Women are taking over the sneaker game! They have always been involved, but now they are diving in headfirst and making the biggest splashes. Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, and Dawn Staley all had signature shoes, and even Maya Moore had a personalized Jordan Brand campaign last year. Yet, what we are seeing now is a cultural shift, with women leading the charge. And the two women that are in the driver’s seat of this convoy, are Ty Young and Sue Bird.
On the surface, these two women couldn’t appear more different. Bird went to a national powerhouse for college and competed for a national championship each year. Ty Young attended a mid-major and didn’t receive much national attention. Bird plays in rainy Seattle, while Young balls in the blistering desert of Las Vegas. But one commonality they share is two of the meanest shoe games in the basketball realm It’s not like they set out to be the ambassadors for some type of “Women Love Sneakers” campaign. It cultivated quite organically. Both have always had an affinity for fly footwear. Their ascension to the top of the sneaker game was inevitable. As women, they have natural style, flair, grace, and charisma. If you mix that, with the grit, spunk, originality, and innovation of the sneaker culture, you have a winning combination.
Along with having impressive personal collections, both Young and Bird boast some of the best PE’s we’ve seen on the court. While Sue Bird mainly shows out in Kyrie’s, Tamera Young has given us flavor in everything from the Way Of Wade’s to Jordan 1’s. Also, it’s not like these are just two random folks that love kicks. They are two of the most recognizable faces in the WNBA. Their influence is introducing a whole new generation of young people to the sneaker culture and doing it in a way that has never been done before. With their personalized kicks, they are showing people to be themselves, have a unique identity and don’t be afraid to push boundaries. Ty Young has a personal clothing line where many of the items bear the slogan “(Be)lieve In (You)rself” and I believe that she embodies that completely. It’s what makes people like her and Bird stand out, not only in a fashion sense or on the court, but in life, in general. Anyone can pick out a pair of shoes they think to look nice, but not many can confidently throw on some Kyrie’s with Elsa and Moana on them (Bird) or have the creativity to design a pair of kicks in memory of their dad each year (Young).
Young and Bird are different, even down to their style of play. Bird holds the all-time assist mark for the WNBA and Young is an aggressive scorer. Bird is also 6 years older than Young. Yet, none of that even matters in this particular aspect of the sneaker realm. Sneaker culture is the universal language that bridges the gap between all different types of people. Whether you’re from the lower east side of New York or from a small city in Coastal Carolina and anywhere in between, I’m sure you can appreciate a dope pair of kicks.