Kiah Welsh lets her sneakers do the talking
“Sole Searching” is a series that shines a light on black women in the sneaker community, how their passion for shoes began, their thoughts on black women in sneaker culture, and how they leave their legacy in the world of sneakers. sneakers.
“I’m a little nervous, I’m not going to lie,” she said gently. After following Kiah Welsh on social media for a while, I wouldn’t have considered her the shy type. After assuring her that there was nothing to worry about, we had what I called a “regular regular” conversation about her love and passion for sneakers as a black woman in this space. .
During our chat, Welsh revealed that her shy and timid nature is nothing new. In fact, she claimed to be “super shy” as a little girl, but let her kicks walk and speak for her when words failed. “I love really loud sneakers, and that kind of stuff spoke for me,” Welsh told ESSENCE. “When I was young I wore these loud sneakers, but I guess as I got older it sort of evolved into my personal style.”
the content creator admitted to downplaying her style when she was younger because she worried what other people would think of her clothing choices. “It sounds silly, but I had reservations,” she said, smiling with a hint of laughter in her voice. “But now what I wear on my feet has kind of extended to my style and I’m becoming myself. It’s reflected in what I wear, but it all started on my feet. Now it’s extending to me as a person and it’s cool to see the evolution.
Today, social media enthusiasts can find Welsh all over their explore pages, thanks to her Sneaker Facts with Kiah series, which gives its audience the opportunity to learn about tea on some of their favorite kicks, companies, and manufacturers. While her voice is soft, soothing, and subtle, her fashion choices are strong. Pairing Air Jordan 1s royal purple with Melody Ehsani Vibrate higher collection at Reeboks with a retro style Blue Jays jerseyWelsh continues to prove to subscribers that you don’t have to say much when your style speaks for itself.
In this installation of “Sole Searching,” ESSENCE shared with Welsh how sneakerheads have found a community on social media, how sneakers speak for themselves when words can’t, and budding sneaker style in Toronto.
When she first fell in love with sneakers:
“As a child I was super shy and it took me a long time to get known. At the beginning of the school year, I think it was maybe [around] 6th or 7th grade, my mom took me and my sister to buy a new pair of shoes for back to school. I had a pair of K-Swiss and there were sky blue stripes on each side. When I wore them, I felt confident and felt unstoppable. This love for sneakers never stopped and I think that’s where it all started. If you look at my sneaker collection, I love wearing loud sneakers, whether by color or pattern. I also have a fascination with storytelling, so everything has a story. It gives substance and meaning, and I’m always intrigued to learn why a particular colorway for a sneaker was chosen, material, etc. It was the narrative aspect and that personal anecdote that really made me love the sneakers in the first place.
On the inspiration behind “Sneaker Facts With Kiah”:
“There are three things that made me do the show in the first place. The first thing is that I haven’t seen a lot of women, black women in particular, represented in this space as storytellers and narrators Whenever I watched different shows, I didn’t see us in abundance. I thought this might be a space where I could show people, “Hey, we can empower each other with a story as a storyteller or narrator”. I wanted to show that storytelling is alive and well and having a multitude of different stories represented is essential. Whether you’re a newbie or an OG or someone just wondering what the stuff is all about sneakers, it’s a great feeling to have some sort of relatability with someone impactful in the sneaker community who looks and sounds like you.
“The second thing is that there are a lot of people who have DMed me and they’ll be like, ‘How did you get those kind of sneakers?’ It would be mostly focused on hype sneakers and I wanted to show them that you don’t always have to focus on a hype sneaker.There are so many underrated sneakers that have a story that people don’t know about, and so I wanted to bring that to the fore. The third thing was my family and my friends, they were like, ‘What are you doing? You have so many sneakers. You might have three or four sneakers in your rotation. Why do you have so many?
“I wanted to show them that it’s not just a sneaker for me. It goes beyond in terms of the canvas, the type of silhouette they chose, why they chose it, the material they chose and the person or people behind the sneaker. It’s funny because when I started doing this show and they started watching, they understood where I was from for the first time. It was kind of nice that they could relate to it. People who don’t even like sneakers identify with the show, which is really nice.
On how Instagram Reels, TikTok and social media platforms work with the sneaker community:
“With the help of social media, we see different types of women from different backgrounds who have different experiences, who share a love of sneakers. We see the beauty of different cultures and perspectives converging towards a common interest, and that proves that we’re not a monolith. We have different interests. We see this featured through TikTok and through Instagram, and it shows that we’ve been here a long time. Those platforms kind of show that there are different variations of us and it’s so nice to be able to explore it all. More than ever, women are taking up space and getting involved in generating what they love to see happen. We see different ways in which women express themselves, whether it’s it’s about style, sneakers, in different capacities. Like I said, we’ve always been here; Luckily, we have these platforms that can push us and show the world that we’ve been here for a while. time.
In the moment, she realized her power as an influencer and storyteller:
“Honestly when I started Instagram it was really cool to connect with like minded people. I’m here in Toronto but it was cool to know there are people like me , who are like me, who connect with me and who can share the same story. I think it’s just about connecting with people and finding the similarities in our story. I think that’s what worth it. Even when I do the Sneaker Facts series, people are going to say, ‘Wow, that’s so cool.’ “
“Even bringing value into people’s lives, like sharing some facts that they may not have known before. Doing some research and saying “Wow, I didn’t really know about that” builds a community in itself when I create these videos. When I make the videos there is a community down there in the comment section and they will share my videos. There’s a conversation that starts, where people were like, ‘Wow, I really didn’t know that certain fact.’ Create that kind of community, whether it’s with the Sneaker Facts series or just in general i love sneakers i think connecting with people individually is what’s worth it because if i just post stuff and get some cool stuff it can be get tired very quickly, you know?
On the style and sneaker community in Toronto:
“The sneaker community, it’s actually quite encouraging. There are several girls here who are pretty cool. What’s cool about Toronto is that we’re a melting pot of different cultures and identities. I could be inspired by someone I see walking down the street and we inspire each other in that way. It’s small, but it’s inspiring. What I really love is that I can connect with people across the border, south of the border, who are very much like and like me, and the support they galvanize towards me is really, really cool. The culture here in Toronto, it’s young and developing, [and] has a lot of potential to thrive and be amazing.
On her current favorites and must-have sneakers:
“Every time someone asks me that I get confused because there are so many but I love my Jordan 1s. You can’t go wrong with Jordan 1s because you can pair them with anything. “They’re classic. You can pair them with a suit or maybe pair them with joggers. It’s really versatile in that sense. The Jordan 1 is my favorite.”
“I also really like [Nike] Blazers. I feel like Blazers are such an underrated shoe. They are comfortable and I don’t know why they don’t get so much love. With the canvas I have seen some really cool designs on the Blazer and there are so many cool things you can do with it. My go-to should be the Blazer and I love a Cortez. I love the Cortez for running errands. They are easy to put on and super comfortable. It’s so funny; it’s such a simple-looking shoe, but there were a few times I’ve worn it and people were like, ‘Oh, where did you get it from?’ It’s such a simple shoe, but people love it. I love it.”
On the impact she hopes to leave in the sneaker community:
“I want my work to impact the future of sneaker culture by showing that there is power in empowering more than one version of a story, storyteller, or narrator. I want to show that storytelling is alive and well and that having a multitude of different stories represented is essential. I think I just want to show that if you see that something is missing, don’t be afraid to Even if it hasn’t been done before, just listen to your intuition and good things will follow.
On the advice she would give her younger self about owning her voice and personal style:
“I would say to her, ‘Go ahead, girl!’ There is nothing to fear and you should kiss. Don’t be afraid of what other people think of you. Just do it and everything will follow after that.