Ask Nike and the brand's custodians will say that women sneakerheads are key to its strategy of increasing its women's business from $6.6 billion to $11 billion by 2020.
Unlaced will make its debut on March 27 as the primary online destination for Nike sneakers for women. Shop-in-shop locations will appear this summer. The concept takes the sneakerhead formula - new styles, increased product offering, customization - and points it squarely at women.
The statistics back up Nike's gut feel. Sales of athletic footwear generated $19.6 billion in sales in 2017, growing 2 per cent over the previous year, according to the market research company NPD Group. The women's market overshadowed men's with sales growing by 5 per cent from 2016.
According to industry watchers, Nike is merely playing catch-up with Unlaced as brands like Amazon-owned Zappos have entered the female-focused market with its The Ones editorial section. Other competitors like Adidas, Gucci, Stella McCartney and Vans, are also on the pulse of this trend.
The future of sneakers, as Clare Varga, active director at trend forecasting agency WGSN, puts it - "is female".