Breanna Stewart’s First Signature Sneaker Is Here—and Plenty Overdue
Ask any WNBA fan and they’ll tell you: Breanna Stewart has it. The Seattle Storm power forward has been one of the WNBA’s most reliable superstars since she first laced up and hit the court in 2016, a number-one draft pick and eventual Rookie of the Year after a standout four-year run with the UConn Huskies. Stewart has racked up more WNBA accolades in a mere six years than many achieve throughout an entire career. And so, from one angle, of course it makes sense that she’s about to get her first signature sneaker, the Puma Stewie 1. But it also makes you ask: what took so long? The WNBA is more popular than ever these days—and yet Stewart’s shoe will be the league’s first signature in more than a decade.
In a recent interview, Stewart recalled the names she swore by in her early hooping days. “I was wearing Shaq’s shoes, LeBrons, and KDs,” she said. “I think that was because signature shoes are a way to connect with your favorite athlete. If you wear what they wear, you feel like you can play like them.” Soon her fans will have the same opportunity. Which, for a few reasons, is kind of a big deal.
Nike and Houston Comets legend Sheryl Swoopes first broke ground in the space in 1995 with the Nike Air Swoopes, designed by Marni Gerber. The shoe would see seven incarnations through 2002 before retiring. Reebok and Rebecca Lobo shortly followed in suit with the Reebok Lobo while Nike continued to work with WNBA athletes like Lisa Leslie, Dawn Stanley, and Cynthia Cooper as the years went on. Swoopes ended up the only player to get any sort of lengthy signature run, with most of her colleagues’ kicks being one-offs (or maybe two-offs at best). After Diana Taurasi’s Nike Air Taurasi and Shox DT in 2005 and 2006, respectively, the brand stopped producing signature sneakers for WNBA players. The last WNBA star to get a signature sneaker run was Candace Parker with the adidas Ace Commander (2010) and Ace Versatility (2011). Stewart’s Puma Stewie 1 is not only the first WNBA sneaker since, but also the first time Puma has produced a signature sneaker for a player in the league.
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