Storm's Breanna Stewart Signs Puma Sneaker Contract, Will Get Signature Shoe

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2021

Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart brings a ball up the court during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the New York Liberty, Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart announced Wednesday that she has signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Puma.

Breanna Stewart @breannastewart

Excited to officially join the @PUMAHoops Fam! 🐾  #SheMovesUs https://t.co/cQKYZs8Ghz

The deal includes a signature shoe for the 2018 WNBA MVP, which will make Stewart the 10th WNBA player to have her own shoe.

"Any time you hear signature, I think that's jaw-dropping, eye-opening, especially on the women's side," Stewart said to ESPN's Nick DePaula. "There haven't been many. ... For Puma to be able to put the signature element out there, [and] respect me enough where they think that I deserve a signature shoe, is something that's super exciting."

The Ringer's Mirin Fader reported Stewart, who has previously been with Nike since entering the WNBA in 2016 will have input on the design, branding and colorways.

Stewart explained to DePaula she is planning for the shoe to be a low top with cushion for the Achilles tendon. The 26-year-old two-time All-Star missed the entire 2019 WNBA season after rupturing her Achilles while playing overseas in EuroLeague Women.

She returned in 2020 to average 19.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists as the Storm swept the Las Vegas Aces for their second title in three seasons. The 6'4" forward was the Finals MVP for a second time.

The success of Stewart's shoe could open the door for more WNBA players to get their own signature brand.

"Where others saw a risk, Puma took advantage of it," Stewart told Fader. "Women's basketball players deserve to have signature shoes.

"We're going to be helping move the needle forward for women in sports and women's basketball."

New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu was the most hyped rookie to enter the league since Stewart. While DePaula wrote in March how Ionescu was going to play a prominent role in Nike's new Greater Than sneaker line, he clarified it wasn't a design unique to the former Oregon star.

Much like second-year New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson already having his own shoe, Ionescu would be a natural candidate from the WNBA because of her early stardom. Other stars such as A'ja Wilson, Elena Delle Donne and Arike Ogunbowale could also have strong cases.