After 12 years, the next WNBA signature sneaker is finally set to arrive soon. Olympian and two-time MVP Breanna Stewart worked alongside Puma to create the Stewie 1, the first WNBA signature sneaker since Candace Parker’s in 2010.
The Seattle Storm forward debuted the kicks during the WNBA All-Star Game. During practice, Stewart noted that she may not be the loudest player, but her game (and her shoes) speaks for itself.
She’s got game — One of the challenges of designing female athlete footwear is creating a shoe that works with their anatomy without compromising performance. The Stewie 1 is less clunky than most men’s basketball sneakers but provides targeted support through the multi-zoned monomesh layers in its construction. Nitro Foam tech in the soles adds comfort and cushioning as well as responsiveness on the court. Molded heel counters keep the wearer stable, and all of the components maintain breathability and light weight.
Visually, the sneaker draws inspiration from Stewart’s personal athletic journey going back to her high school team. Lime green on the front half gives way to the molded black heels, which sport a flame motif that melts into ripples of water on the midsole. Her logo appears on the tongue and insoles, and the heels are finished off with scar graphics that represent Stewart’s two Achilles heel surgeries.
Making great strides — Puma first reentered the basketball scene in 2019 and chose Stewart to spearhead its debut women’s signature sneaker, though the brand has already introduced models for NBA athlete Lamelo Ball and rapper J. Cole. Puma has committed to providing a more equal playing ground for female athletes, as seen through its Women’s Hoops division that launched in 2021. The initiative was led by June Ambrose as its creative director.
The WNBA and its athletes have historically received the short end of the stick in terms of money and sponsorship. Whether it’s through a lack of endorsements, low funding, or low support from the community, the division has trailed well behind the men’s. But Stewart and the next generation of female athletes are doing what they can to change the needle of disproportionate gender-based sports merchandising.
“Working with PUMA to craft the first women’s signature basketball sneaker in the last 12 years was an honor,” Breanna Stewart said in a press release. “I hope that this is the first in a legacy of signature sneakers to come for women athletes across all sports and serves as inspiration for all young people that this, along with any achievement, is possible.”
The sneaker will be joined by accompanying apparel when it releases later this fall via Puma’s website, NYC flagship store, and select retailers. Prices range from $35 to $140 for the kicks and clothing, but the real value of inspiring future female athletes is priceless.