The WNBA has long since been filled with stars, and if we’re being completely real, these women could have been selling units in the sneaker space for years. Player Exclusive kicks on the court were cool, but not as accessible for the everyday fan like a signature shoe was. 

So the brands adapted. With an impeccable roster headlined by Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Jewell Loyd, Nike began releasing their player’s exclusive colorways to the public. 

Bird and Loyd, each known for their affinity with Kyrie Irving’s former Nike signature shoes, received a number of colorways in the marketplace, with Bird headlining the “Keep Sue Fresh” collection that spanned from the Kyrie 4 Low to the Kyrie Infinity. 

Out in Phoenix, DT began repping ‘Bron’s signature series, from the LeBron 9 and LeBron X to the LeBron 19—she even had compiled an extensive Mercury-colored collection of LeBron PEs, including the LeBron 18 “La Cabra”—which translates to the GOAT in Spanish.

In Washington, six-time All-Star Elena Delle Donne was paying homage with her PE rotation, dawning a Swoopes I-inspired colorway of the Nike Hyperdunk 2017 alongside a steady influx of KD 12s. But at the tail end of the 2019 season, Delle Donne flipped the script, electing to wear a lace-less model, the Nike Air Zoom UNVRS. Constructed around the brand’s newest technology, Flyease provided wearers with a hands-free, easy-access design geared toward those with disabilities. The latter would serve as a three year-long smoke signal of what was to come. 

In October of 2022, Nike and Elena Delle Donne officially released the Nike Air Deldon. While the high-top model wasn’t specifically marketed as a signature offering, the silhouette was as close to one as you could get. Built with Flyease technology at its foundation, the Air Deldon was inspired by the two-time MVP’s younger sister Lizzie, who is disabled. The model represented several aspects of Delle Donne’s personal journey, detailing her battle with Lyme disease on one colorway while joining Nike’s BE TRUE initiative that heralds the LGBTQIA+ community with a rainbow-treated installment.  

Then there’s Sabrina Ionescu. Before the legend of Caitlin Clark arose, Ionescu captivated the nation in college—breaking national and school records at the University of Oregon with a flashy play style and an unstoppable pull-up three. 

While standing on the shoulders of the legends that came before her, Nike announced Ionescu would be the eighth women’s signature athlete in Nike Basketball history. After 17 years, The Swoosh had returned in full to the women’s game and they flooded Sabrina’s business with support. An expansive marketing campaign, a full release schedule featuring more than a dozen colorways, a full unisex apparel collection and intricate storytelling that ran throughout the model. 

Touted as the first-ever unisex signature basketball shoe, the Nike Sabrina 1 sold out the first handful of colorways during the late summer. Then it took things to another level when the model was added to Nike’s customizable Nike By You platform. With layers of detailed fabrics, stitching and panels, the Sabrina 1 brought out the platforms’ full potential, allowing fans of the already praised silhouette to create their own 1-of-1 versions.

Custom Nike Sabrina 1s engulfed social media in the following months, with creators drawing inspiration from their favorite colorways of past signature models like the “Bruce Lee” Kobe 5. Some designs even stuck and were replicated at mass, like the titular rendition dubbed the “What The” colorway—inspired by Nike Basketball’s mid-2010s run of taking every colorway from one signature shoe and compiling it into one loud, expressive and surprisingly cohesive ensemble.

From the W and the NBA to men’s and women’s college basketball and the G-League, the Nike Sabrina 1 exploded in popularity. As soon as the 2023-24 season tipped, the low-top model quickly became a go-to for many Nike-endorsed NBA players with Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Tyler Herro and others customizing their own PEs at a frantic pace.

This time around, Sabrina’s sneaker won’t be a one-and-done: she confirmed during this year’s New York Liberty training camp that her second signature is currently in the works. 

And then there’s the long awaited announcement of the Nike A’One. As the first Black woman to receive a signature shoe with the brand since Sheryl Swoopes, A’ja Wilson continues to cement her legacy as not only a great, but a player deserving of the utmost recognition and respect. After headlining the Nike Cosmic Unity last season and dawning a regal black and gold LeBron 21 PE during the 2023 Finals, two-time WNBA Champion and New York Times Best-Selling Author A’ja Wilson has been positioned for an insanely bright future, and arrival of the A’One in the Spring of 2025 was met with top-tier marketing: Wilson posted a flick of herself wearing an iconic hoodie that read, Of Course I Have a Shoe Dot Com with the caption: “The answer to the question.” It was just as iconic as Wilson and her illustrious career. 

Wilson and Nike aren’t just only releasing a signature sneaker though—the two-time WNBA champion and MVP has been working for over a year now on a full apparel collection and signature slides, too. She’s been heavily involved in each step of the process, consistently checking in with the brand and going as far as to suggest satin-lined hoods so women wouldn’t have to wear a bonnet during travel days. 

As for other stars, in the summer of 2021, Jordan Brand announced the largest women’s roster in the brand’s history, signing Dearica Hamby, Satou Sabally, Jordin Canada, Aerial Powers, Te’a Cooper, Crystal Dangerfield, Arella Guirantes and Chelsea Dungee. Joining an established core of Kia Nurse and Asia Durr, the Jumpman went out and put pen to paper with Rhyne Howard, Dana Evans, Isabelle Harrison and Gabby Williams over the next year and a half. 

Picking up the legacy of the since-retired Moore, Jordan’s revamped athlete roster has brought a fresh perspective to the brand’s once-reserved approach to the ladies’ side of the game. Player Exclusive colorways have flooded WNBA hardwoods as a result. Kia Nurse’s Toronto Raptors-treated Tatum 1, Satou Sabally’s international-inspired Air Jordan 37 and Isabelle Harrison’s butterfly-coated Jordan Luka 2—in homage to her late sister—have each extrapolated a piece of the respective athletes’ journeys. In turn, sneaker blogs and team social media accounts have begun to add another element of storytelling to the WNBA’s atmosphere. 

Even though signature silhouettes and exclusive colorways continue to draw headlines, both Nike and Jordan have been cultivating their next generation of partners in the backdrop through the new possibilities presented by NIL. Mirroring the selectivity of their signature lineup, Nike has signed reigning National Freshman of the Year Juju Watkins, former AP Player of the Year Paige Bueckers and top high school sophomore Jerzy Williams to NIL deals. 

In the same realm, Jordan Brand has signed Rutgers-bound guard Kiyomi McMiller, LSU’s SEC Freshman of the Year Mikaylah Williams and UCLA point guard Kiki Rice. 

While it’s yet to be officially announced, Caitlin Clark has reportedly signed an endorsement deal with The Swoosh as well. Clark was one of the brand’s first NIL signings before her senior year at Iowa. 

This is just the beginning, and with investment, attention to detail, and unwavering support for women’s basketball, the renaissance continues.

Feeling nostalgic? Here’s a history lesson on how past WNBA legends paved the way in the sneaker game.


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