Ep. #17 It's Time For More Women's Signature Basketball Shoes

 The Business Case For Women's Sports: Erica Ayala

Before the start of the 2021 WNBA season, Caroline sat down with Erica Ayala, a New York-based freelance journalist, to discuss why it's (past) time for brands to create more signature shoes for WNBA players & women athletes.

In August of 2020, Erica wrote a power piece for Sports Illustrated called, The Legend of Air Swoopes and the Quest for a New Women's Signature Shoe, where she dug into the history of Sheryl Swoopes' partnership with Nike into develop the Air Swoopes. 

Sports Illustrated: The Legend of Air Swoopes and the Quest for a New Women's Signature Shoe

Now 25 years after its release, the Air Swoopes remain the only long-standing signature women's basketball shoe - despite the success of the line, the proven marketability of women athletes, and the increasing demand for women's sports merchandise.

While there have been a few limited runs of shoes created in collaboration with a handful of WNBA players (for example: Candace Parker, Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley, Rebecca Lobo, Sabrina Ionescu, and Diana Taurasi), few have been truly signature shoes, and none have been granted the opportunity to exist beyond a few production runs.

In this episode, hear Caroline and Erica discuss some of the reasons behind why shoe companies aren't investing in women basketball players, and why it would be a good business decision for brands to create signature basketball shoes for WNBA players.

Listen to the full episode on SpotifyApple Podcastsor Amazon Music.

This episode was recorded on May 14, 2021. Click here to follow Erica on Twitter, and here to hear Erica on the Locked On Women's Basketball podcast.