The Phoenix Mercury are starting off the season on the right track, with some great new players on their roster, and with some awesome custom shoes. The ‘My Kicks, My Cause’ shoe initiative showcases a cause of the player’s choosing, on a custom pair of shoes. The collaboration brought on board Ruff Customs, who worked on customs for a shoe initiative with the Mercury last season.
Brittney Griner kicked it off with a special pride and equality edition of the “Sandy” Kyrie Low 2’s. The shoes display the pride flag, along with the ally flag and ‘Equality’ written across the side of the shoe. They feature the Black Lives Matter initials and other symbols of racial justice as well. Griner enrolled Holly Rowe from ESPN, to help her with the development of the shoes, and to create a matching pair of Converse just for Rowe. The partnership symbolizes the need for allies in the fight for equality and is made prevalent on the shoes with a symbol of hands holding.
The majority of the players are showcasing racial justice which include Nia Coffey, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Kia Vaughn, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, and Alanna Smith. I got to ask Skylar Diggins-Smith what she wanted the fans to take away from her shoes, “I don’t really know what I want the fans to take away from my shoes. I think there was just something that, you know, I wanted to do. What I was passionate about, what I wanted to highlight. And I have been very vocal on what that is, so I am just excited for people to see it. I don’t think my shoe needs an explanation. But it is definitely something I am very passionate about. It is something I am proud to wear. I hope I make all the victims’ families proud and really be able to show we are dedicating the season to them.” Her shoes haven’t made an appearance just yet, but I know the fans are excited to see them.
Brianna Turner’s custom Air Max 97’s bring together both the Black Lives Matter movement and Black Voters Matter, in a gold-colored custom shoe. She wanted protest signs with important messages to be included on the shoes, with some of the messages being ‘Say Her Name’ and ‘No Justice, No Peace’ among others. Turner, with these shoes, wanted to remind everyone to make their voices heard.
Other causes players have chosen are military for Sophie Cunningham, breast health awareness for Jessica Breland, Covid-19 for Bria Hartley, and Diana Taurasi’s cause will be determined later.
With only two of the pairs being shown so far, it will be an exciting time to see what the other pair of customs look like, and what the players chose to include and why. ‘My Kicks, My Cause’ is a great incentive to kick off the season with, as well as to help the players showcase what is important to them, outside of basketball.