Streetwear culture has long been in need of some female leadership, and this Toronto shop is up for the challenge.

Makeway is Canada’s first, stand-alone ‘for women, by women’ sneaker boutique and it’s located right in Toronto’s stackt market.

The boutique is run by women-identifying, LGBTQ+ members who are now at the forefront of the city’s “sneakerhead” scene.

“We started Makeway because we were tired of women being an afterthought in the sneaker and streetwear industry,” said Shelby Weaver, who co-founded the brand with Abby Albino back in 2020.

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“The women’s market is stronger than ever and brands are expanding and reimagining their women’s product offering,” said Weaver. “We felt like it was the right time for the retail environment to start reflecting where the market is headed.”

If you take a look at the Makeway website, you’ll find all the name brands like Puma, Jordan, Nike, and more.

Not only do they sell highly sought-after brands, but they also provide game-changing opportunities for local women-owned businesses to sell their products and grow in ways they could never imagine.

Ramona’s story

Rawmoans is one of the local, woman-owned brands you can find at Makeway. Founder Ramona Amante spoke with Curiocity about her experience with the team and how Makeway has helped not only her brand but her growth as a woman leader in the industry.

“The journey has been crazy. The truth is, being an entrepreneur isn’t linear,” said Amante. “It has been my biggest accomplishment to date to see my work beside many other talented creators. I can proudly say that I look up to Shelby and Abby. Being surrounded by hard-working, talented women everyday, motivates you and pushes you in a way I hadn’t been before.”


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Amante shared how excited she was when Makeway was first announced. She reached out to Shelby and Abby to let them know how passionate she was about streetwear and about a month later, thanks to her previous experience, was hired to be the Store Manager. She was then asked to sell her products in the shop too.

“Without the shop, I wouldn’t have ever known all this female talent was out here, and the best part about it is that we all want to see each other succeed. We’ve grown to be a community, and collaborate and help one another grow,” said Amante.

Makeway gives their community first dibs on exclusive drops

While their products are available to everyone, Makeway has taken an extra step to ensure women and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community get greater access to the more exclusive releases.

If you’re familiar with shoe drops — we’re talking big releases from Nike, Adidas, and the like — you know how difficult it can be to get them. If you’ve ever tried to get a Jordan release, then you know the struggle.


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For these larger drops, Makeway has made it so they are only exclusive to women and LGBTQ2S+ for the day of release.

“Women and LGBTQ2S+ community have expressed so much gratitude to us for doing sneaker drops differently,” said Weaver. “We genuinely want to provide a safe, fair, and enjoyable experience for our community and while there has been some resistance, we believe in what we are doing and know that it’s providing women and LGBTQ2s+ individuals a fair shot at buying sneakers.”

They also squash the chance of resellers getting their hands on releases by having customers wear the shoes out of the store.

“For so many women, especially Canadian women, finding the product (sneaker) they like is a struggle. The products are often split up across various retailers, many of which are not in Canada which results in higher cost due to exchange rate, and high duties and shipping rates,” added Weaver.

“We’re hoping that Makeway can relieve the pain points of being a female sneaker lover and provide women with access to all the products they deserve under one roof.”

What’s next for Makeway

Though Makeway has made the effort to be available online and provide shipping across Canada, there’s something uplifting and powerful when you experience the space in person.

“We definitely want to expand our product offering and create in-line items,” said Weaver, also mentioning the possibility of another location for Makeway down the line.


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As for their advice for budding entrepreneurs in a male-dominated industry, Weaver says to “trust your women’s intuition.”

“While it might sound cliche, so much of our business was built on how we felt in a situation and letting that gut feeling/intuition lead our decision.”

And if it wasn’t for that decision and taking that leap, that safe and inclusive space that Makeway has created would not exist today.