Suni Lee's Must Haves: From Nike Dunk Low Sneakers to a Dry-Skin Cure-All
Sunisa (Suni) Lee is a woman on the rise. Back in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics, captivated viewers tuned in to witness Lee make a vault and a 4-inch-wide balance beam look like structures on her own personal playground — with nearly flawless routines that not only earned her a spot on the world stage, but an eventual gold medal, too. In the same way that Lee's athletic skill raised her to new heights (often quite literally), it also catapulted her into a new realm of fame and responsibility — though she'd have you believe she's simply another sophomore at Auburn University, her 1.7 million Instagram followers and wide array of fans tell a different story.
While gymnastics is still very much at the forefront of Lee's life, these days, she's also finding new ways to make space for it — and she's particularly committed to making the sport more accessible for other up-and-coming athletes. "I think in general, it's just important to have more representation and other women that we can look up to in sports," says Lee. Just recently, she announced a new partnership in collaboration with Clif Bar and the Voice in Sport Foundation, which aims to introduce more specialized Title IX trainings to 20 campuses around the US, all with the goal of helping to increase women's participation across all levels of sport.
"I've been a longtime lover of Clif, being an athlete, of course, needing a go-to snack . . . but I was really excited when we began the conversation to work together. We wanted to find a like-minded organization to work with, and [the] Voice in Sport Foundation could not have been more perfect," says Lee.
With a new partnership under her belt and a bubbling excitement for all that's to come (perhaps even a run at the 2024 Olympics?), we had the chance to talk with Lee exclusively about her latest collaboration, the importance of prioritizing your mental health as an athlete, and all the must-have essentials that help to keep her going in light of her super-busy schedule. Spoiler: even her product recommendations are golden!
Her Affordable Must Have: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Among her many go-to products for dry skin, Lee swears by this Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($5). "I use Aquaphor for everything. So, I do have pretty dry skin — if I'm ever feeling very dry, I'll put it on my face, use it on my lips. I also have eczema, so I put it on my eczema if it's feeling irritated. But yeah, I mean, I feel like Aquaphor just fixes everything. I never leave without it."
Pro Tip: Aquaphor is such an everyday essential for Lee, she even vouches for keeping a high stock of the product in multiple places. "I have at least two in my purse. I have two in my car, in my bag, in my gym locker. I always bring it with me," Lee admits. With its nourishing properties, the ointment is especially great for use during the colder, drier months. Lee also says that she loves using products from Rhode and Augustinus Bader whenever her skin needs an extra hydration boost.
Her Investment Must Have: Headspace Meditation and Sleep App
Being an athlete in the spotlight can certainly take a toll on your mental health. Recently, Lee started using the Headspace meditation and sleep app ($13/month) to help her "get in the right mindset" whenever she needs an extra boost. "I definitely consider this less of a money investment and more of an investment in my future, because of course, being an athlete and handling all the pressure and stuff, it's good to get your mind right. And I personally like to do a lot of visualization, writing in my journal . . . but I'm just loving how peaceful I feel after [using it], and it has so many different purposes."
Pro Tip: The Headspace app comes equipped with a variety of different meditations, all of which cater to a person's specific needs (sleep problems, work stress, etc.) and aim to help teach users mindfulness skills that they can easily apply in their day-to-day life.
Her Morning Routine Must Have: Clif Chocolate Chip Energy Bars
Similar to most athletes, Lee admits that a nutritional breakfast is a key part of starting her morning off on the right note. Her go-snack of choice? The chocolate chip Clif Bars ($19), which she enjoys having not only in the mornings, but also just on the go. "I always keep a couple in my car or in my backpack, because I bring my backpack to the gym. And if I ever need something to refuel me, I will always just have a bite or two, and then I'm all better. The reason I love Clif bars [is] because they're so lightweight — they don't fill me up like that," Lee says.
Pro Tip: Lee jokes that while she's "not a morning person," she does often rely on a few different things to help her wake up beyond her chocolate-chip-infused snack. "I don't like waking up, but I definitely need caffeine in the morning, so I always have coffee. And my Clif Bars are usually my to-go breakfast bars, so I just eat them in the car . . . but [also] waking up and stretching, doing my skin-care routine in the morning, brushing my teeth, doing my hair, and then always having water to go."
Her Sleep Must Have: Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase
For Lee, the Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase ($89) helps her sleep soundly and wake up feeling better. "I am absolutely obsessed with these pillowcases and their eye masks. I don't typically wear the eye mask a lot just because I have lash extensions, so it kind of rubs on them a little bit. But the silk material helps to keep my hair looking the best in the morning and absorbs much less of my nighttime skin routine, which is important, because I do kind of lie there a lot on my face. But I absolutely love it!"
Pro Tip: Lee relies on Silk's buttery-soft pillowcases so much for a good night's rest, she actually keeps one at home and another at school. "I have one here in Minnesota. And then, I also have it at Auburn just because I am traveling a lot." When on the go, she says she's "definitely taking" the Slip Pure Silk Sleep Mask ($50) with her on an airplane. The celeb-loved plush product is also a favorite of Ashley Tisdale, Remi Bader, and more!
Her Sneaker Must Have: Nike Dunk Low Black White Sneakers
And in terms of investment shoes that Lee just can't live without, these Nike Dunk Low Black White sneakers ($192) reign supreme simply because, according to her, "they kind of go with everything." She adds: "They're perfect for school outfits, for lounge outfits, anything I feel like. I get mine from StockX or source through reliable buyers. It's a hobby just because sneakers are . . . they're the one thing that I would be like, 'Yep, you can take my money, because I love them.'"
Pro Tip: While Lee swears this sneaker can go with anything, she especially loves pairing the shoe with more of a street-style-infused ensemble. "I've been really loving tracksuits, big hoodies, and sweatpants. And then, I usually wear my Dunks. But usually when I style them, I'll wear cargos and a tiny top or a big jacket. I like more of the baggier street style."