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Key Lee - LGBTQIA+ American Sneakerhead Interview


Hapsari Listya
June 15, 2023

Growing up with siblings who were always into sneakers inspired Key @key2ursole's passion for sneaker culture at an early age. She's had an urge to DSing some of her sneakers for many years because she doesn't want to ruin them.

What was the moment you first got drawn to sneakers, and which pair of sneakers triggered your passion?

Growing up, my siblings were all into sneakers, so I always say it was bound for me to become a sneakerhead.

However, the first shoe that really started my collection was the Space Jam 11 from 2009.

All images via @key2ursole

What’s one moment or trend in the history of sneaker culture that resonates with you?

Oh man, lol. I still remember the moment of the 2011 Jordan 11 Concord release. I camped out overnight with my siblings, and it was INSANE.

The Footlocker we camped out at got so crazy with the fights and such, I didn't get my pair from there. We drove all around downtown Brooklyn, and I found my size in Jimmy Jazz.

That release traumatized me lowkey, lol, but I'm so glad I can say, "I was there and a part of history!"

What are some of the current pairs of sneakers in your rotation?

My current sneakers rotation includes BC3s, Vans Sk8-Hi, Adidas NMD R1, and a pair of Jordan 1.

Please describe how it feels when you get and wear a new pair of kicks?

​The feeling is so refreshing, yet nerve-wracking, lol. I'm kind of the type of person to have certain shoes DS for many years because I don't want to mess them up.

I've gotten better at wearing my shoes over the years, though.

What is one sneaker collaboration that doesn’t exist, but you wish/think should exist?

I'd love to see a Key Lee x Vans collaboration one day ;)

What are some of your favorite creators/designers or brands and why?

​So my top three brands are Nike, Jordan Brand, and Vans.

Nike/Jordan Brand is home. It's where most of us started this love and passion, but Vans come in because I do have an alternative style, and I get to embrace that.

I always tell people that if I had one shoe to describe me fully, it'd be the Sk8-Hi!

What do sneaker mean to you as an ​LGBTQIA+ person?

As a person in the ​​LGBTQIA+ community, representation matters. People's stories matter, so I'm always happy when the Pride Month shoes come out.

It's a way to further express who I am, and what I represent in the world. We have come a long way, and still have more ways to go.

Is there anything you wish more sneaker companies would do for LGBQTIA+ people?

From my understanding, a lot of brands do give back. Creating safe spaces for people is just as important as selling a product.

If there's anything more they can do, I would like to see more LGBTQIA+ black representation, especially among men.

I would love to see a shoe dedicated to Marsha P. Johnson. She was a part of the Stonewall riot that happened in NYC in 1969. That was the beginning of activism for the community.

What is your ultimate holy grail sneaker that you have not acquired so far?

My holy grail sneakers would be the Jordan 4 Doernbecher.

I love Doernbecher shoes in general, but that shoe speaks to me on a different level.

Other than kicks, what are some of your daily essentials or treasured items?

Humm, I don't have much.

But, the first thing that came to mind was the Michael Jackson Game "Moonwalker" for the Sega Genesis.

I'm a huge MJ fan, and that was gifted to me a couple of years ago for my birthday in perfect condition.

Where can people find you on social media?

Instagram: @key2ursole

An ailurophile who loves bake cookies and listen to indie music!