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New York Liberty Star Breanna Stewart on the Rise of the WNBA, Mom Style and Why Her Puma Relationship Is So Authentic


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All eyes are on the WNBA.

New York Liberty star Breanna Stewart — a two-time WNBA champion and two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player — believes the league is at an inflection point, but it cannot let this moment pass by.

“Now, it’s about making it more than a moment. It’s about sustaining this and making it into a movement,” Stewart told FN. “We’re about to have a new media [rights deal]. Are we going to opt in or opt out of the CBA? Charters are now in play. You see W players all over. All signs point to yes, this is a tipping point.”

Although the 2024 WNBA season is still young, the league had its most-watched game on ESPN platforms ever, regular season or playoffs when Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever made her debut on May 14. The game brought in 2.1 million viewers (and peaking at 2.3 million).

The success comes off a successful 2023 WNBA regular season in terms of viewership, which was the league’s most-watched in 21 years. Viewership across its national television partners — ABC, CBS, ESPN and ESPN2 — increased 21 percent over 2022.

As the WNBA heats up, so are talks of signature shoes for its biggest stars. Stewart, who has a signature performance basketball line with Puma, believes brands should invest in women basketball players more than ever before.

“[Signature shoes] give the opportunity for young kids to walk into a store and think about playing like one of us,” Stewart said. “There are so many great athletes and so much great talent in this league, why don’t we have more signature shoes? It feels like there should be so many more.”

After wearing Nike throughout her career, Stewart signed with Puma in May 2021. At the time, the brand announced she would get her own signature shoe. Stewart’s first look, the Puma Stewie 1, arrived in September 2022. The first colorway was a neon green and black look, dubbed “Quiet Fire.”

Breanna Stewart, Puma Stewie 1, Quiet Fire, WNBA, basketball
Breanna Stewart in the Puma Stewie 1 “Quiet Fire.”

Puma and Stewart followed up in May 2023 with the hit Stewie 2 — including the “Ruby” colorway, which she wore to set the Liberty all-time scoring record on May 21, 2023 — and are now onto the Stewie 3. The brand revealed the shoe in April, and the first colorway is “Dawn,” a bright look executed in orange, yellow and blue, and replete with “fiery hues and floral details” that Puma explained “represent her family and journey.”

Although sparse on details, Stewart said a collaboration on the Stewie 3 is coming, and included in the remaining colorways are two that are about important moments in her life.

“Puma has been amazing throughout this entire process,” Stewart said. “There’s an understanding, this is a back-and-forth relationship, not a one-way street. I can have honest feedback and opinions on everything. I’m able to be like, ‘I don’t like this’ or ‘Maybe this logo should be here’ or ‘Maybe we should move things on the tees and the shoes.’ That’s what is most important because I want it to reflect both me and us.”

She continued, “And Puma was the one that got it started back with signature shoes [for women basketball players]. It’s been a long time coming. You see the Stewie 3 today, but we got a lot more coming.”

Puma Stewie 3, WNBA, basketball, Breanna Stewart
Puma Stewie 3 “Dawn.”

Puma released Stewart’s first-ever signature shoe roughly a decade after the last sneaker for a pro player was released, the Adidas Ace Versatility for three-time WNBA champion Candace Parker.

Although Stewart and Puma reinvigorated the women’s basketball signature shoe landscape, she is not the only star with a look bearing her name. For instance, Nike revealed the first signature shoe for Liberty teammate Sabrina Ionescu in March 2023, the Sabrina 1. The brand debuted Ionescu’s second shoe, the Sabrina 2, in mid-May. Also, Nike released Elena Delle Donne’s signature shoe, the Air Deldon, in October 2022. Reports surfaced in February that Delle Donne was taking some time away from basketball.

Looking ahead, Nike announced in May that two-time WNBA champion A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces will get her own shoe. And although Nike has not confirmed, multiple reports surfaced in April that WNBA rookie Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever would also become a signature athlete with the brand.

Off the court, Stewart admitted she likes to wear elevated looks, and has recently become more style focused. Much of that, according to Stewart, has come with motherhood.

“I’m a parent, I need to be looking like a parent when I drop Ruby off at school and not look like someone that’s off to practice,” Stewart said with a laugh.

When she drops Ruby off at school, Stewart said she often wears her favorite Miyake pants because she stated they go with any graphic T-shirt, as well as shorts from Rhude and sportstyle Puma cargo pants.

In terms of off-court footwear, her rotation includes several classic Puma looks, as well as modern favorites, such as the Suede, the Palermo, the Slipstream and the collaborative looks with Rihanna’s Fenty imprint.

Despite the rising popularity of the league, there is plenty of room for growth. Stewart has a message for those who haven’t given the WNBA a chance.

“You’re missing out on a good thing. We’re only getting better,” Stewart said. “Each moment is getting bigger, and the talent and the product we put on the court is like no other. Hop on the train, everyone else is. Come and watch us.”

About the Author

Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at peter.verry@footwearnews.com.



Launch Gallery: WNBA Star Breanna Stewart Shoe Style Over the Years: Photos

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