In the series Women in sneakers, we talk to several female figures in the sneaker scene. In it, we talk about the position of women in the sneaker world and what drives them. In this part, we speak with Yentl (19). She has been working in different sneaker stores since she was 15 and is currently working for Patta.
Where it all began
Yentl has been interested in sneakers since childhood. At a young age, she worked at Snipes and Harlem 82. For her education, she did an internship at Patta in Amsterdam. She stayed there and is still working in the shop today.
"I can't remember exactly how my passion for sneakers started," says Yentl, "When I was 11, I really wanted Nike Air Max 1s. I really had to beg my mother for those pairs. Since then I've always been into sneakers. A few years later, the passion for sneakers grew when Yentl bought the Air Force 1 VLONE.
"I remember very well around 2017 when the Nike Air Force 1 VLONE came out and I saw it passing by on Instagram. Then I discovered the resell world of sneakers and that there were models I couldn't just get. This was new to me then," Yentl says.
She has not been able to get her hands on the VLONE and it is still high on her list. "After the VLONE, the Air Force 1 'Swoosh Pack' was released. With this model, the Swooshes could be changed with velcro. I was able to get these via SNKRS and this is actually where it all started."
Great passion for sneakers
Since then, Yentl has expanded her shoe collection considerably and there are about 80 pairs in her room. "Nowadays I still collect sneakers, but I notice that I'm looking more for the OG pairs. I don't have to pick up every sneaker like I did before," says Yentl, "It's gone in a different direction."
What Yentl likes about the sneaker scene, she doesn't really know. "Honestly, I have no idea what attracts me so much to the sneaker world. Maybe it has to do with the fact that when I was young I wore more 'tomboy' clothes. Here, sneakers fitted well and this has evolved into what it is today."
Where once she had to beg her mother for Nike Air Max 1s, she now has a full closet of pairs like Air Jordan 4s, OG colorways of the AJ 1s and some Dunks. "I wanted Nikes and Jordans since I was 11 years old. Once I started working and could afford the sneakers myself, it went really fast."
Women in the world of sneakers
Yentl has worked at various sneaker retailers since she was fifteen and knows better than anyone what it is like to work in the sneaker world as a woman. "I do notice that since the last year there is more for women and that the community hears us more," says Yentl, "But sizing is just an issue with different brands. I think they do hear us, but they don't or can't do much about it. I feel like things are changing, but you still notice that sometimes women don't get the same opportunities as men."
Yentl herself is a size 37.5 and therefore misses out on certain releases. "It's a shame when a great sneaker comes out that starts at size 40 and you can't get it. It's annoying sometimes, but you learn to live with it and take other sneakers. I can't change much anyway."
Yentl herself has worked at Snipes and Harlem 82 and noticed that she was not always taken seriously. In November 2020, she posted a story on her Instagram in which she expressed her frustration about the position of women in the sneaker scene. There was a lot of reaction to this and she started a conversation for girls who experienced this in the same way.
"I don't really know what my motivation was behind that post. I do remember sitting in the train and then I was irritated for a moment," says Yentl. She had just returned from a work day in the sneaker shop and had a discussion with a customer regarding women's sneakers. "When I posted my story, I got a lot of reactions. About 50 girls dm'd me with their own experiences and told me that they were not always taken seriously either."
Current sneaker scene
Nowadays, Yentl notices that the sneaker world is changing step by step. "There are more women's collabs and girls are more likely to be involved in talks about sneakers." If Yentl could change one thing, it would be the equality in the sneaker scene. "It sounds very logical, but I would release sneakers in all sizes and not make a distinction between men's and women's shoes. There's no need for a label, right?"
Furthermore, Yentl sometimes finds it a pity that beloved sneaker models are pushed too hard. She thinks the Dunk is a cool model and she is sometimes annoyed that new colorways are constantly being released. "It makes collecting a little less fun," she says. "That's a shame."
Yentl has a lot of Nikes in her own sneaker closet. Yeezys also come to mind, and recently she has been leaning more towards the comfy sneakers from New Balance. "I really try to be more selective in my sneakers now. For example, I now look at new releases to see if it is an innovative model and not the same silhouette again."
The Sneaker Cabinet of Yentl
In the room, we see a lot of different pairs. From Dunks to Air Jordan 4s, but also Slides on the carpet in a corner. The real gems are on display. Here we see the Off White x Air Jordan 4 'Sail' and the Comme des Garçons x Nike Shox in white. Two Air Jordan 1s by Aleali May are also on display.
"I bought these recently at Sneakerness," Yentl says as she pulls out the Sean Wotherspoon x Nike Air Max 1/97. "I had sold three pairs at the time and had my eye on these for some time. I think these are really cool."
Also on display are the three colorways of the Patta x Nike Air Max 1 and the Nike Air Max 1 Atmos Animal Pack 2.0. When I ask about the sneakers still on her list, she pulls out her notes. "I still want a lot of them. I want more sneakers by Aleali May. She makes really cool things and I think the stories behind her designs are very important. For the women's community, she really is an example."
Scrolling through her notes, we come across several more OG colorways of the Air Jordan 1 and the 2018 collab with Off White. "The Air Force 1 VLONE is also really high on my list. That's where it all started and that's still a bit of a nostalgia thingy," Yentl says.