Every year from September 15th – October 15th, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. The label “Hispanic” has become an umbrella term for people that are descendants of Spanish speaking countries, although most Hispanic-Americans actually identify as Latino or Latinx. Yet every year companies follow suit and dish out “Hispanic” themed sneakers for the honorary holiday. With Nike’s annual and highly sought after Dia de Los Muertos collection releasing soon, we wanted to take the time to highlight sneakers that were designed by Latinos for everyday lifestyle wear.
Kids of Immigrants x Vans “Radical Positivity” Collection
We love when people love where they come from and it doesn’t get any more real than Kids of Immigrants. Founded by creative partners Daniel Buezo and Weleh Dennis, Kids of Immigrants reps their roots with no fear. Buezo is a Brooklyn native and first-generation American of Honduran descent. Recently, Kids of Immigrants teamed up with Vans to create a collection centered around unity. Both Kids of Immigrants and Vans believe that through creativity, we can build a unified world and better tomorrow.
Stray Rats x New Balance 991
Miami and New York City are undoubtedly two of the biggest hotspots for Latinos living in America. Julian Consuegra‘s streetwear label, Stray Rats, fuses together the vibrant colors of Miami and rugged exterior of NYC to create a brand that is representative of the diverse backdrops of Latinx culture. Consuegra proudly owns his Puerto-Rican roots and has been a long time collaborator with New Balance.
Awake NY x Vans Sk8-Hi
Awake NY is led by Angelo Baque and has become one of the most prominent brands in the world of luxury streetwear. Baque was raised in Queens, New York by his parents who immigrated from Ecuador. Awake NY’s recent collaboration with Vans embodies the community and do-it-yourself mentality that has led immigrants to success generation after generation.
adidas Adizero Afterburner 8 Hispanic Heritage Cleats
These adidas cleats stand out from the list in the sense that they’re not everyday lifestyle sneakers. However, these cleats are special because they were designed by two Latinx designers that work in-house at adidas — Julio Aleman and Harold Arandia Jr. Too often big brands deliver honorary products without any actual substance or attribute to the mission they claim to be serving. Adidas hits the ball out of the park with these cleats by inviting Latinx creatives to swing for the fences, rather than sitting on the sidelines. This is exactly how it should be done. Big brands need to offer more seats at the table if they want to continue to create cultural demonstrations.
Gypsy Sport Mad Planet x Swear London Sneakers
Gypsy Sport is new on the scene but trust — you’re going to want to keep an eye on them. With co-signs from Vogue, GQ, and even the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this Mexican-American label completely transcends a multitude of dispositions pertaining to Latinx fashion. Founder and Creative Director, Rio Uribe, breaks all the rules by creating a community that serves a spectrum of identities and backgrounds. Gypsy Sport’s Mad Planet x Swear London sneakers are no exception as the hybrid platform silhouette is an oddity all its own.
It’s exciting to see Latinx designers doing their thing and we hope to see more in the future. Streetwear as we know it has been molded by the multi-faceted Latinx and Hispanic communities all around the world. It’s crucial for the generations of the past and future that Latinos and Hispanics continue to grow within this industry. It’s great that big brands like Nike and adidas are partnering with pioneers like J Balvin and Bad Bunny — who are always reppin’ Latino Gang — but there is still work to be done. There is so much space for the Latinx community to grow within streetwear, especially within sneakers.