The W in Designer: All-Star Sneaker Forecast and Signature Releases –

Studying the sneakers of the 2022 All-Star Game reveals a future where more female players have signature shoes. 

For years, the most influential element of basketball style has been the sneakers that players wear. Creating a signature shoe with a leading sportswear brand is an important milestone for players, as it confirms that their fanbase is big enough for commercial success. The first female basketball player to create a signature sneaker happened before the WNBA’s inaugural season, with the release of Sheryl Swoopes’ Nike Air Swoopes in 1995. 

In the decade after WNBA’s inaugural season, only eight female basketball players had 8 female players with signature shoes. The ninth was Candace Parker, who launched her first “Ace” collection with Adidas in 2008. After Parker, it was only last season, when Breanna Stewart signed a new deal with Puma, that another signature shoe for a WNBA player was announced. There’s a large discrepancy between the number of NBA players and the WNBA players with signature sneakers, but the industry is starting to change.

Signature sneakers allow players to infuse a custom model with their stories and personal styles. This season, Candace Parker returns with her second Adidas collaboration that introduces Exhibit B. Debuted at the 2022 All-Star Game, she says “a lot of thought has gone into [the Exhibit B], and telling stories through shoe and design.” For Parker, her family was an important inspiration. “My daughter has been around for 14 of my 15 seasons in the WNBA, so I’ll be wearing the Lailaa Nicole shoe in the All-Star game. They also made me a PE for my son, Goose; it’s like his gemstone,” shared Parker before the game.