Welcome to NYLON’s Sneaker Stories. A new series with sneaker industry experts, influencers, and hardcore sneakerheads on the memories behind their favorite pairs of kicks.
If you asked Anna Bediones back when she was in high school what her career would look like, becoming Director of Strategy for SoleSavy’s women’s department would’ve never crossed her mind. “This is brand new for all of us and I’m trying to do my part,” Bediones shares with NYLON over Zoom. “I wanted to build [sneaker media] for women that they didn’t have yet. Now my mission, personally, is to grow the women’s community and connect us all in some way.” With her role at SoleSavy, in addition to the work she’s done with Nike, Jordan Brand, and much more, Bediones now aims to help women who are new to loving sneakers, from helping them secure hype pairs to educating them on the industry.
Before creating a name for herself in such a male-dominated space, Bediones found her love for sneakers at a very young age. Growing up in a basketball household, she looked to Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Allen Iverson while finding style inspiration from women who wore sporty clothing, such as Sporty Spice, Aaliyah, and TLC.
“When I was in the fourth grade my dad put me in a basketball league, and that’s when I got my first pair of Jordans, which were the Jordan 14s Oxidized Green,” she recalls. “That’s when I just really double-downed on this identity of the sporty girl who loves sneakers. That was all I could really relate to, because that’s what I followed and what I lived and breathed from my music to my cultural icons.”
While Bediones would rather call her very large assortment of sneakers an “accumulation” rather than a collection, she has more than 50 pairs spanning the past 20 years (at least) from a variety of different brands.
“I think what drew me to sneakers all together was the sense of community,” says Bediones. “Sneakers were a thing that I could love on my own, at my own capacity,” she mentioned.
NYLON got to hear some inspiring and pretty funny stories about a few of Bediones’ favorite pairs, from her first time camping out overnight to copping Air Jordans that sum up her childhood. Read on to learn more.
Sneaker Stories: Nike Kobe 6 The Grinch
“This is one of my most recent pick-ups. They came out in 2010 and retro-ed back in December of 2020. I was crying over these for like 10 years. Back then, I was a college student and couldn’t afford sneakers just to have sneakers. So I didn’t buy them, and I was really sad about it because I saw one of my teammates have them and I thought they were so cool, and I’ve loved them ever since. So for the past five years or so, I’ve been aggressively looking for these. But I just didn’t want to spend upwards of $1,000 to $1,200 for a pair of basketball shoes, especially considering I don’t play basketball that much anymore.
“So when these came out last December I was mentally prepared to spend the money because Kobe was one of my favorite players. Then Nike Toronto actually gifted me this pair, so when I opened it, I screamed. I was so excited because it took off one level of stress for me and now I feel like I have completed my Kobe collection.”
Sneaker Stories: Aleali May x Air Jordan 1 High Shadow
“These are important to me, because first and foremost, I think Aleali May is so cool. I love what she represents and I feel like she created a major pivot for female collaborators in the sneaker space. She came out so strong with this for her first collaboration. I was really so impressed. I loved the satin and just thought they were beautiful. When they dropped I literally ran to this local boutique because I kind of got wind on the street that they were dropping there, but had no idea what time. So I made sure to stay in the neighborhood, and kept refreshing Instagram. Then once I saw that they dropped I ran over and picked up a pair, so I’m really happy to have these. Plus, she’s half-Filipino and she advertises that, which is also really cool because I’m Filipino.”
Sneaker Stories: Air Jordan 1 High Retro Bred
“These are the 2013 pair. I camped out for this pair. It’s not necessarily my favorite pair that I have or the 1s I wear the most, but I still really like them. However, these have a fun story because I camped out for these with my boyfriend and we drove like an hour out of the city. We camped out overnight towards the end of December. It was so cold, and that was my first and only full overnight campout experience. I made some friends in line, some guy brought one of those patio heaters, someone’s wife came by and brought donuts for people. It was really cool and I was able to get my pair. I was even able to get another pair for a friend because they didn’t limit the girl sizes.”
Sneaker Stories: Air Jordan Concord 11s
“I have two pairs, one from 2011 and the other from 2018. Both of these are really special, so I’m going to count them as one. For the 2011 pair, my brother and I lined up at around 3:30 or 4 a.m. to get them and, oh my gosh, I just didn’t know what to do.
“Once security opened the gates, around 8 a.m., everyone just stampeded in, and I’m small so I was pretty scared. I heard that they started breaking the doors down in front of Champs and once I saw that — and this may have been the smartest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life — as everyone ran past me, including my brother, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, Foot Locker’s upstairs!’ Everyone went to Champs, and I slipped away and went upstairs to Foot Locker. Nobody was there and I was the first and only one in line for at least an hour. So since my size isn’t hard to get, I got a pair for both my brother and I.
“As for the 2018 pair, these are special to me because I actually partnered with Jordan Brand to create an editorial on how to style this shoe. It was my first time working with the brand and I was really excited to style one of my favorite Jordan silhouettes. It was also really challenging, as this is not a shoe that a lot of fashion girls reach for and it’s not super easy to wear. It was a nice little challenge and I feel like it was a really fun undertaking for me. I got to creatively direct the shoot, style myself, and then I went all over Toronto with a photographer.”
Sneaker Stories: Air Jordan SpaceJam 11s
“For the longest time, this was my answer for my favorite shoe. In many ways it is, but it’s just not the shoe that I wear the most. It embodies a lot of my childhood. When the Space Jam movie came out, I was still a child so Looney Tunes was my sh*t, it was like my favorite thing ever. And to this day it’s still one of my favorite movies. When these came out in 2009, I was no longer working at Foot Locker, but I did know that they used to do pre-orders on sneakers. So I pre-ordered these at the store in September for their release in December... and it was pretty super suspect. The guy at the counter literally took out a blank sheet of paper, wrote down my name and information, charged me however much it cost on a gift card, and was like, ‘Alright, see you in December!’
“I didn’t think anything of it then, but looking back I can’t believe I just trusted this guy with my hard-earned dollars as a college kid. I didn’t even know if I was really going to get the shoes when they released, but I showed up in December and there they were. However my brother's pair was not, and that was kind of dramatic. But these [sneakers] symbolize my childhood and it’s such an iconic sneaker.”