Breanna Stewart talks signature sneakers with Puma

Breanna Stewart is no stranger to history, but she wishes her next landmark didn’t have to be such a rare feat.

This summer, the former WNBA MVP and two-time champion will become the first female basketball player in 12 years to release a signature shoe. The last player to own one of hers was two-time MVP and defending champion Candace Parker, with her TS Ace Commander released by Adidas in 2010 and Ace Versatility in 2011.

When Stewart signed with Puma in 2021, she was promised that the decades-long gap since the last women’s basketball shoe would end.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, that’s amazing,'” Stewart said. Sports Illustrated. “To be able to continue to uplift female basketball players, women in the sneaker industry, just a huge amount of pride.

“My second reaction is, ‘Wow.’ It’s been ten years since the last signature shoe, and that’s ridiculous, I think, I hope that for the iconic shoes to come after me, they come a lot more often and a lot more frequently because young girls and boys want also represent the WNBA.

The list of iconic shoe athletes is short in the WNBA’s 25-year history. Stewart will join Parker, Diana Taurasi and Sheryl Swoopes among the 10 female basketball players to have iconic kicks to their name, a group the Storm forward calls “incredible.”

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The opportunity for Stewart might not have presented itself had it not been for his move from Nike to Puma ahead of the 2021 season.

“Signing with Puma was something that was honestly a really big change for me…but something that really excited me, and I’m still really excited because I feel like Puma is doing everything they can to continue to elevate the helm and set the standard for women in sport and women in general,” Stewart said. “I think something like this is extremely powerful because they know change is needed and change has to happen. , and we’re making that change.”

Puma gives Stewart the platform to be a trailblazer in the sneaker space, and the three-time All-Star was recently recognized by eBay for that by joining its Trailblazers collection. A fitting honor in Women’s History Month, Stewart is featured alongside fellow designers, such as fellow Puma designer Rihanna, to fully showcase just how much impact women have had on the world. sneaker space.

“It’s a really exciting thing because it shows people a different perspective,” Stewart said. “I think it shows people that a lot of the shoes they didn’t know were created by women and I hope there will be a lot more people representing and wearing these shoes once they learn about them. more about them.”

Stewart’s signature shoe design process has gone “crazy” with the challenges and shortages brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet she remained involved in every detail, from color choices to design.

As the release of her signature shoe draws closer, Stewart is both excited to make history while hoping the next signature doesn’t take another 12 years. For now, she reflects on the trailblazing group she joins while hoping to build on the legacy these players have established for her and future WNBA players.

“They’re all legends of the game, people who are currently playing, people who have retired,” Stewart said. “It just makes me want to keep being the best I can be because these players on this list are amazing people on and off the court, and I want to keep representing the WNBA in the right way.”

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