BHM Spotlight: Why Sneaker Social Media Stars Heather Jones and Janelle Cheyenne Launched a Podcast That Speaks Directly to Women

With DEI at a critical inflection point, cultivating diverse talent is more important than ever before. As part of our commitment to champion diversity across the industry, the 2024 FN Black History Month Spotlight will highlight the new wave of talent that has emerged in recent years, including brand builders, design innovators, content creators and more.

There are plenty of podcasts covering sneakers to consume. And now, there’s a new one that speaks directly to women.

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The Sneaky Leak Podcast, which debuted in August 2023, is hosted by Heather Jones (commonly known as “Henny Kicks It” on Instagram), Janelle Cheyenne and Elaina Corbin. “I brought the idea to Janelle and Elena because I knew they would come correct and they will be honest with their opinions,” Jones told FN.

Although new to the podcast world, as a trio, they individually have earned strong social media followings. Cheyenne, for instance, has amassed 42,400 engaged followers on Instagram, and Jones has 13,900 on the platform. (The third member of the Sneaky Leak Podcast, Elaina Corbin, who is a Cahuilla Native from the Morongo Indian Reservation, has 14,000 followers on Instagram.)

Sneaky Leak Podcast, sneakers, BHM, Black History Month
Elaina Corbin, Heather Jones and Janelle Cheyenne of the Sneaky Leak Podcast. Courtesy of David “Odiwams” Wright

Although there are countless podcasts to consume today, Jones believes the Sneaky Leak Podcast found a void: a consistent female-led show featuring hosts who have deep roots in sneakers.

“Being women, you don’t hear a lot of our side of things. Obviously that is what makes us different because sneakers is all male dominated,” Cheyenne said.

The trio entered the podcast world with bona fides. Specifically for Jones and Cheyenne, aside from being lifelong sneaker collectors and respected content creators in the space, they both have significant retail experience. For Cheyenne, who is from the San Fernando Valley in California, her first retail job in high school was at Shoe Palace, and she has also worked for Champs Sports and at the resale shop Magnolia Park. As for Jones, a Los Angeles transplant by way of Lexington, Ky., her resume includes stops at Finish Line, SNS (where she was featured in Nike’s “Icons of L.A.” campaign), Feature and Stashed.

The podcast is less than a year old, yet it has already attracted some of the industry’s biggest names as guests. The list so far includes 2023 FN Achievement Award winner Jae Tips and Marcus Jordan, founder of boutique retailer Trophy Room and the son of NBA icon Michael Jordan.

“The balance of us all creating content together, it translates to so many different people because of our own audiences. And when we create content, whether we get negative or positive comments, there’s always traction,” Jones said, citing a reel they posted on Instagram in October 2023 that is approaching 1 million views.

Although securing the likes of Jae Tips and Jordan as guests on the show were big deals, both Jones and Cheyenne said the biggest win of 2023 for the Sneaky Leak Podcast was landing an activation with Jordan Brand and retailer Shiekh in November. At the intimate, women-only event, the trio recorded a podcast and raffled off pairs of the Air Jordan 11 “Neapolitan.”

“That was our first paid gig. A brand was reaching out to us for a holiday campaign, and we also got to activate within a store in L.A. for our friends to come see us record live, that was amazing,” Jones said. “Us being able to collaborate with both of those brands during a holiday time being so new was a high for all of us. We knew that we could do it, we just didn’t think it was going to happen that quickly.”

Cheyenne added, “We were only five or six episodes in, and to get a campaign like that to help with the rollout for a Jordan 11 — a woman’s release, too — I think that was really cool. Being not even a full year into podcasting and what we’ve already accomplished, I’m excited for this next year because I know we’re only just going to get bigger.”

This early success, according to Jones, has come without the trio having to sacrifice credibility or biting their tongues.

“Some people out here in sneakers that make money are always going to be like, ‘I like this, I like this,’ because the brand is f–king with them, they’re seeding them, they’re paying them. We have kept it [real] since day one and we’re still getting work,” Jones explained. “A lot of people feel like you have to stick with a certain agenda to make things work, and that’s not true.”

Although the podcast has been well received by many, it hasn’t come without challenges. Since its inception, Cheyenne said the praise they have received for the Sneaky Leak Podcast has outweighed the hate, however the negative commentary can get ugly.

“When men hear women talking about sneakers, they try to discredit us and think that we don’t know what we’re talking about,” Jones said. “That’s also what keeps some people coming back to us. They’re waiting for us to make a mistake to call us out on it.”

Both Jones and Cheyenne specifically called out the backlash they received after one of their earlier episodes, which included a discussion on the fake sneaker industry. According to Jones, the reactions they received after releasing the episode differed greatly from men in sneakers who have discussed similar topics.

“When men get on the on the internet and say the same exact s–t, it’s like ‘Yeah, f–k fakes.’ But when we’re talking about it, it’s like, ‘Y’all are pocket watching, y’all are so materialistic. Get your head out your a–.” It’s a problem when we talk about it,” Jones said.

Cheyenne said the criticism quickly changed from fake sneakers to the physical appearances of the hosts, which she stated isn’t a rare occurrence.

“What do our looks have to do with the topic at hand?” Jones said. “And it’s only men that say these things. It’s never women.”

Because of this, Jones and Cheyenne believe creating spaces for their community — especially women — to interact is critically important.

“I got a lot of my following [on social media] because I would talk about anything and everything that I thought was f–ked up, whether it was happening to me or it was s–t that needed to be addressed,” Jones said. “Most of the time, a lot of women — especially women of color — could relate to what I was talking about.”

Cheyenne added, “There’s a lot of topics we’ve talked about [on the podcast], and that we have talked about even on our separate platforms, that needed to be said because all you ever hear from are men. But there are women in [sneakers] who have voices. We’ve done a good job and we will continue to do a good job of uplifting our voices.”

With the podcast gaining steam, the trio has plans to ensure it continues to grow and that the growth is sustainable. For starters, they are seeking new studio space to record, and are looking to bring someone on to both record and edit the show (currently, Cheyenne does both).

More importantly, Jones said they’re focused on securing the right partnerships that will bring enough money to the show for them to live off of.

“The things that have happened with this podcast so quickly, when I see all these things, and the opportunities and the people that f–k with us from a real authentic place, reassures me that we’re doing the right thing,” Jones said. “The evolution of this podcast, I’d like it to be sustainable to live off of this, and once that happens, I’d like to invest back into the community and help other people.”

About the Author

Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at

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