A Longtime Jordan Brand Veteran Is Working With HBCUs to Diversify the Sneaker Industry

Pensole's L.E.A.D. program to bring in a new generation of designers

Sneaker culture and black culture are intertwined. The brands driving sneakerheads to stores are often tied to black cultural touchstones: Jordans have long transcended the basketball court, and hip-hop mogul Kanye West’s Yeezy line has proven popular at both Nike and Adidas. But the designers working behind the scenes on shoes often aren’t nearly as diverse as the audience buying them.