Las Vegas Aces superstar A’ja Wilson has been absolutely dominating in the WNBA Finals. Despite her incredible performances and the surge in viewership, she still doesn’t have her own signature shoe deal. Surprisingly, there have only been 12 players in the history of the WNBA with their own signature shoes. This means that, on average, there have only been 0.44 shoe deals per season. While there has been an increase in the number of shoe deals in recent years, it still doesn’t match the growth of the WNBA.
The first ever shoe deal in WNBA history was the Nike Air Swoopes, named after the legendary player Sheryl Swoopes. Her signature shoe was released in 1995, making her the first player to have her own shoe. The most recent player to receive a signature shoe is Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty, with her shoe launching in February 2023. Currently, there are three players in the WNBA Finals with their own signature shoe deals, including Breanna Stewart and Candace Parker.
Below is a list of every WNBA player with a signature shoe deal:
1. Sheryl Swoopes – Nike Air Swoopes 1-7 (1995-2002)
2. Rebecca Lobo – Reebok Lobo (1997)
3. Lisa Leslie – Nike Total Air 9 (1998)
4. Dawn Staley – Nike Zoom S5 and S5 II (1998-99)
5. Cynthia Cooper – Nike Air C14 (1999)
6. Nikki McCray – Fila Nikki Delta (1999)
7. Chamique Holdsclaw – Nike Shox BB4 Mique and Shox Mique (2001-02)
8. Diana Taurasi – Nike Air Taurasi and Shox DT (2005-06)
9. Candace Parker – Adidas Ace Commander and Ace Versatility (2010-11)
10. Breanna Stewart – Puma Stewie (2022-Present)
11. Elena Delle Donne – Nike Air Deldon (2022)
12. Sabrina Ionescu – Nike Air Sabrina (2023)
Sheryl Swoopes, the first player with a signature shoe, had never even imagined having her own shoe. She realized what a significant moment it was, not just for herself but also for young girls and women who came after her. Rebecca Lobo, another player with a signature shoe, recalls being convinced by her agent to go for a shoe deal with Reebok, even though the offer wasn’t for a large sum of money. However, it was still enough for her to buy a used car, which was a big deal for her.
Lisa Leslie appreciates Nike for involving her in the design process of her shoe, as she had a say in how it turned out. Dawn Staley, on the other hand, had people in awe when she got her signature shoe. She even took the prototypes back to her neighborhood to get feedback, and everyone was amazed that she had her own shoe. Cynthia Cooper may not have had a technical signature shoe, but she still considers the Nike Air Shake ‘Em Up as her first. Nikki McCray describes the feeling of wearing her own shoe in a game as amazing and surreal.
Chamique Holdsclaw’s excitement about her signature shoe is palpable, as she couldn’t believe she was going to have her name on a shoe. Diana Taurasi sees players like Sabrina Ionescu getting their own shoes as a sign of progress in women’s sports. Candace Parker believes in the power of women’s sports and is proud to have her own shoes, knowing that it contributes to the growth of the game. Breanna Stewart hopes that her partnership with Puma will set a new standard for other WNBA players to have their own signature shoes. Elena Delle Donne describes the feeling of seeing her shoe on the court for the first time as one of the biggest dreams of her career.
Lastly, Sabrina Ionescu wants to pave the way for other female athletes to have their own signature shoes. She feels blessed to be able to do so and hopes to create more opportunities for future generations.
Rachel Adams is your WNBA insider, delivering comprehensive coverage of women’s basketball. With a commitment to highlighting the talent and achievements of WNBA players, she provides game analysis, player profiles, and inspiring stories from the league.