When Nike announced the signing of what most consider to be the new “Big Three” in women’s basketball, many began to speculate whether this meant a reemergence of the women’s signature shoe. While the original “Big Three” of Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, and Lisa Leslie all donned popular signatures back in their day, the landscape of women’s basketball sneakers has been on a steady decline. Swaying interest levels in the women’s game certainly played a role in this decline, but in my opinion, so did a lack of understanding in what a woman’s signature shoe should be.
We may have gone beyond the old adage of “shrink it and pink it” with regards to designing women’s specific product, but new archetypes have been created. In order to make a shoe appear “feminine” it should have free-flowing organic lines, and a woman’s shoe should only appeal to other women. Here in lies the problem. When it comes to basketball (and most other sports), women want to be recognized as a “good baller” not a “good female baller” and this needs to be considered when designing a woman’s signature shoe. The shoe ultimately needs to function for each individual’s style of play and also have a look fitting with the person it represents. But who says that only women can like it? Why not create a shoe for a woman that men will want to adopt too? With that, I give you my designs for the new “Big Three”.
Nike Hypegriner (Brittney Griner) The Hypegriner features a full Hyperfused upper with Dynamic Flywire lacing system for support. Lunarlon sections in the forefoot and heel provide cushioning and an extended heel wrap provides stability.
Nike Lunar D2 (Elena Delle Donne)The Lunar D2 features a full Lunarlon midsole for responsive cushioning. Laser cut reinforcements are sandwiched between two layers of mono mesh to provide maximum support and airflow all while reducing unnecessary weight.
Nike Zoom Dig (Skylar Diggins)The Zoom Dig features an exaggerated midsole with carbon fiber shank to support lateral movements and Zoom Air provides cushioning in the forefoot. The low cut collar height allows for quicker movements and an adaptive fit strap provides superior lock down across the foot.