I was wearing kicks,” she said. “There was a lot of gatekeeping before you had to know basketball stats to be accepted.”
As a woman in sneaker culture Edwards wants to “empower others to use their gifts and find out what that is if they’re unsure; just be purposeful.”
Edwards also wants young people to understand that although buying shoes is a fun thing to do, “remember that you’re style is yours, so you can do whatever you want with it and it will still be lit.
“One shoe that I will never up it is a Jordan 1 and it’s a reverse shattered backboard,“ said Edwards. “If I had to choose my favourite shoes that are repping for the ladies, it would be The Melody Ehsani mid-Air Jordan 1.”
Some of Edwards’ goals are to provide mentorship and help and empower the youth to use their gifts. “If I can do this for someone then that is success for me, she said. “When you talk about the legacy it is not about leaving it with people, it’s leaving it in people”
Breaking barriers one sneaker at a time, Cassidy Edwards continues to empower and motivate young people. Her main goal is to help young people understand their potential and believe in their unique style and self-expression.
“One shoe that I will never up it is a Jordan 1 and it’s a reverse shattered backboard”
Tips and Advice from Cassidy Edwards
When it comes to collecting shoes, start small, start with a classic pair of shoes and then make your way up.
Remember to rock what you like, don’t let people influence you
Be comfortable with being you
Using her voice, career and content she is creating, Edwards is inspiring more conversations to take place in the space for women. You can follow her on Instagram @cassidyw83 to keep up with the work she is doing.