The sneakerhead and host of sneaker web series 6Kicks started The Cleveland SneakerBall in 2018 as a way to celebrate her birthday and give back to the community. While the events were a chance to get dressed up, drink, dance, eat and, of course, show off your fire kicks, part of the proceeds benefitted Shoes and Clothes for Kids.
Like an all-too-familiar "L" on buying a hype pair of Jordans, the ongoing pandemic looked to put a damper on this year’s festivities.
“I had so many huge plans,” she says. “I was really pumped to do something just because this is the first year that the event actually falls on my actual birthday. I was so excited.”
But Booker, who started a new job as social media influence manager for the Washington Wizards NBA team earlier this year, is making the best of the situation, expanding SneakerBall into Cleveland Sneaker Week, which kicks off Sept. 26. Booker walks us through all the events for the weeklong celebration of sneaker culture. Head to Eventbrite to sign up for the events.
Sneaker Garden Mixer
One of Booker’s main concerns with any event this year was making sure anything in-person was safe and comfortable. This afternoon mixer ($25, $120 for a table of four) Sept. 26 at the Van Aken District’s Garden City rooftop bar will feature music by Corey Grand, a cereal bar (it’s big with sneakerheads, trust us), a shoe-cleaning station set up by Concession Stand and plenty of room to social distance. Continuing SneakerBall’s philanthropic moves, sock donations will get you $5 off the ticket price. “My suggested attire is what I’m calling ‘brunch forward,’” Booker says. “Still get fly, get nice, but still comfortable.”
Booker has taken her 6Kicks YouTube series — where sneakerheads show off six pairs of shoes that mean a lot to them — onto Instagram Live since the pandemic started. To fill in the space between Sneaker Week events and act as connective tissue, she’s inviting back past guests for sneaker wars. “Think Verzuz battles but with sneakers,” she says. The inspiration is from an earlier IG episode of 6Kicks with Foot Locker marketing manager Anthony Steele where DJ Steph Floss had jumped in the comments and was like, “Oh, I have those. We might have to battle it out,’” Booker says. “So I have some good battles coming up.”
Kicks and Sips Virtual Paint
Art, design and sneakers all go hand in hand, says Booker. “The obvious connections, you dive into collaborations and things like that,” she says. “And you see different artists doing sneakers recently.” To bring the art world into Sneaker Week, she’s setting up a sneaker-y twist on a virtual paint and sip event ($45). Participants for the Oct. 1 event will receive a canvas, paints, a Jack Daniels cocktail kit and be invited to a Zoom meeting where Lacy Talley will step them through painting a sneaker. But which shoe it is, Booker is keeping that under wraps. “It’s a this-year drop,” she says. “It’s really nice, just kind of fun way to fuse art culture and sneaker culture.”
To close things out Oct. 3, Booker has setup a virtual all-female panel discussion to talk about women in sneaker culture. Sneaker companies don’t always cater to women, and when they do, by releasing exclusive shoes just in women’s sizes, male sneakerheads often buy them up. “We’re out here,” Booker says. “We have money to spend, and sometimes we are not necessarily treated fairly.” The panel will feature Jordan Dinwiddie, a copywriter for Nike’s ad agency Wieden & Kennedy, and Nike and Jordan Brand stylist Anna Bediones. “I wanted some heavy hitters,” Booker says. “I’m really excited to hear their perspectives on and just where the sneaker industry is going.”
9:30 AM EST
September 24, 2020