As a female, Janelle Morgan has to always listen to guys telling her how much easier it must be to find sneakers. Less hype. Shorter lines. More options. Getting those popular Saturday morning releases should be a breeze, right?
“I don’t think that’s the case at all,” the size 6 sneakerhead says. “A lot of the shoes don’t come in my sizes.”
Ironically, the majority of Morgan’s 60-plus pairs of shoes aren’t women’s releases. She has trainers and racers for running, and then just a single women’s Jordan release. The rest? All men’s and grade school sizes. The reasoning behind that is she just loves original colors — Morgan’s favorite colors are red and blue — something that was ingrained in her by a friend four years ago. From there, Morgan started researching sneakers. Soon enough, even without any female sneakerhead friends, Morgan started collecting.
Since then, she’s gone to countless weekend releases at the mall — “If I really want it, I will get up early” — participated in raffles, and even camped out for sneakers. Twice. When the San Fernando Valley (California) native did it for the Bred 11s it was so hectic she had to get a half size bigger than normal. (Morgan also camped out for the Olympic 6s.) In the earlier days of her collection, she admits she often walked into stores not expecting to buy anything before coming out with more shoes, but says now, “I’m kind of really focusing on what I really want so I don’t have to waste my money. I look back and think ‘Oh, I could’ve bought these instead.’”
Morgan must always be conscience of what’s on her feet. In the summertime, she gets the chance to wear everything. On expeditions to sneaker events, she always breaks out her deadstock gems. Even on local trips, she’ll rock some beaters or runners. No matter what, though, she can’t escape the eyes.
“I get hella compliments because people don’t know they actually came in my size,” Morgan admits. “It’s different for them to see little me in these great shoes.”
Back home, with a potential shoe wall in the works, Morgan is focused on grabbing all of the Air Jordan 3 and the Reebok Question releases, as well as hot new sneakers like adidas‘ SL Loop runner and X1. She is also maintaining her burgeoning YouTube video series. Detailing her latest pickups, sneaker event recaps, and even waxing poetic about life, the channel is a dozen videos and over 1,000 subscribers deep.
Despite the notoriety that comes from having nearly 27,000 Instagram followers, Morgan knows many female sneakerheads are still overlooked. But as a sort of new school pioneer, Morgan hopes that in the future girls will do bigger things in the culture.
“A lot of people look down on us,” she says, “especially on a lot of the newbies that are coming in. But I really hope they let us branch out just like they did, give us the knowledge and hopefully that will work towards keeping the sneaker community strong.”
Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney