Seattle Culture

It’s In Her Sole

Takiyah Ward may be the most innovative vendor at this weekend’s Sneaker Con 2024

By Martha Daniels February 23, 2024


This article originally appeared in the July/August 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

Most vendors at the world’s premier sneaker show in Seattle this weekend, Sneaker Con 2024, come to sell merchandise.

Takiyah Ward is not like most vendors.

Ward is the founder of The Re-Sole 206, the first “dry cleaner” for sneakers in Washington state. Re-Sole specializes in sneaker maintenance, restoration, and customization, with the mission to “keep more kicks in rotation and out of the landfill.”

Ward has had a passion for sneakers dating back to her childhood. Growing up in a single-parent household, where new purchases were rare, she learned to appreciate what she had, and how to take care of her items for long-term use. Her love for customization came by accident.

“I was actually working on a project and dropped some paint on a pair of shoes I had next to my desk,” Ward says. “And that was sort of an aha, divine moment that led me to painting and customizing sneakers.”

At the end of 2023, The Re-Sole 206 opened a retail space in Seattle, making it the first “dry cleaner” for sneakers in the state. The space provides monthly workshops, where Ward shares insights gained from over two decades spent studying the world of sneakers. It also serves as a space for sneakerheads and community members alike to explore, collaborate, and learn. 

Sneaker Con, hosted in the Seattle Convention Center, offers games, giveaways, sneaker trades, celebrity appearances, and of course, lots of shoes, about 100,000.

“I’m always learning, learning from my customers, and learning from what they bring in the store. I can’t begin to tell you the variety of shoes that I’ve seen, some people bring in pairs that are 15, 20 years old. It has been really cool,” Ward said. “In the past four months that we’ve been open, I’ve probably learned more than I could have expected to, being a woman in business, being queer, being Black, in a historically Black neighborhood…there’s a lot of layers to us existing and existing where we are.”

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